Rosenbauer South Dakota began as Lyons Garage, a modest welding and vehicle repair business in the mid-1970's owned by Harold and Helen Boer. After Harold became chief of the Lyons Volunteer Fire Department, he was asked to equip an old army surplus truck into a firetruck. This project led to other communities requesting him to build firetrucks for them. As more local department's trucks were completed, the business gained a reputation for quality workmanship.
In 1982, Lyons Garage incorporated into Central States Fire Apparatus setting the course to become a very successful fire apparatus manufacturer. In less than five years, the company was producing 50 trucks annually. Central States Fire developed a dealer network sales model which, greatly expanded its reach outside of the upper plains. Firetrucks from Lyons were being shipped across the country. Harold and Helen grew the business steadily resisting the temptation to over-expand and over-hire to protecting against the volatile economy of the 1980's. At the core of the Boer's approach to business their commitment to taking care of their customer's needs and always treating them as they would want to be treated.
The 1990's brought increasing sales growth as they continued to win more business through hard work and standing behind their products. During this period Harold & Helen formed a relationship with another fire apparatus manufacturer based in Minnesota what was then General Safety Fire Equipment now Rosenbauer Minnesota. Midway through the 90's, thoughts of protecting the business long-term became a focus for the Boer's and similarly for the owners of Rosenbauer Minnesota. In 1994 Rosenbauer International A.G,. and family owned and operated fire apparatus manufacturer based in Leonding, Austria initiated an effort to seek partnerships with North American fire apparatus manufacturers. Rosenbauer International was becoming one of the world's largest suppliers of fire and emergency response vehicles. The potential partnership would lead to technological exchanges and in a controlled manner building the Rosenbauer brand name in the North American market.
The Boer's researched for the best option to solidify the longevity of their South Dakota operations. In 1998, Central States Fire officially joined Rosenbauer International A. G. and General Safety Fire Equipment to form for the first time Rosenbauer America as it is known today. At the time of the agreement Central States Fire was active 32 states, the new partnership brought together the two U.S. based manufacturer's dealers into one group forming a truly nationwide sales network.
Now, formally Rosenbauer America, the three partners began bidding large contracts outside of the US. Business success was quickly realized as contracts for large contracts were awarded. By 2003 the volume of orders destined for export grew so dramatically, a product export coordinator was hired to navigate the complex regulations. Today, Rosenbauer South Dakota has more than 2000 units in-service on the Arabian peninsula. The transition from local, to national to international fire apparatus manufacturer has never changed the Boer's commitment to their customers or products.
As demand for their products increased steadily, the company's footprint in Lyons expanded from small 1970's corner gas station over the course of forty years grown to 21 acres with a total of 10 buildings. The production floor capacity includes 177,500 sq. ft. Rosenbauer South Dakota utilizes all state-of-the art manufacturing methods and equipment. The facilities in Lyons now produces an estimated 700 vehicles per year including pumpers, aerials, rescues, tankers, industrial, wildland and specialty vehicles for medical simulation education.
In July of 2016, Harold & Helen Boer retired from day-to-day operations of the South Dakota business. The Rosenbauer America Board of Directors, named Scott Oyen, Chief Executive Officer of Rosenbauer South Dakota, to succeed Harold's forty-one year tenure as company CEO. Harold retained the position of President of the Rosenbauer America and Helen serves as the corporate Secretary.