A Killeen business that rebuilt and manufactured large diesel trucks for the Defense Department is entering the civilian sector with a fire truck geared to fight wildfires.
Kyrish Government Group, a 21-man operation in the Killeen Business Park, used to remanufacture large Defense Department trucks.
But with fewer deployments, soldiers now do that work, so Kyrish began to remanufacture other large vehicles, said Duane Kyrish, president of the company.
As military spending was cut, the business model changed again.
“As the Defense Department scaled back, we had to start looking for other opportunities,” Kyrish said. “We started with local municipalities some years ago with remanufacturing ... but we really wanted to put (our work) on a new chassis.”
The company is an authorized dealer for International Trucks and equipped several with its firefighting apparatus.
“There is a lot of need for these trucks in the market,” Kyrish said.
There are more than 800 fire departments in Texas — all potential customers.
Working with all areas of government isn’t new, Kyrish said. For several years, the company rebuilt older diesel trucks for fire departments and is currently working on some from Kansas and California.
It remanufactured about 30 Texas Department of Transportation trucks and several from Austin-based Centex Ready Mix.
“The method of which we do business is all based on government guidelines, and that is what we are good at,” said Andy Rice, Kyrish’s general manager in Killeen.
Kyrish’s wildland brush truck will be different from the remanufactured vehicles because the chassis ordered from International Trucks is new. Kyrish then adds the firefighting equipment to it.
“When a Kyrish BrushMaster arrives on a station it can, based on our design, stay at location and fight fires longer than our current market competitors,” stated a release from the company.
Killeen is a good place to base the operation, which also sells parts and rebuilds engines, because it is centrally located, Rice said.
“We are bringing in business from around the nation and the globe,” Rice said. A recently delivery went to Fort Riley, Kan.
Kyrish said he is looking forward to continued success of the company.
“I guess you have to adapt or you will fail,” he said. “We are fortunate that we have been able to adapt.”