Kenworth Sales Company Opens Dec. 19 After Blessing Ceremony

January 2012, CUJ

PENDLETON – Board of Trustees members toured the Kenworth Sales Company facility following a smudge ceremony and blessing at the building.

Kenworth Sales Company began operations Dec. 19 in the commercial trucks parts and service store known in the company as Kenworth Sales – Pendleton.

Ric Petersen, Kenworth Sales Company District Manager, led the tour of the company’s 20th store that spread across seven states, including Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Wyoming and Nevada.

Petersen said the facility will focus much of its attention on technical aspects of vehicles, which today utilize and are dependent on computer technology.

“The old days of being a mechanic are over,” he said. “Now you have to be an electrical technician.”

Petersen said the store intends to employ about 15 people at the start with the potential for up to 30 jobs. He said the facility will start offering service from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week with a goal of two shifts working from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“We could be open on Sundays depending on the volume at Arrowhead(Travel Plaza),” he said.

In response to a BOT question, Petersen said Kenworth Sales Company will not be in direct competition with Woodpecker Trucks on Interstate 84 west of Pendleton.

“We’re not going after their customers,” Petersen said. “We have a customer base that currently utilizes our Pasco store. This will be more convenient for them.”

Petersen also reminded BOT members about the company’s apprenticeship program and its willingness to work with students in the diesel mechanic program at Blue Mountain Community College. He said Kenworth Sales Company is committed to hiring Tribal members that meet qualifications equal to or better than other applicants.

The store opened with one technician who lives in Pendleton and had been commuting to work at the Pasco facility.

This story originally appeared in the CUJ. The Confederated Umatilla Journal is the monthly newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Oregon.