Industrial companies in Longview give tours as part of ‘Big Techs Industry’ event

East Texas tour groups had the chance to see how technology and production come together today as part of the “Big Techs Industry Tour” taking place in Longview
Published: Feb. 25, 2023 at 2:14 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - East Texas tour groups had the chance to see how technology and production come together today.

The event was called the “Big Techs Industry Tour,” and it took place in Longview. It was an opportunity for people to see AAON’s expanded facilities and technology that help make Longview work.

“Today, we’re opening up the doors to let the public come in to see our facility, see what we build,” said AAON Representative James Velde. “It educates people on what we do, and at this facility in Longview, we build from 2- to 70-ton HVAC equipment.”

AAON produces rooftop units, air handling units, condensing units and HVAC controls.

“We produce about 10 million dollars a month out of this facility alone,” Velde said.

For those on the tour, it was an eye-opening experience into the vast technology that’s used here. Groups got to see the company’s “lazer” cutting technology in action.

“I thought it was pretty interesting, especially the part with the lasers. I had no idea they used aluminum,” said tour member Francisca Moreno.

The tours are part of Industry Appreciation Month, a collaborative effort of the Longview Economic Development Corporation, Longview Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and Longview-area industries.

“You’ll get to see our sheet metal machines, which are Salvanini’s, which are out of Italy, which are one-man operations. Takes raw material, cuts it, forms it — without anybody every touching it,” said Velde.

“I’m retired, and I’m thinking I would love to work here as a maintenance person,” said Tyler visitor Bill Faber. “I see all that equipment, and that’s what I used to do as maintenance.”

Participants had a little virtual fun too.

“We have our mobile experience trailer,” Velde said. “It set units on rooftops with helicopters. Pretty exciting.”

Three tours of the facility were all booked today.

AAON employee James Velde talks about how the tours help people understand how big operations and technology work.