Streator High students go pro, sign with Vactor Manufacturing

Two graduating seniors will begin careers at city’s top employer

After signing letters of intent Tuesday, May 17, 2022, to work for Vactor Manufacturing, Keegan Emm (third from left) and Carson Trainor (fourth from left) pose for a photo with (left to right) Tim Hackathorn, paint supervisor at Vactor; Shayne Schuler, welding supervisor at Vactor; Matt Bouley, production manager at Vactor; and Chris Peterson, work program coordinator at Streator High School.

Signing Day has become synonymous across the country with big-time athletes at high schools committing to colleges for sports.

At Streator High School, Tuesday’s signing day took on new meaning, as two seniors Keegan Emm and Carson Trainor signed on to take positions making $25 per hour or more as a starting wage at Vactor Manufacturing, the city’s top employer.

This is the second signing day Vactor has conducted at Streator High — the first one was in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Streator High School senior Keegan Emm signs a letter to intent Tuesday, May 17, 2022, to work at Vactor Manufacturing, while (left to right) Shayne Schuler, welding supervisor at Vactor; Mark Emm, his father; and Katie Muntz, human resources manager, look on.

After working at Vactor for the past nine months through the high school’s work program, Emm accepted a position as a full-time welder.

“Keegan since day one has exceeded expectations,” said Shayne Schuler, welding supervisor at Vactor.

Schuler said Emm is the type to ask for other areas to help if he finishes tasks early and has a good head on his shoulder. Emm said he likes the independence working at Vactor.

“I can do my own thing and work with myself,” Emm said, noting he likes welding and is looking forward to getting paychecks that reflect more of a career salary.

Streator High School senior Carson Trainor signs his letter of intent Tuesday, May 17, 2022, to work at Vactor Manufacturing as (left to right) Tim Hackathorn, painting supervisor at Vactor; Rita Roman, his mother; Rene Barr, human resources generalist at Vactor; and Matt Bouley, production manager at Vactor, look on.

Trainor accepted a job in the paint department and will start in July, after he turns 18.

Trainor’s shift supervisor said Trainor loves overtime, follows instructions, gets along with everyone and has a lot of potential.

Sharing comments about Trainor from his co-workers, Paint Supervisor Tim Hackathorn said: “This one was my favorite, ‘if you don’t hire him, you’re a bunch of idiots.’ "

“I’m thankful for the opportunity and the great experience,” said Trainor, who also thanked work program coordinator Chris Peterson. “I’m looking forward to my new career, a new opportunity and I’m hopeful to expand it.”

Vactor HR Manager Katie Muntz said the company has had success hiring from Streator High’s co-op.

“We have a great pipeline between their trade programs,” Muntz said.