Family get-togethers happen a lot at the Bobcat Gwinner plant when the Anderson brothers show up for work.
At the birthplace of the world’s first skid-steer loader in Gwinner, North Dakota, are four brothers who embody the family-oriented culture of Bobcat Company: Marcus, Warren, Wayne and Curt Anderson.
Each brother has more than 40 years of experience in welding, robotics and assembly operations in the Bobcat Gwinner plant, and they have over 170 years of combined experience.
Marcus “Abe” Anderson is an assembler, while brothers Warren, Wayne and Curt are welders. Curt, the youngest of the Anderson brothers, joined the company as a welder in 1973 and retired in August 2016.
“From the beginning, Bobcat Company was a familiar place for all of us,” Curt says. “The company lends a helping hand whenever, wherever the neighbors need help. It’s a family-oriented company. It’s like a second home that’s allowed us to support our families.”
Bobcat Company has been building loaders in Gwinner, a town of 795 people in sparsely populated southeastern North Dakota, since 1958. The company and the town are now intertwined, with about one in seven Gwinner residents working at the plant.
Wayne Anderson’s daughter, Keely Lehmann, grew up in the shadow of the factory complex and became a forklift operator there in 2010. Today she works on the loader line, assembling operator cabs.
“I love coming here every day. I love what I do. It’s fun to see my dad and uncles here every day. Same with my brother and my brothers-in-law. Kind of like being at home.”
While many Gwinner residents are at the heart of the company, one thing is clear: The Anderson family is so closely identified with Bobcat that the brothers were asked to perform the Bobcat Square Dance for the Millionth Bobcat Loader Celebration in July 2014 (see the video below!).
So does Keely expect to pass along the family’s Bobcat tradition to her two boys, ages 9 and 7? “I wouldn’t be surprised,” Keely says. “They think the Bobcat loader is the most amazing thing. It would be pretty cool to have my kids go to work in the same place as I do — makes a person feel good.”