Diamond C Trailers Recognized for Charitable Programs

Posted By: Samantha Darling LaCount NATM Member News, NATM News,

About Diamond C Trailer MFG. 

NATM member company Diamond C Trailer Mfg., Inc. was named a Texas Workforce Commission 2022 Large Employer of the Year finalist. While they did not win, the nomination itself is not an easy feat. 

Texas has 28 workforce boards that report to the state Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The TWC holds an annual conference where finalists are recognized and the winners announced. Diamond C is located in Mount Pleasant, Texas, a city of roughly 16,000 people located about 120 miles east of Dallas. They fall under the Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas’ region and that is who nominated them.

“Diamond C was one of three finalists,” said Bart Spivey, the Business Development Project Manager with Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas. “They didn't ultimately win the state award but they were a finalist, and we will also recognize them as the Northeast Texas Large Employer of the Year at the end of January as part of our annual celebration that we do.”

“I don't do any of this and never have for recognition,” said Kim Crabb, who founded Diamond C with her husband, Mike. “People will ask for help with an event, and say we’ll put your name out there or do this advertising. I said, I don't care if my name’s out there or not I’m happy to help. I don’t do anything for recognition, so when we did get recognized it was just so amazing to me and I was just so excited.” 

Spivey says it’s a pretty safe bet to assume each of the 28 boards gave a submission and that Diamond C beat out 25 other companies for a finalist honor. The commission has several award categories. Large Employer of the Year recognizes a company with over 500 employees. 

“The Large Employer of the Year Award honors a large private-sector employer whose efforts and initiatives have an extraordinary effect on the state of Texas, workers, other employers, and the communities in which the employer does business,” the Texas Workforce Commission website reads. 

Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas asked some of their economic development partners for suggestions when it came time for award nominations. Diamond C was initially brought to Spivey’s attention by the Mount Pleasant Economic Development Corporation.

“We kind of take all that information and narrow it down. Basically, based on who we think has worked with us the best over the past year,” Spivey said. “The nomination is not just about the workforce partnership. It's also about community involvement, impact on the economy, and things like that. We take all that into account and put forth who we think is the best option.”

Since the board was looking for community involvement and economic impact, Diamond C was a no-brainer. Diamond C has seen rapid growth. The company had 200 employees in 2017, and as of early 2023 is employing 840. 

Diamond C also recently acquired Parker Trailer for $16 million as well as building a new $9 million beam fabrication facility. The company started as essentially a backyard operation and has grown to one that operates out of an office, stacking bay, power coat building, main shop, fleet deck, dump truck facility, beam facility, as well as an up-and-coming part manufacturing building, with even more in the works.

“It’s very much a family feel even though it’s growing at the pace that it’s grown,” said Gloria Zaldivar, Director of Culture & Leadership with Diamond C. 

Meet the family

Diamond C was started in 1985 with a handful of employees putting trailers together on owners Mike and Kim’s property with Mike even delivering the finished products himself. Kim was working in the trailer manufacturing industry when her employer had to close, leaving her and all her co-workers with a lot of uncertainty.

“(Kim) said I just wanted to know that I had a job and that these people weren’t going to be homeless or without a job. That was her fueling force, her fueling fire,” Zaldivar said. “It was built from two people that were pregnant with their third child. It's funny because now her son, this child she was pregnant with, is the one running the company.”

“I was a few months pregnant with Jeffery. He was due in May and this was October of 1984. Now I know it was discrimination, but in 1984, I didn’t,” said Kim. “For instance, I went to one major manufacturer here, it was not trailers, but I went to them, and I did all their testing, all their pre-testing, to be in their secretarial department. She told me that I passed everything with flying colors and she said now, when’s your baby due? And I said the end of May, and she said okay we’ll touch base with you in July but yes, you have a job. I was like, July? I have to have a job now.” 

So Kim and Mike created jobs for themselves right then. They got loans from a few family members and contacted Kim’s co-workers from the recently shut-down company they had worked for. That was the hard part. Deciding on the name was easy. 

