In 1960, Don and Carol Wahlin began what has become their sixty year journey as the founders of Stoughton Trailers.
Shortly after graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1960 with a degree in Engineering, Don began working as an engineer for Moe, Parley and Moe Corporation (MPM). Thinking that his job in Stoughton would be temporary, Don commuted from Madison to Stoughton while Carol worked as a legal secretary for a law firm in Madison. Don’s thoughts on temporary employment were well founded, as within six months MPM would close their doors and file for bankruptcy.
Having had the opportunity to become familiar with the business, Don felt it could be profitable and with the help of family and friends, Don and Carol were able to buy the business out of bankruptcy in 1961 and renamed the company Stoughton Truck Body.
In 1962, Don and Carol moved to Stoughton and continued to struggle to make the new business a success. In addition to working for the company, Carol focused on raising their growing family, while Don, to help make ends meet, flew fighter jets for the Air National Guard out of Truax Field in Madison.
In 1965, the company was renamed Stoughton Body, Inc. In addition to the truck body production in the original MPM facilities, semitrailer production began in a city owned facility on Academy Street, now referred to as Plant 1. That building is now home to the company’s corporate offices and engineering test facility.
In 1973, Plant 2 was built to produce over the road vans and flatbed trailers. Today it is primarily used as storage to support the many other facilities.
For the third time in six years, Stoughton Trailers found the need to add yet another plant with the building of Plant 3 in 1981. Running north from the back side of Plant 1 is Plant 3, which is currently home to the grain trailer production line.
Plant 6, the company’s main assembly plant, was built in 1985. With another expansion in 1987, Plant 6 was doubled in size. In addition to manufacturing operations, the Human Resources and Quality Departments and the company’s Occupational Health facility are located in this plant.
In 1993, Plant 5 was built. This facility is devoted to the fabrication and welding of many of the subcomponents of Stoughton products. Our fabrication capabilities are unique in the trailer industry.
Plant 7, located in Evansville, was added in 1993 and focused on production of intermodal containers and chassis. This is the largest plant in the Stoughton portfolio at 350,000 square feet.
Plant 4 in Brodhead (formerly Stoughton Composites, LLC) began in 1994 as a joint venture with Aluminum Company of America. The 250,000 square foot facility became wholly owned by Stoughton Trailers in 1999.
In 2022, Plant 8 was added in Waco, Texas, and marked the first plant outside of Wisconsin for the company. The new Waco location provides Stoughton Trailers with convenient access to the many seaports, railyards, and chassis customer locations in the southern tier of the United State.
In addition to manufacturing operations, Stoughton Trailers, LLC. also operates a service parts distribution center (Stoughton Parts) an independent over-the-road trucking company (Stoughton Trucking), a full-service logistics company (Stoughton Logistics) a trailer rental & leasing company (Stoughton Lease) as well as a trailer financing company (Stoughton Trailers Acceptance Corp.)
Stoughton Trailers has come a long way since its founding in 1961. The company is now the 5th largest trailer manufacturer in North America. Stoughton Trailers has almost 2 million square feet of manufacturing space under roof. it’s estimated that over 200,000 trailers produced at these plants travel the highways of the United States and Canada every day.