Truck builder continues push into propane market

March 15, 2018 By    

LP Gas magazine spent a day with Signature Truck Systems, learning about the truck building market and touring the company’s two Michigan facilities.

Signature is headquartered in Clio, Michigan, about 15 miles north of Flint. The company uses this facility to build bobtails for the propane industry. More than 100 miles to the northwest, Signature’s Houghton Lake facility, near Michigan’s largest inland lake, builds service trucks for the industry.

On average, the 70-employee company builds about 350 trucks a year for the propane industry – delivering to every state, Canada and Bermuda – and is known for its Linebacker and Fullback brand service vehicles. The Clio facility features a 2-year-old transport manufacturing building, as well as an engineering department, while Houghton Lake houses a fabrication shop. Here, Signature Truck Systems builds many of its own parts. Both locations also have their own paint shops.

As a way to connect with customers, Signature Truck Systems touts its retail propane roots. Company president Mike VanDenBoom is a former operations manager at Ferrellgas, while Eric Salinas, general manager at the company’s Houghton Lake facility, is a former manager at Dart Propane, a Michigan-based propane retailer.

“It gives us a real knowledge and ability to understand the customer’s needs,” Salinas says of having worked in the propane industry. “You’ve been there and experienced a lot of the things they are experiencing.”

Signature Trucks Systems, founded by Joe Volk in 1999 and sold to TerraVest Capital in 2015, has been making a propane market push as a Granby Industries company.

Based in Quebec, Canada, Granby is growing its presence in the propane market with its Signature Truck Systems, Fischer Tanks and Pro-Par brands. Fischer is a Michigan-based manufacturer and refurbisher of domestic propane tanks, while Pro-Par is a Canada-based manufacturer of large propane containment vessels and assembler of propane transport trucks.

Granby’s early emphasis, starting in 1964, was on petroleum storage products, but it began to see a customer shift toward propane.

“We said we need to look into diversifying, so we acquired Pro-Par in Quebec in 2013,” says Pierre Fournier, president of Granby Industries. Fischer Tanks joined the group of companies last year.

By offering a combination of propane industry vehicles and storage containers, and working in tandem with its sister companies, Signature Truck Systems can help the customer “A to Z,” VanDenBoom says. “It’s a very unique aspect of our business.”

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at or 216-706-3748.

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