Fifty Years ago, Robert R Werts, then a young World War II veteran with welding experience, and his wife, Verna, opened Werts Welding & Tank Service Inc in Wood River IL and soon began offering services to the tank trailer industry.

The Werts found that they needed a reliable source of parts for their tank trailer service and started stocking equipment for the type of vehicles being repaired.

When customers found out about the stock availability, they provided the impetus for over-the-counter parts sales to local accounts. Through the years a 400-page tank trailer parts catalog was developed, which eventually helped the company grow into a tank trailer equipment distributor that supplies customers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Werts Welding is a distributor for 30 manufacturers. The company also has developed strong alliances with exporters for international shipments.

The business, now under the direction of the late Werts' son, Dwight, celebrated the 50th anniversary in November 2007 with an open house at the Wood River location. The company has continued to expand in Wood River where it has a trailer sales center, eight-bay repair shop, and 30,000-square-foot parts facility. Tank trailer parts distribution centers also have been opened in San Antonio, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; Tampa, Florida; and Des Moines, Iowa.

In addition, the Birmingham facility also offers repair services at its four-bay shop. The shops are registered with the Department of Transportation and hold National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel and American Society of Mechanical Engineers accreditations.

The company specializes in service for pneumatic, petroleum, and chemical trailers. It is the Heil Trailer International representative for Missouri, Kansas, and a large portion of Illinois. Werts also offers complete straight truck assembly with any customer-specified chassis and a choice of the Trans Tech, Amthor, and Progress petroleum tanks. As an added service, the company has a sister company that owns a petroleum tanker lease fleet that can be utilized while customer units are in the shop for testing or repairs.

The Werts had two children, Dwight and his sister, Karen. Dwight joined the business in 1977 and took over management leadership in 1993. Family members who are active in the business today include Dwight's wife, Cheryl, their two children, Liz and Nick, and Dwight's sister, Karen. The company employs over 60 people and has three outside salesmen calling on customers in 30 states.

“The future for Werts Welding & Tank Service looks very bright,” says Dwight. “As a growing company, Werts is always looking for the right opportunities to expand and increase our ability to better serve our current and future customers.”