The Swanton Welding Family will lead the Christmas in Swanton Parade on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The parade theme is Christmas Around the World and will include the Swanton and Delta High School Marching Bands, floats from area businesses and organizations, and Santa Claus.
“We wanted to honor the Zeiter Family for the many generous contributions they have made to the Swanton community over the years, particularly The Christmas in Swanton event,” said Mike Rochelle, Christmas in Swanton chairperson. “When I contacted Norm, he agreed to accept the honor of grand marshal as long as we’d name the whole Swanton Welding family as such. After a decade or so of knowing the Zeiter family, I expected that type of response. Credit for whatever they do is always shared with the entire team.”
Swanton Welding was started by Norm’s maternal grandfather, George Kern, in 1956. In the beginning, he maintained his day job and worked on welding projects at night, mostly repairing equipment for area farmers. In 1985, George’s son-in-law, Norm D. Zeiter, bought the business from him.
Under Norm’s leadership, Swanton Welding thrived and grew through the 1990s and early 2000s to a 115-employee operation. They have expanded from the early days as a one-man welding business to a company with a footprint that includes six buildings in Swanton, a Pettisville location and a facility in Griffin, Ga.
The elder Zeiter passed away in 2014 and his son Norm E. Zeiter rose to the rank of President. “I feel lucky to have had two of the best men as mentors to prepare me for both business and life. My grandpa and my dad were loyal men who believed in helping wherever and whenever you can.”
Zeiter attributes the success of Swanton Welding to the skill of its people. “We have the greatest employees, a world-class workforce. We have been extremely blessed.”
Zeiter is pleased they are able to service the local economy and that of the Northwest Ohio region and even the world, with customers as far away as Russia, and is happy to call the Swanton-area home for his company,
“We love this area, this is home,” he said. “It has provided us many opportunities over the years. Swanton is a really special place.”
Zeiter believes that what makes Swanton Welding unique is the family atmosphere which he credits his mother and company owner, Connie, for instilling within the company. He says she continues to nurture the whole team, “She has a way of just taking care of everyone.”
Giving back to the community has been a company philosophy since the beginning, a practice that started with founder George Kern and his wife Shirley. Zeiter recalls that his father, like his grandparents, was a selfless person and continued a culture of giving within the company.
Zeiter, who has three children with his wife Sarrah, sees family and community support as the most integral part of Swanton Welding’s longevity and success.
“From my grandma Shirley supporting my grandfather in starting this to the families of the people who work with us now, we are all one big family taking care of each other,” he said. “And this community; this community has given us so much. We are just really thankful.”
A close-knit workforce, the Swanton Welding team recently experienced a tragedy in the loss one of their shop managers, Tim Hamlet. They will honor and remember Tim and celebrate Christmas in Swanton as a tribute to him and his family.