February 2017 Archives

Photos and story © 2017 Dwight Cendrowski

Life-saving airport behemoths to the rescue
Oshkosh Corporation.  Leading the way at airports and beyond.

    Oshkosh is a city in the northeast of the US state of Wisconsin, a region known as the Fox Valley. Known for its dairy farms, lakes and fanatical Green Bay football fans, the area is a growing hub of industry and manufacturing firms, including its iconic namesake, the Oshkosh Corporation. Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2017, Oshkosh is an international manufacturing colossus, unmatched  in producing heavy-duty specialty vehicles for markets including defense, fire and emergency, commercial and access equipment. "We are true, heavy manufacturers," says Jeff Resch, vice president and general manager of Oshkosh Airport Products, a business unit of Oshkosh Corporation that produces airport emergency vehicles.  "We design, build and sell everything, from scratch."
    Resch and others in the Fire and Emergency segment of the company are very excited about a new truck called the Striker 8 X 8. It's a redesigned Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) vehicle debuting in April 2017,  a mammoth 8-wheeler capable of carrying 4500 gallons [17000 liters] of water. As Resch proudly says, "We've had an
8 X 8 before, but this new 8 X 8 is the highest performing ARFF vehicle out there." He ticks off the specs. "It has all wheel drive, can go off-road, has high water capacity. Just an awesome firefighting truck."

   cendrowski_161216_3109.jpg Salim Hawi agrees. He's vice president for international sales at Oshkosh and says that "This truck has so much horsepower, you put wings on it, this monster will fly!" That horsepower comes from twoScania Tier4F, 700 hp engines. Scania partnered with Oshkosh from the beginning of the design phase to supply the engines on the new 8 X 8, whose biggest markets will initially be China and the Middle East.Scania also supplies engines for Striker 6 X 6 and 4 X 4 trucks, (the numerals refer to the number of wheels and power to those wheels), as well as snow removal, concrete mixer and refuse trucks.

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The collaboration between Oshkosh and Scania was a smooth fit from the beginning; both companies are leaders in their fields and dedicated to quality products sold throughout the world.  "It's been a great relationship," says Resch. Adds Hawi, "And Scania provides premium service and a warranty second to none."

    The Oshkosh Airport Products group also produces snow blowers, the newest a 3000-ton, single engine machine that is more maneuverable, less costly and requires less maintenance than its double engine sister. Explains Resch, "Similar to the 8 X 8, we said 'We're building a new product. What's the right engine for us?' " And the 8 X 8 design team pointed again to Scania products. Those Scania powered blowers are now being used at the Metropolitan Airports Commission in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, a region known for bitterly cold temperatures and large annual snowfalls of 45 inches [114 cm].cendrowski_161216_3152.jpg

    Oshkosh airport trucks have a worldwide reach. They're custom-built to order, with available features like the Snozzle, a 50 to 65 foot [15 to 20 meter] extendable boom arm that can reach above or below a plane, and with the capability of piercing an airplane cabin or cargo area to spray a powerful shower of water or foam.
    The vehicles also find their way out of airports.  After the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, an ARFF truck came from Dulles International Airport to aid in firefighting.  And in May of 2016,  Alberta, Canada suffered a devastating wildfire that forced the evacuation of nearly 90,000 residents. Two local energy producing companies who are Oshkosh customers rushed several of their Striker 8 X 8 vehicles to aid fire fighters at the Fort McMurray fire.

    Both Hawi and Resch point with pride to the corporation where they've worked  for many years. Says Hawi, "It has a unique culture rooted in strong values, a culture of 'people first.'  Our most important capital is human capital." Oshkosh was recently included among honorees of the world's most ethical companies, an award given by an organization called Ethispere. In addition, Forbes magazine named Oshkosh one of America's best large employers in 2016.
Oshkosh by the numbers
Oshkosh Corporation is a leading maker of heavy-duty specialty vehicles and truck bodies for markets including defense, fire and emergency, snow removal, concrete and construction.
• Founded in 1917
• Four business segments comprising defense, fire and emergency, access equipment and commercial
• 13,000 employees worldwide
• Manufacturing operations in eight US states plus Canada, Australia, Belgium, France, Mexico, Romania and China
• Net sales for fiscal 2015 of  $6.1 billion US dollars

8 x 8 Striker ARFF vehicle
•  Newly redesigned ARFF truck debuting at Fire Department Instructor's Conference (FDIC) in April 2017
• Carries 4500 gallons [17034 liters] of water, 630 gallons [2385 liters] of foam
• 62 ton total weight
• Top speed 70 mph [112 km/h]
• Dual Scania Tier4F engines with maximum 770-horsepower and maximum torque of 3183NM
• Vehicle features power and maneuverability, stable ride, cab comfort and excellent visibility


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It was just announced that Walmart has bought the Michigan based outdoor retailer Moosejaw. Moosejaw has a strong online presence that Walmart hopes will bring it much needed electronic retailing experience in its competition with Amazon.

I photographed Moosejaw's young owners in 2008 for the magazine Electronic Retailer.


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Fitness Therapy

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A woman strains in a pool therapy session under the watchful eye of a physical therapist at Fitness Therapy Unlimited. FTU provides land, aquatic and massage therapy for those with physical disorders or disabilities caused by auto accidents or chronic conditions. I was able to photograph during a day of work by the company's therapists.


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