“My maiden name was Copeland and then, of course, Crabb, so that’s why the C was perfect,” Kim said.

Naming the company in honor of their family worked out well. The Crabbs have four children in total, and two of them work for Diamond C. Their third child, the one born right around the same time as the company, is Jeffery Crabb, Diamond C’s CEO. He’s the one leading the force now, Zaldivar says. 

“I think it was 2007, Jefferey stepped up and said he would like to run the company. We needed someone that had a little more than what Mike and I had to offer and to figure out next steps to keep growing or else be satisfied at where we were at,” Kim said. “Jefferey and his team are mainly over engineering, designing, the actual building of the trailers to make sure they’re quality top product and making sure we’re staying ahead of the game to make our product better and better with each change.” 

The next generation

Their youngest son, Jacob, joined the company a few years later and is now the Executive Vice President of Brand for the company. Jacob is over branding, marketing, and sales and Kim says he really ran with the role and has taken the company to another level.

“He has been our VP of sales and then he turned into more the marketing ambassador. He is the face to our brand,” Zaldivar said. “He's a huge part of our marketing and he’s the one that leads it. He’s what you call a trailer nerd. You search #trailernerd and he’s going to come up. He knows it all.”

Jacob’s knowledge and accomplishments have gotten industry attention. At the 2023 NATM Convention & Trade Show in Forth Worth, Texas, he was awarded the Outstanding Young Professional Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of young individuals in the trailer manufacturing industry.

“It's so funny because if you ask Jacob … he didn’t even tell anyone that he got that award until after,” Zaldivar said. “That's what I’m really super impressed by with the family is that even though they know that everybody is watching them on social media, everybody's acknowledging them, it’s not about him. He’s like, why me? There are so many other awesome people.”

Kim says being able to work with both of her boys has been a huge blessing. It’s her favorite part of her job.

“I’m just so proud of them and the achievements and accomplishments they’ve taken to company to. To me, that’s the biggest achievement and accomplishment, to see both the boys being in the business working together, because they are as different as day and night,” Kim said. “I have two daughters that are older and sometimes, in a way, I wish they were in the business. I know you can get too many involved and it not work as well, but just watching them and watching what they’re creating here and watching it unfold – it’s wonderful.”

The Crabbs are the founders but also the heart and soul of the company. The company’s core values are summed up in the motto “Do Work, Love Strong.” Kim says Jeffery pitched the motto to them as representing Kim and Mike.

“He said, I think it’s a beautiful picture of you two because dad, Mike, was always the workaholic. He was always the one trying to come up with new designs trying to lead the company to make sure there’s a quality product out there that anybody would be happy to own,” Kim said. “And then back on my side, it’s definitely. I, in turn, wanted to share money with our team members. I want them to be able to grow and have a good living for their families. And then, turn around and show our community that not only do we love our team members, we love our community too. We want the community to be able to say, Diamond C is there for us too in supporting our community, in supporting non-profits.”

the importance of core values

Zaldivar says it boils down to the company being a business and they have work to do, but taking care of people at the same time. 

“We very much believe in our core values and our fundamentals. We live by those. Every meeting has to start with a fundamental,” Zaldivar said. “Today’s fundamental was ‘speak straight,’ so we talked about the importance of speaking straight in the workplace, and what it does to you, how it harms if we don’t do that well as leaders.”

Diamond C’s CFO, Jeff Weaver, is another company member very familiar with the company’s values. He’s even part owner of the company and thus works very closely with the Crabbs. Working closely with the family as well as the numbers, Kim says he’s well aware of their passion for charitable giving. 

“Of course, the CFO knows we want to give back when they go to do budgeting, and of course it’s in Jefferey and Jacob’s hearts too,” Kim said. “I want us to be sure that, within reason, we budget enough to be able to generously give and help others.” 

Keeping giving back, their fundamentals, and their core values at the forefront of every aspect of the company is important to the Crabbs. It’s the whole reason they brought Zaldivar on and developed the department she oversees. 

