When you climb to the top tier of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, or attend the annual rivalry of St. X vs. Trinity, you may not realize as you take your seat that you are sitting on one of the best kept secrets in Louisville. Dant Clayton, a designer and manufacturer of stadium seating, is a local company that has not only created seating for a host of local venues across Louisville and the state, but is considered the resident expert for stadium and arena seating across the country.
“Historically, Dant Clayton has been known as a manufacturer of seating solutions and bleachers, but what Dant is truly exceptional at is understanding customers, and solving problems using our engineering, design and understanding of structural systems,” said Jonathan O’Leary, Dant Clayton’s Vice President of Sales.
O’Leary said building or renovating a stadium for example, is highly complex. “As our customer, you’re going to be concerned with seat revenue, the flow of how people come in and out, the fan experience, sightlines, and just how great of an experience a sports fan will have at that particular venue. At Dant Clayton, we have the skill set and specialization to really help a client understand all those moving pieces. We then design the full solution to help their project come in on time and achieve their goals. On top of that, we then manufacture those solutions right here in Louisville, deliver them and install them. It’s really the complete package,” said O’Leary.
“People may think of us only as manufacturing company and we are, but where we provide the most value to our clients is front-end design and engineering. We have the foremost experts in the field right here in Louisville,” added O’Leary.
Dant Clayton’s campus, located on Bernheim Lane in Southwestern Jefferson County, consists of 350,000 square feet of production space, spanning 25 acres. Next to the Corporate Office, the two state-of-the-art production plants process millions of pounds of steel and aluminum each year. There is also a facility in Fishers, just outside of Indianapolis. Founded in 1979 by owner and chairman Bruce Merrick, the company, which now employs 182 people, has been focused on the future of the industry since its inception.
Dant Clayton’s website says that their “main goal has been to improve the stadium and bleacher industry like no other company ever has. Through our commitment to innovation, and by following our four C’s (cooperation, collaboration, competence, and coordination), we’ve forged our place as the best in the world at designing, manufacturing, fabricating, and installing bleacher and stadium systems.”
Kimberly Rosado, Purchasing Manager, a 24-year veteran, said that beyond Dant Clayton’s broad knowledge, the company has an exceptional and seasoned sales force. “They know our products inside and out, and we bend over backwards to give them what they really need,” she said.
In her more than two decades with the company, Rosado said she’s seen the workforce double in size, and the work the company engages in become increasingly sophisticated. “I’ve seen this develop and grow. We have become innovators in our industry, and we have adapted and innovated the seating industry to where it is today.” For Dant Clayton, it is paying off. The company was recently named one of Business First’s Fast Fifty companies.
Just a snapshot of the list of Louisville projects Dant Clayton has touched is impressive and familiar: Besides St. X and Trinity, high school football stadiums at Eastern, Butler, Fern Creek and North Oldham, just to mention a few.
Notable state and regional venues include University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky as well as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Vice President O’Leary said Dant’s innovative environment is what attracted him to the company, and to relocate his family from Michigan. “I’ve come from major Fortune 500 companies and I’ve worked globally,” he said. “I’ve been so highly impressed with Dant Clayton; the sophistication and the thoughtfulness: from how the teams are put together, to the openness and collaboration, to the level of expertise and professionalism that exists. Bruce Merrick has created a really unique environment where professionals across different functions thrive,” said O’Leary.
Project engineer David Miller, who has been with the company a year and a half, said that he is excited to be starting his career at a company that “feels like a family. Part of the best-kept secret of Dant Clayton,” said Miller, “is the work environment. On the Louisville side, it’s great how many people we employ here, from welders and project managers to engineers and sales. Although we all come from different backgrounds, we are all under the same roof,” he said. “From my perspective, the company does a great job at sharing the same vision that they promote.”
Kimberly Rosado agrees. “Whether you’re a plant employee or an office employee or an installer, you’re all the same. Everybody is valued here.”
Join the Dant Clayton team
If you would like to work for a solid company that has been revolutionizing the stadium and bleacher industry for nearly 40 years, send them an email. For more information about the company, visit www.stadiumbleachers.com.
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