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On a blustery day in Kansas City, I was treated to a tour of Custom Truck One Source’s newly renovated “Building H.” The company has revamped a WWII-era building to house its Fabrication & Crane Manufacturing, Paint & Powder Coating, and Parts, Tools, and Accessories departments.

Originally, the Custom Truck campus was purchased by Fred Ross and his family in 2005. The oldest of 12 children, Ross grew up only a mile away from the company’s headquarters in northeast Kansas City, formerly an Armco Steel plant.

Constructed from the shell of a 1940s steel mill building, “H” was purpose-built for boom trucks. For information on Custom Truck’s latest boom truck offering, check out our Product Focus in the May issue of ACT.

The company was also recently recognized with a Capstone Award by the Kansas City Business Journal for its $35 million overhaul of a 220,000-square-foot warehouse.


“These old buildings have great bones, and we rebuild around them,” said John Lukow, Senior Vice President of Cranes. “It would have started like the building over there, [gestures across the road], leftover from the steel mill. Building H has an all-new façade and roof; it has been painted, and the electrical system will support all the modern tools we need. It’s amazing to see what we’ve done.”

It’s safe to say “Building H” has undergone a colossal transformation, apart from the original beams from the steel mill still holding it all together.

The floors of the facility were buffed and glossy, and Lukow and his fellow employees were eager to showcase the streamlined industrial painting booth. Hot air blew my hair from my face when I had the chance to take a few steps into one. Booms were on display with a fresh coat of white paint, while each completed part had a designated place on a sizable row of shelves – almost like a library of mechanical parts. Living up to its nickname of a “one-stop-shop,” boom trucks were exhibited in various stages of assembly.

Investing in Workers

Today, Custom Truck employs close to 1,000 people at its headquarters site, and executives expect to add approximately 100 positions at “Building H” this year, including machinists, welders, painters, assemblers, and materials operators.

After touring the renovated facilities, it’s easy to see that the Custom Truck staff genuinely enjoy what they do, and who they do it with. Lukow even gave me a behind-the-scenes tour of the engineering department, which is located only a few feet from the inner workings of the warehouse.


Lukow also drove me past the newly built R&D Test Pad. Along with structural testing right outside the front door, customers will be able to tour “Building H” while also having a hands-on space to hop behind the wheel.

“This is a very exciting time for Load King and Custom Truck,” he added. “We have and will continue to make investments in the crane business for the benefit of our customers.”

This article first appeared in Crane & Transport Briefing’s website. You may view the article here.