“I was hired as the HR manager and as the company has grown, we just recently started a department called culture and leadership. I am directing that right now,” Zaldivar said. “My job is very much to make sure that we grow leaders within Diamond C and we also make sure that we support them. We are very intentional about helping them develop not only as leaders of Diamond C but also outside in our community and maintain our culture because companies grow and they forget the purpose of why they even started to begin with. And it’s to really love and serve people to fuel the growth of our community. Not only here, but we’re looking at 800 families that are all across this area so that’s thousands and thousands of people we affect. I'm very much a part of making sure our culture stays alive.”

The Diamond C Family Fund (DCFF)

Just as the company rose out of necessity, so did its support programs. The Diamond C Family Fund (DCFF) didn’t exist until Zaldivar and the Crabbs were made aware that it was needed. 

“I'm really proud to say that they gave me the opportunity to turn a dream into a reality. It makes me super pumped to see it come to fruition. We had a situation that was really disheartening for one of our welders. His daughter was born with some really, really, really difficult health issues and we noticed that he was missing more than normal. That was not like him and then when we found out that he was traveling every single day to Dallas Children’s to be with his daughter who was born with something life-threatening,” Zaldivar said.  He finally came to me and told me, ‘I need help,’ and I realized that Diamond C didn’t have an emergency fund of any sort.” 

“A group of people got together and said, hey, we’ll use materials left over if Diamond C will donate. We’ll stay after hours on our own time and build a trailer and raffle it. That one event turned into a $13,000 fundraiser, and we handed over every single dollar to this gentleman and his family for surgery for his daughter,” Zaldivar said. 

The surgery was a success and she is doing well. Zaldivar says she still gets a card every year from the employee on his daughter’s birthday for her role in the fundraiser. This first fundraiser launched the DCFF. Employees submit an application to utilize the DCFF and applications are reviewed by a panel. 

“It’s really changed over the years. It started with just medical, only for medical reasons. We started looking to see really what the hardship was,” Zaldivar said. “My thing is it’s not about just handing over a check and saying here you go let me put a bandaid on your hardship. It’s very intentional about: What do we have in our community that will help this person never be in this place again? We don’t measure it by anything other than the fact that if we can make sure that person doesn’t have to come back to ask again, then we’ve done something right the first time.”

The DCFF opened the company’s eyes to other ways to lift employees up. Zaldivar comes from an education background so the logical next step for her was the Do Work, Love Strong Scholarship. 

“We awarded over $10,000 last year to different kids,” Zaldivar said. “That was huge for us. This year we’re hoping to make it bigger.”

The scholarship is open to employees’ kids or someone with a Diamond C tie, Zaldivar says. There’s no specific area of study they have to go into. They submit an application and have to demonstrate their passion and future plans. 

“We have, so far, not turned anyone away because we really, truly believe that they’re making the effort to apply and we want to help them,” Zaldivar said. “Even if it's not a lot, we can still help in some way, somehow.”

“From that stemmed the educational reimbursement program that we started a couple years ago,” Zaldivar said. “We have about seven people doing that right now. So, if you’re wanting to grow within the company, and you really, really want an opportunity to grow professionally, we want to help.”

The educational reimbursement program is for current employees. They can work toward a higher-education degree and as long as they maintain a 3.0 grade point average, Diamond C will reimburse them for tuition, books, etc. 

“Hopefully, pretty soon we’ll have a young lady who will finish up her bachelor's in accounting,” Zaldivar said. “She’s so excited. She’s a mother of two kids and it makes me choke up because she was my former student. It's a huge deal because if we wouldn’t have given her that chance, I don’t think she would have ever gone back to college. For me, it's huge because she’s pregnant and she’s going to give her kids the opportunity to see (her be) a first-generation college student graduate. It's huge for us as an organization.”

“Mike and I never dreamed in a million years we’d be at this point right now, ever. All we hoped is that we had a good company. That we built a good product. That we could feed our family and raise our kids decently and provide a good living for the team members working here,” Kim said. “We just wanted good for our team members. It would always make me feel good when I see them like, buy a new vehicle or something like that. I just felt like we’re paying them good, they’re working for us, and I just felt so proud of them being able to better themselves too.”

