DENVER – It sure looks like just a service truck. It's a mobile tool box, a rolling parts warehouse, an equipment carrier, a hauler, a boom and hoist platform, a work station, a dump bed, a delivery or moving space. It's a one-man business or, coupled with other trucks, a whole crew station.
All that is true, and there are trucks like this seemingly everywhere.
What they really are, though, is productivity personified. With the right truck, configured in just the right way, the work gets done expertly in less time, allowing more work to get done. And that's where Colorado's O.J. Watson Equipment and Reading Truck Body, LLC come in.
Reading Truck Body is part of The Reading Group, LLC, since 1955 as Reading Body Works one of the more recognizable manufacturers of service truck bodies and beds throughout the nation and the world. It's nearly impossible to drive down any commercial thoroughfare in the United States and not see a service truck with the word "READING" embossed across the tailgate or the back. Workers from plumbers and electricians, to utility crews, tree trimmers, landscapers, parts distributors, painters and – well every worker – have made a Reading service body the most preferred work platform in the world. The venerable Reading "Kangaroo" logo – originally the animal was called "Ready" and was chosen for its figurative ability to store things in its pouch – is as recognizable in the service vehicle world as "Snap, Crackle and Pop" are to breakfast food aficionados.
But almost no two Reading service trucks are alike – because almost no two jobs are alike,or at least each worker or company has their own idea of what they want the truck to be and do. So Reading works through a nationwide network of distributors who are on the front lines of work in their regions and make each and every Reading service body into, well, an art of work.
For Colorado that Reading distributor is O.J. Watson Equipment of Denver and Greeley, a family owned enterprise that understands work vehicles of every stripe like no other company around.
O.J. Watson personnel meet with each customer, and each worker or crew, to determine just exactly what they want their work truck to be or do. Where do they go? How many crew members are involved? What work is to be performed? What equipment, parts and tools are required to be installed or stored in the vehicle? If there is an existing vehicle that is being replaced what could make the new O.J.Watson/Reading service truck more useable, more worker-friendly and, ultimately, more productive?
O.J. Watson collects this information and more and designs a custom service body to best accomplish the task. That information is then relayed to Reading's manufacturing facility in Reading, PA., where advanced technologies – like SolidWorks engineered and CAD/CAM design manufacturing, various lasers, form presses, autoforming machines, and corrosion-preventing coating processes – are used to make that service body exactly the way the customer requires.
Service bodies manufactured by Reading can be made from the highest quality A60 coating weight steel or, as part of the line's Go Green Initiative, from more than 50 percent recycled, high-strength alloy aluminum.
These service bodies are then attached by experts at O.J. Watson to a wide variety of trucks from major truck manufacturers like GMC and Ford, in sizes ranging from ½-ton pickups to large many-ton trucks. Each truck, in gasoline, diesel, flex-fuel or even CNG versions, and in single rear wheel or dual rear cab chassis, is selected in collaboration with the customer to determine just the right truck for the job.
"Our customers know that we have their best interests at heart," says Mark Eckrich, senior vice president of O.J. Watson and a member of the ownership family. "We don't just sell trucks; we create business solutions involving service vehicles. Our fully-equipped shop can also create further customization requirements beyond what Reading can provide. And we service what we sell to ensure that our products deliver on the promise we make to each and every customer: to deliver the best service possible.
"We're only as good as the last truck we made," Eckrich adds, "and we keep that uppermost in mind on every project."
O.J. Watson Equipment was founded in 1912 – 100 years ago this year – in Wichita, Kan. by Oscar J. Watson, an entrepreneur who was friends and a business associate with the likes of American business pioneers Henry Ford, Clyde Cessna, Walter Chrysler, William Coleman, John Willys, and David Sarnoff. He launched his business by taking early Ford and Willys passengers cars and basic pickups and turning them into purpose-built vehicles for American workers and companies – a tradition at the company still in place a century later. O.J. Watson expanded to Denver in 1974 and in 1988 the company was purchased by Richard Eckrich, who has carried on the tradition of family ownership.
O.J. Watson today specializes, of course, in Service Body Trucks, and also in such workhorses as Crane Trucks, Platform Trucks, Dump Trucks, Aerial Bucket Trucks, Hook Lifts, and a wide variety of Snow & Ice Control equipment. O.J. Watson trucks and equipment are on the job throughout the Rocky Mountain area.