Champ Industries USA in Jamestown anticipates more growth

The Jamestown location would like to add about 20 more workers in Jamestown by the end of the year.

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Champ Industries President and General Manager Kevin Medwick talks about the operations at the Jamestown location.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN – Champ Industries USA has about 30 employees at its Jamestown location and hopes to be at 50 employees by the end of the year, says President and General Manager Kevin Medwick.

“We’re investing in Jamestown and we’re really hoping that we’re able to find the folks that want to grow with us,” he said. “That’s our main challenge, is finding people to do work in the skilled trades.”

Champ Industries USA is a third-party metal manufacturer supplying tier 1 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Medwick said.

“We support all the tier 1 manufacturers in North America,” he said.

A tier 1 company supplies a product to the market, he said.


“We’re a North American company so we have customers in Colorado, we have customers in Nebraska, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota,” Medwick said.

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These large round metal pieces are just one item being manufactured at Champ Industries USA in Jamestown.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Champ Industries USA provides sheet metal and tube weldments used by other companies in their products. A weldment is a part created from smaller components that are welded together.

Ideally, Medick said, they are looking for customers that want parts to be laser cut, formed, welded and painted.

“Typically our customers are either transportation, agriculture or construction,” Medwick said.

He said those customers are two types: customers that aren’t large enough so they don’t have the type of equipment that Champ Industries USA has, and customers that are getting too large and don’t have enough of the equipment or people to do it themselves.

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Machinist Nathan Nannenga taps some threads in holes on square tubing metal at Champ Industries USA in Jamestown.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

The types of products they make include bracketry, battery boxes and suspension parts.

“You name it, if it’s made out of metal on a tractor or on a bulldozer or on a bus, then we may make it or we’ve looked at making it in the past,” Medwick said.


Champ Industries was founded in the 1950s in Winnipeg, where its plant there now employs 100 people, Medwick said. The Jamestown location opened in 2005.

“The laws started to change in the (United) States as far as how manufacturing was performed when the ‘Buy American’ laws were brought into place,” he said. “So a lot of our customers now needed us to be able to provide U.S. content and thus Jamestown was born.”

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Fresh powder-coated fabricated metal pieces hang on a rack waiting to be moved to the next processing area. Powder-coating is a durable industrial painting process where the color is baked on the metal.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Making the products

Large sheets of steel, aluminum or stainless steel are loaded into the laser machine, where they are quickly cut for a specific job.

“It really all depends on the type of material and the thickness of the material,” Medwick said, “but you’re looking at a part every 3 seconds to every 15 seconds.”

Depending on the job, said Shannon Scholz, production manager at Champ Industries USA, pieces cut by the laser may then move to another machine called the brake where they are “broke” (bent) into the needed product shape.

“A lot of stuff that gets cut comes through the brake,” Scholz said.

The factory/plant recently added a tube laser machine at the Jamestown plant that uses the same technology as the flat sheet laser machine but instead will cut tube, Medwick said. It’s expected to be in use around the end of March and will provide another component to Champ Industries' production.


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Shannon Scholz, production manager of Champ Industries USA in Jamestown, shows a pile of laser-cut metal pieces that are waiting to be pressed and formed into a support leg for items they are manufacturing at the plant.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

“Typically the weldments that we do have two different types of materials in them,” Medwick said. “They have flat sheet (metal) that we cut and break into parts and they have tube (metal) that we cut and weld into the weldments. So instead of paying other companies to cut the tube for us, we can now cut the tube for ourselves which opens a whole bunch of different doors. In North Dakota, we’re not aware of anybody else right now that’s offering laser cutting, welding and powder coating all out of the same facility when it comes to tube, so that’s why the investment was made.”

The company has also added laser welding technology, another investment in the Jamestown plant, Medwick said.

Typically our customers are either transportation, agriculture or construction.
Kevin Medwick, president and general manager, Champ Industries

There are multiple jobs occurring at the same time in the plant and they vary according to the individual company’s needs.

“Typically, I would say at any given time there’s 30 to 50 jobs on the go …,” Medwick said.

He said the equipment is only running at about 50 percent capacity right now. He said sales are expected to grow and they are looking at multiple avenues to find workers.

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A welder at Champ Industries USA fuses pieces of metal together.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Medwick noted that Champ Industries USA’s need for workers is similar to other companies.

“Everybody is struggling to find people so our customers typically, what they’ll do, is they’ll transition their people out of the types of things that we do into assembly and completion roles and farm this type of work out to other companies that are being a little bit more successful finding people,” he said. “That’s where the majority of our growth is coming from. You can tie that back to supply chain issues that everybody in North America has been having for the last three years. …”

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This large-scale laser tube cutter is new to Champ Industries USA and was expected to be in use by the end of March.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Champ Industries USA has three shifts for employees and is currently looking for welders and people to operate machinery.


“On the welding side, we’d like to see some type of education, even if it’s just through the high school or through the technical colleges,” Medwick said. “We are willing to train from scratch, though. On the machine side, … all we’re looking for are people with mechanical aptitude. So maybe they worked for dad in the garage for a year when they were a kid or they like to play in their own garage, take things apart and put them back together. That’s really all we’re looking for. We’re 100 percent willing to train specific on our equipment.”

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Pam Johnson, general laborer, uses a large-scale press on small pieces of angled metal.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Medwick said the workforce at the Jamestown plant is “diverse,” noting there are people with many years of employment as well as those who have fewer years with the company.

“Once people are here and get to know the company, they tend to stay,” he said.

He said the company’s benefit package and overall remuneration are “very competitive.”

“Our culture is very much family oriented,” he added. “… We’re very willing to work with people to make sure their schedules match their bus schedules for their children and all that different kind of stuff. People work to support their family, they don’t support their family so they can work … so that’s very important to us.”

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Kathy Steiner has been the editor of The Jamestown Sun since 1995. She graduated from Valley City State College with a bachelor's degree in English and studied mass communications at North Dakota State University, Fargo. She reports on business, government and community topics in the Jamestown area. Reach her at 701-952-8449 or
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