Fontaine Modification trainees brought up to the majors

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Updated Oct 21, 2010

Fontaine Modification Co. – a provider of truck modification services for OEMs, dealers and fleets throughout North America – says the inaugural class of its Management Trainee Program is starting to make a real impact on the company as its members move into management positions. To prepare for future growth and expansion, the company launched the program in 2009.

Through the program, Fontaine hires recently graduated mechanical and electrical engineers who then undertake a series of short-term assignments. Everyone in the program starts as an hourly technician modifying trucks on the production floor. After 90 to 120 days on the production floor, the trainees rotate through various assignments in several areas – including quality control, process engineering, sales, and operations – in order to develop a well-rounded perspective.

Fontaine Modification Co. President Will Trantham compares the philosophy behind the training program to Major League Baseball’s farm system. “We are training our future business leaders,” Trantham says. “Just as the farm system allows baseball teams to build stronger longer-lasting teams than they would if they hired all free agents, we’re building our bench strength by hiring talented people early in their careers and nurturing them through training and opportunities to do great things as part of the Fontaine Modification team.”

Four people with mechanical engineering degrees are currently in the program:
• Shelby Simes, a 2009 graduate of Lawrence Technological University, recently was promoted to corporate procurement manager;
• Ivan Barnes, a 2009 graduate of the University of Arizona, was put in charge of Fontaine’s newest modification center in Laredo, Texas, earlier this year;
• Chris VanDeWiele, a 2007 graduate of the University of Michigan, now is serving as Fontaine’s inventory control manager; and
• Mike Knisley, a 2009 graduate of the Ohio State University, is an engineer dedicated to Fontaine Modification customer Hino Trucks.

The tight job market and unique entrepreneurial opportunities available at Fontaine combine to make the Management Trainee Program appealing to candidates. Fontaine is recruiting for its next class of management trainees. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or electrical engineering, CAD experience, relocation capabilities, a hands-on mechanical aptitude, an outgoing and empathetic personality, and an entrepreneurial spirit. Interested candidates should contact Trantham directly at or 205-485-4282.