Grow With Us: The People of Felling - Nathan Uphus, Sales

As Felling celebrates 45 years of manufacturing trailers, we continue to look back and see how much our company, along with our employees, have grown. Many of you may already know the story of how Felling Trailers started as a small fabrication shop in downtown Sauk Centre in 1974. Continuing to add to this story, we invite you to read our “Grow with Us Series – 7.” Here you will meet the people of Felling; we will share a bit about the people that have played a part in what our company is today and where we will be tomorrow. Some of the people you will meet have been with us for many years, some decades, and then others are just starting their careers with us. To continue our series, we would like you to meet Nathan Uphus, the Sales Manager for Felling Trailers, Inc., Sauk Centre.

Nathan Uphus
Sales Manager, Felling Trailers

Name: Nathan Uphus
Status: 20 years
Title: Sales Manager
Nathan Uphus - Felling Trailers

A Chance Meeting with Merle

Nathan joined the Felling Trailer’s Team in the summer of 1999 after running into Merle J. Felling, founder of Felling Trailers, in the local hardware store. Felling Trailers was growing, and Merle was looking to hire quite a few people at that time, he asked Nathan if he would like to come work for him. Nathan had previously worked in the agronomy field but quickly found out that was not what he enjoyed. Once he was hired at Felling, he started in the Finishing Department, where he put wood decking on trailers. He held this position for a few months before having the opportunity to move to Project Weld. In his new position, Nathan built light boxes, ramps, and fenders, among other essential piece part components. 

Experiencing Many Production Departments

Throughout the next year and a half, Nathan worked his way through many of the production departments depending on what department the trailer order backlog was highest. For the better part of the summer of 2000, Nathan worked in the Pan trailer department. “That year, we really started to get a lot of orders for a large rental account, so there was quite a backlog of sold units in that area. Once that run was completed, I worked on the E and L model line fixtures until the winter of 2000. At that time, we got an order for several auto transporters, and I was pretty eager to move into that line as those units required quite a bit of custom fabrication. When the run of transports was completed, I moved into the heavy deck-over fixture,” said Nathan.

Life Intervenes in Interesting Ways

Mid-summer of 2001, Nathan received news that he would need to have two tumors removed from his spinal cord.  When Nathan was able to return to work, he took on light duty tasks in the office. “The business was rapidly expanding at that time, and I took on several roles, one of which was web development, which was self-taught.” Not long after, Nathan was also asked to help expand the parts department. “Early 2002, I was solely running the parts department, purchasing everything but steel, and taking care of all warranty claims. I also acted as a fill-in yard loader and truck driver, mostly local hauls, but I was known to take on a long haul or two,” said Nathan.    

“The business was rapidly expanding at that time, and I took on several roles, one of which was web development, which was self-taught.”
-Nathan Uphus, National Sales Manager at Felling Trailers

Becoming Sales Manager at Felling Trailers

Nathan Uphus ARA ShowIn 2004, Nathan was asked by Merle if he would be interested in selling trailers. Nathan quickly jumped to the task and made the move to the sales department. He worked as an Inside Sales Rep until November of 2014 when he took on the role of the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeastern United States. As a Regional Manager, Nathan put in long days traveling, putting quotes together, and meeting new clients. After 14 years of experience selling trailers, Nathan was asked by management to take on the role of Sales Manager. He moved back to Sauk Centre to assume the role in April of 2018.

Up for the Challenge & Continuous Change

As the business was rapidly expanding, Nathan was open to taking on new roles. “When I started with the company in 1999, it was a fairly small operation catering mainly to the upper Midwest region. While growing at the time, it was nowhere near the size it is now. We’re continuing to expand our reach not only in the market area but in product offering as well, we’re no longer known as a ‘small trailer’ manufacturer,” said Nathan. Nathan’s motivation for continuous change within the company was his enthusiasm for the challenge. “I like to be involved in as many aspects of the business as ownership will allow me to, I find it challenging to learn new roles.”

“I like to be involved in as many aspects of the business as ownership will allow me to, I find it challenging to learn new roles.”
-Nathan Uphus, National Sales Manager at Felling Trailers

When asked why Nathan chose Felling to be where he worked, he said, “I appreciate that it’s a family-owned and operated business. Everyone here is someone, not just a number. I also like the fact that we continue to stay true to what made us the company that we are today, offering custom design built trailer solutions.” We are glad to have Nathan as part of our team, thank you, Nathan!  

Are you interested in becoming part of the Felling Team? Learn more about a career at Felling Trailers and grow with us!

This is the seventh feature in our “Grow with Us” series.  Read the other stories about Jeremy Kuperus, Robot Operator/Senior Welder, Dillon Huntington, Finishing/Assembly Team Supervisor, Sheri Leonard, Human Resource & Safety Coordinator, Brian Lawver, Weld Supervisor, Greg Waletzko, Quality Assurance Manager at Felling Trailers, and Kristie Moritz, Scheduling Coordinator.

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