Expanding on the existing corporate office facility located at 602 E. Lathrop Ave. in Savannah, Ga., Great Dane has officially broken ground on the site of a brand new research and development campus. The state-of-the-art complex will serve as a hub for the company's extensive engineering and design initiatives and as an educational experience for both customers and employees. Great Dane's President and CEO Bill Crown commented at the groundbreaking ceremony with local officials, company executives, customers, staff and members of the media in attendance.
"Great Dane's history in Southeast Georgia dates back to around the turn of the 20th century, when we were originally known as the Savannah Blow Pipe Company. As it grew, the company changed to meet the evolving needs of its customers, investing time and resources into research, development and engineering," Crown said. "Over the past 30 years, the tremendous work done by Great Dane's entire engineering team has yielded countless cutting-edge innovations in materials and products that have advanced the entire trucking industry. Today, we celebrate these accomplishments by breaking ground on a new Engineering and Technology Campus here in Savannah that will benefit not only our customers but also our employees and the environment."
The new high-tech campus will include the renovation of the current corporate office space and three new-construction buildings that will be LEED certified. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, this means the spaces will be designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
The new Engineering building will encompass more than 30,000-sq. ft. of space and will include a 3,600-sq. ft. conference center, customer preview showroom and technology "garden," which will house interactive, hands-on educational displays demonstrating the strength and specifications of Great Dane products and materials.
Research and Development will receive a new 27,000-sq. ft. building to accommodate a manufacturing engineering lab for building custom fixtures and testing automation equipment. The corrosion lab will also be housed here, as well as testing facilities for large and small-scale components, quality assurance and thermal efficiency.
A separate 5,500-sq. ft. building will be erected for Great Dane's one-of-a-kind full-scale road simulator capable of testing trailers, truck bodies and buses. Full-scale automated trailer floor fatigue testing will also take place here.
"Great Dane by far has the hardest-working engineering and development team in the industry," said Rick Mullininx, executive vice president, engineering. "When the new technology center is complete, we will be able to further test our research and design innovations in a state-of-the-art setting, train employees and educate our customers as we all work together to find solutions to best fit their needs."