Crandon manufacturer to meet with President Trump Tuesday

CRANDON, WIS. (WSAW) A small business owner in Crandon will participate in a round table discussion with President Trump at the White House on Tuesday.

Kristina Pence-Dunow, President and CEO of Hometown Trolley, tells NewsChannel 7 a White House staffer called her Thursday and asked her to join the President and a group of small business owners to discuss small business hardships, struggles and the future of manufacturing.

Pence-Dunow, the only certified female transit vehicle manufacturer in the United States, said she couldn't turn down the opportunity.

"It's so unreal, it's hard to believe that I was selected to be included and go to the White House. What an honor and opportunity of a lifetime," said Pence-Dunow.

Hometown Trolley employs 57 people and builds rubber-tired trolley buses used for public and private tours of historic areas, universities and theme parks.

During the round table Pence-Dunow plans to talk about the capital growth struggles that small manufacturers face when competing with big businesses.

"In a big industry, I'm a small manufacturer, those are some of the limitations, taxes, insurance, a lot of the things every business owner is struggling with," said Pence-Dunow.

Hometown Trolley recently developed a modern propane-fueled trolley bus that is targeted for use in national parks.

The company just secured a 36-bus contract with Acadia National Park in Maine. Manufacturing will begin in November.

Based on the Acadia contract and the hope of future national park contracts, the company is in the middle of a two-phase expansion project.

The first phase includes the addition of about 20 jobs and the expansion of production space to accommodate the manufacturing of the propane-fueled trolleys.

Phase two will be implemented based on the success of the new trolleys.

"Once we build and market over the next two years, that product will pick up in volume and we hope to reach close to the one hundred mark in employees," said Pence-Dunow.