FROM THE HILL
Beaver State Congressman Tours Off-Road Industry Leader
Warn Industries displays an accessorized Jeep Wrangler in front of their Clackamas, Oregon, headquarters.
What happens when a veterinarian, a farmer and a politician visit a SEMA-member company? This is a bit of trick question, since U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR) claims each of those professions as his own. One of the most bipartisan members of Congress, Rep. Schrader is a friend of the automotive enthusiast because he is one himself. Given that, persuading him to visit the headquarters of Warn Industries in Clackamas, Oregon, was an easy sell.
From humble beginnings as owners of a Washington State Willy’s dealership, Arthur and Sadie Warn founded Warn Industries in 1948 on the idea that there was a market for the thousands of surplus World War II Jeeps no longer needed by the military. By the mid-’50s, Warn’s wheel-locking hubs had revolutionized the auto industry. Warn’s business expanded into winches in 1959, when the company’s development of the first recreational winch became the brand of choice for many off-road racers and 4WD enthusiasts.
U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR) poses next to a vintage Jeep Willys outfitted with a Warn winch.
Today, Jeeps are some of the most popular and customized vehicles on the market, as more than 60% of the 2-million-plus ’91–’17 Jeep Wranglers (TJ and JK) on the road today are modified with specialty-equipment parts. With the 4x4 and off-road market growing at more than 8% per year, Mr. and Mrs. Warn’s vision has flourished beyond their wildest dreams. Their namesake company has positioned itself as a leader within the industry, manufacturing more than 600 products for automotive, powersports, industrial and commercial uses, including off-road equipment and accessories for 4WD vehicles, ATVs and utility vehicles.
While the company is known for its winches, Warn’s product line includes hoists, winch accessories, mounting systems, bumpers, body armor, plow systems, 4WD hubs, replacement parts and apparel for outdoor recreation as well as industrial and commercial uses.
“It was a pleasure to host Congressman Schrader at Warn Industries,” said company Vice President of Operations Eric Banks. “We enjoyed having the chance to provide him with a behind-the-scenes tour of our facility and discuss the issues that are of importance to our company and employees.”
Rep. Schrader and Warn Industries employees pose for a picture after the facility tour and meeting.
Rep. Schrader is a member of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus and is a co-sponsor of the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act, which clarifies in federal law that it is legal to modify street vehicles (cars, trucks and motorcycles) into dedicated race vehicles. The RPM Act is needed to provide certainty to racers and the motorsports parts industry and is SEMA’s top legislative priority.
The Congressman’s support for the RPM Act and the performance automotive industry underscores his common-sense approach to policymaking, along with his passion for speed. Rep. Schrader is the proud owner of a midnight-blue ’14 Ford Shelby Cobra Mustang that’s equipped with a 662hp engine and racing tires.
Warn Industries Director of Manufacturing Operations Jack Hooper (left) and Rep. Schrader conversing during the factory tour.
After earning his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois, Schrader moved to Oregon and established the Clackamas County Veterinary Clinic in Oregon City. He worked there as a veterinarian and managed the clinic for more than 30 years. The Congressman also operates Three Rivers Farm, where he grows and sells organic fruit and vegetables.
Schrader got his start in politics in 1981, serving on the Canby Planning Commission until he was elected to the Oregon State House of Representatives in 1996. He moved up to the Oregon State Senate in 2005 and has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2009. Throughout his time in elected office, Rep. Schrader has never lost sight of the fact that his job is to stand up for the people he represents.
“As a pastime or even a sport, off-roading is a favorite of many Oregonians,” he said. “Warn Industries is one of the premier off-road equipment companies, and we’re pleased to have one of their two Oregon manufacturing plants headquartered in Clackamas. I had the pleasure of touring Warn’s 180,000-sq.-ft. production facility, where the company’s more than 400 local employees build products to enhance the capability of off-road vehicles of all types, from Ford to Kawasaki.”
|SEMA PAC President’s Club Spotlight: Frank Nosko|
Frank Nosko is the owner of FN Motorsports, which is based in Gainesville, Florida. Nosko joined the SEMA PAC President’s Club in 2018.
“When it comes to fighting for issues like the RPM Act, I know that SEMA PAC has our industry’s back,” Nosko said. “The threats facing small businesses are real and should not be taken lightly. As a small-business owner, my investment in the President’s Club ensures that I have an additional voice fighting for me in our nation’s capital. I encourage every SEMA member to sign up and make their voices heard.”
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