Personal and educational development is a recurring theme when diving into Diamond C’s programs. As a Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas partner, they regularly visit and support job fairs. Diamond C also has started its own program in partnership with Mount Pleasant High School. The school’s top welders come to Diamond C shops to get training and work on their own projects. 

“We go through a curriculum teaching them from the very beginning stage from when you get the call that says you sold that trailer all the way through the actual blueprints, putting the pieces together, the whole process,” Zaldivar said. “Then they’re able to design their own trailer, go to one of our drafting guys and they teach them how they’re going to draft it. Then, they have to go and take those blueprints and build the trailer as an end-of-the-year school project.”

The students present their custom-designed trailer to school staff and their parents. But that’s just the start of the day. Upon completion of the program, the students are offered full-time welding positions at Diamond C and they get to celebrate a signing day as well. 

“Last year we signed on three kids, two of which are still here with us today, even almost a year later,” Zaldivar said. “One of them went off to college, but two of them are still here.”

“Do Work, Love Strong” doesn’t stop with just Diamond C’s employees or those close to them. Employees purchased 8,339 school supplies that were donated to Communities in Schools, which helps local schools and students with low economic resources. They also racked up over 140 hours of community service in just one month. 

The program Zaldivar is most proud of is its partnership with Hope Ministries, which is an organization based in Mount Pleasant to support single mothers as well as seniors. Zaldivar says the company was able to purchase about $15,000 worth of Christmas presents this past year. 

“We bring them to Diamond C. We host a dinner for them, for the kids, the moms, and the elderly. We have a bingo area for them,” Zaldivar said. “We put the mothers downstairs and the kids upstairs. The kids are partnered with a Diamond C team member and they wrap gifts for their mamas. The moms wrap gifts for the kids. And when I say they get everything they asked for, they get everything they asked for.”

Diamond C loads all the wrapped gifts up, put them on a trailer, and delivers them. The families are able to have their own Christmas at home. 

Mount Pleasant Titus County Chamber of Commerce Business Award

Other organizations think Diamond C is doing great things too. They won the Mount Pleasant Titus County Chamber of Commerce Business Award in 2022. This accolade, like most else the company does, was a family affair. 

“They give out that award of the Chamber of Commerce banquet. Half the town goes and they give out business of the year, and citizen of the year, and the lifetime achievement award. They tell you the story of the person or business without telling you who it is so everyone’s sitting around guessing who it's going to be.”

About two days before the banquet, Kim says Jefferey told her he and his wife were going. And then the day of the banquet, Jacob asks if they have any chairs left at their table because he and his wife wanted to go too. 

“I should have known something was up,” Kim said. “Jefferey and Jacob, neither one cares about going to the Chamber banquet. I give them a hard time all the time.”

“They weren’t supposed to know and by accident, both boys found out. So at the end of the day, I’m the only one who didn’t know. So we go, and they start telling the story. I don’t think they’d even said two lines and I knew it was Diamond C,” Kim said. “I looked at Jacob and he had his back to me, so I turned around and looked at Jefferey and he just smiled and then I’m just crying. The Chamber had called my whole family, my daughters, and all my grandkids to be there, so it was such a nice sweet surprise.”

As for what’s next – this laundry list of programs is still only the beginning. Zaldivar says she and Kim talk a lot about these programs and what’s next. She says the bottom line for Kim and ultimately the company is it's not all about making money. You give because you have.

“We’re hoping to start a foundation one day. I look forward to those things. It’s our mission. Our purpose is to fuel the growth and success of team members, our community, our customers,” Zaldivar said. “Every dealer that buys from Diamond C – what does their community look like? How can we help them? We’re starting with the things we're doing here in the hopes that our dealers will do the same in their community. Start a scholarship opportunity for your people. Start something great.”

Diamond C Trailer Mfg., Inc. has been a member of NATM since 1995. Learn more about them at www.diamondctrailers.com.

To submit article ideas or your own membership stories, contact Tracks Editor Samantha Darling LaCount.