June 27, 2014
Three generations of the McLaughlin family joined Lt Governor Kim Reynolds and other dignitaries to break ground on a new 56,000 square foot addition to Scranton Manufacturing at mid-day on Wednesday. The entire Scranton Manufacturing workforce joined in celebrating the expansion and creation of 75 more jobs in the business.
Turning over the ceremonial first shovels of dirt were (from left) Scranton mayor and Scranton Manufacturing employee Rod Walker, Scranton Telephone Company general manager Sam Fengel, Greene county supervisor Guy Richardson, Lt Gov Kim Reynolds, executive vice president Johnathon McLaughlin, president Mike McLaughlin, chief executive officer John McLaughlin, and vice president of operations Jim Ober.
“This is about changing Scranton Manufacturing,” explained Jim Ober, vice president of operations. “It’s about who we are and where we are today.”
John McLaughlin founded the company on the Main Street of Scranton in 1971, building livestock feeders, gates, corrals and other products. He related some of the problems that could have taken the company down at least five times, but each time a challenge arose, the work force dug in and met the challenges to emerge stronger.
“Twenty-five years ago, this was a corn field,” said McLaughlin, making reference to the current facility just west of Scranton. “This is our field of dreams.”
When the firm faced adversity during the farm crisis in the 1980s, the McLaughlins ventured into the construction of garbage trucks, working a deal with the owner of New Way who taught them how to build the machines.
McLaughlin pointed with pride as the business has the longest tenure of family ownership in this type of business.
He explained the business strategy as the five “Ps”: product, people, principles, persistence and prayer.
McLaughlin gave special recognition to the Greene County board of supervisors, Iowa Economic Development, Scranton Telephone Company, USDA, Region XII Council of Governments, Greene County Development Corporation, the city of Scranton, Chad Schreck and Midwest Partnership, Greene County Chamber ambassadors and the employees of the firm.
The new construction will be about 160 feet by 350 feet on the north side of the current structure where 75 new jobs will be created in assembly, painting and wiring.
“It’s about people,” concluded McLaughlin. “We’ve got our competitors pissed off.”
Reynolds chimed in, “That’s how we do it in rural Iowa.”
She noted the importance of manufacturing, particularly in keeping young people in rural communities, stressing that 79 percent of business growth comes from existing businesses in Iowa.
“It’s a great day for Greene County and Iowa,” praised Reynolds, saluting the creation of 75 jobs. She also highlighted the importance of the family-owned business with the third and fourth generation involvement.
Construction on the new facility is expected to begin as soon as possible with completion scheduled in late fall of this year.
Total cost of the building project is about$2.6 million. USDA Rural Development awarded a $1 million Rural Economic Development loan to Scranton Telephone Company, which will then pass on the loan funding to Scranton Manufacturing to assist with the project.
Under this program, USDA provides zero-interest loans to utilities that lend funds to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment in rural areas. ~courtesy of the Scranton Journal