New Flyer of America Inc., manufacturer of heavy-duty transit vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, hosted U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and the White House Middle Class Task Force town hall meeting at its St. Cloud, Minn., facility on March 19, 2009.
Other dignitaries present at the event included Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood; Education Secretary Arne Duncan; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan; Agriculture Secretary Kenneth Vilsack, and former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale.
“We are very honored to have been selected as the company to host this important event,” said New Flyer President/CEO Paul Soubry. “New Flyer believes that it is truly part of the solution to the economic situation. Not only does New Flyer provide clean transportation to middle class families, it also provides good jobs.”
The company employs more than 650 people at its St. Cloud facility, which is an increase of approximately 20 percent over last year. In addition, New Flyer has approximately 370 employees working at its plant in Crookston, Minn., which is approximately a 15 percent increase in employees since the beginning of 2009.
New Flyer was selected as the venue for the second meeting of the Middle Class Task Force because of its tremendous growth, which is attributable to increased ridership and growing environmental concerns, during this economic downturn.
“Our customers, who are transit agencies across the country, are experiencing unprecedented growth in ridership and require environmentally-friendly, low-emission vehicles with advanced technologies, and they need these vehicles now,” said Soubry.
In his speech, U.S. Vice President Biden acknowledged various customers in attendance and spoke about the positive impact the stimulus would have on transit agencies. Biden referred to New Flyer as a “pioneer” and "model" for other businesses.” He also stated that New Flyer was an example of the future, laying the foundation for the 21st century.
Approximately 400 people attended the event. As the backdrop for the meeting, four brand-new New Flyer hybrid buses built for Chicago; Albuquerque; Washington, D.C.; and San Diego were on display. During his speech, Soubry recognized the following customers in attendance: Joyce Eleanor from Everett, Wash.; Marilyn Shazor from Cincinnati; Brian Lamb from Minneapolis; and Dave Tripp from St. Cloud, Minn.