JEFFERSON — The North Carolina Commissioner of Labor Josh Dobson traveled from Raleigh to the mountains of Ashe County to meet with the board of commissioners and Ambulance Division Controller at AEV Greg Warmuth to tour the recently built facility, located in the old Gates building in Jefferson.

Those in attendance with the board of commissioners were Chair Todd McNeill, Chuck Olive and Jerry Powers along with County Manager Adam Stumb and Clerk Ashley Honeycutt.

The tour took place at the new location of AEV, 101 Gates Lane, Jefferson, which will soon become the main headquarters as the old building, occupied for 25 years on American Way in Jefferson, will soon move its facilities to the newer building.

Warmuth explained the different parts of the facility and how the job opportunities have increased to nearly 400 as the company continues to expand.

With the invasion of the COVID-19 pandemic, Warmuth and his team did not panic or shutdown. In fact, he said they’ve had their busiest year yet and have struggled with the current vehicle demand. The main manufacturer for AEV is Ford, which has recently cut back on its supply for the company, causing the struggle in meeting demands.

“Our facility is set up to build 1,300 vehicles every year. That’s one out of every four ambulances in the United States, meaning one out of every four ambulances come out of our Ashe County facilities,” said Warmuth. “We also have our vehicles on five continents.

“The expectations of our vehicles are also very high from our customers. I’ve seen people come in with head lamps and inspection glasses to make sure they’re perfect.”

Warmuth also touched base on the job shortage and how they’ve seen the impact, despite their 400-employee work force.

“We are very fortunate that we have been able to stay open, but we have had openings with no-show applicants,” Warmuth said.

AEV is also a North Carolina Stock Company, something Dobson said was honorary.

Warmuth took the group into the production line facility where there are modular units, van units and cell units along with a graphics department and paint department. Their operations include refurbishing, painting, designing, mechanics, CNC routing and more.

Dobson and the BOC got the opportunity to see line work including the graphic placement where workers hand place the tape and designs onto the vehicle.

The commissioners and Dobson expressed their amazement and gratitude toward the workers at AEV, saying their ethic and drive are what keeps the company floating and busy. With manufacturers and clients buying in high demand, the company is sure to continue its growth.

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