“Made in the USA” is a badge of honor proudly borne by the products of the American manufacturing sector. Did you know that many of those “Made in the USA” goods are produced right here in Boone County?
Mid-Missouri factories are humming along in the CoMo economy, pumping out the goods Americans want and need: everything from air filters to parking brakes to plastic pipes to hot dogs — and a whole lot more.
Let’s take a look inside the factories of Boone County and get an answer to the burning question: What do you make in there?
5400 Route B
Plant Manager: Dale Tidemann (arrived Sept. 1)
Born out of a failed mining venture in 1902, the company once known for sandpaper, fabric protection and cellophane tape has grown into one of the most diverse manufacturers in the world, producing more than 60,000 products from multiple operations in 35 U.S. states and more than 70 countries. For 45 years, the innovations of 3M Corp. have been taking shape in the company’s north Columbia plant, where more than 250 work at producing medical devices, electronic components, solar films, pharmaceutical purification equipment and electronic display films.
“Technology and science have been at the core of our manufacturing site,” says former plant manager Bill Moore, who recently became a manufacturing manager with 3M. “We make products for health care, food safety, pharmaceutical devices, solar energy, electronics and specialty markets.”
The 3M Columbia plant operates five focus factories supporting several company divisions, working with 19 distinct 3M technologies and using advanced disruptive technologies such as vacuum processing, automated assembly and polymer processing. 3M Columbia employees are highly skilled at molding, Moore says. Workers employ fast robotics and often work in cleanrooms to manufacture very clean, precise, highly regulated products. www.3m.com
AMERICAN AIR FILTER
2100 Nelwood Drive
Plant Manager: Neil Bowers
Located in Columbia since 1978, the 200 employees at American Air Filter produce high-efficiency ASHRAE filters used in HVAC applications and buildings; HEPA filters used in commercial and industrial applications such as hospitals and the food and beverage industry; HEPA and ULPA filters for microelectronic and pharmaceutical cleanrooms; and HEPA filters used in nuclear power plant applications. Filters manufactured at the Columbia facility are in use around the world.
The Columbia plant, which opened a state-of-the-art cleanroom in May 2014, is one of two AAF locations certified by the International Organization for Standardization.
AAF began as Reed Air Filter Co. in 1921 when company founder Bill Reed produced his first filter in Louisville, Ky. A 1929 merger with seven other companies formed American Air Filter. Today, AAF maintains operations in 22 countries with more than 3,000 employees worldwide. In 2006, the company was acquired by Daikin Industries Ltd., a diversified international manufacturing company based in Osaka, Japan. www.aafintl.com
2400 LeMone Industrial Blvd.
Plant Manager: Scott Wright
Dana is a leading supplier of highly engineered driveline, sealing and thermal-management technologies for passenger vehicles, commercial trucks and off-highway equipment. In Columbia, Dana’s 70 employees assemble light-vehicle axles for major original-equipment manufacturers, including Ford, General Motors and Nissan. The local facility, which opened in 1988, is one of nearly 100 Dana facilities worldwide.
The Columbia plant was recognized at this year’s Ford World Excellence Awards with a Gold Award, which honors supplier manufacturing sites that have demonstrated superior quality, delivery and cost performance throughout the year.
Dana traces its roots back to 1904 and Clarence Spicer’s invention of the first practical universal joint, which replaced chain-and-sprocket drives to transmit power. Spicer Manufacturing Co. was renamed Dana Corp. in 1946 to recognize company President Charles Dana’s 32 years of leadership. www.dana.com
ENGINEERED PLASTIC COMPONENTS
4000 Waco Road
Plant Manager: Dave Arnold
The 84 employees at Engineered Plastic Components produce instrument panels for luxury passenger vehicles, utilizing cast skin, vacuum forming, urethane foaming and laser etching of the skin for air bags. The plant is also capable of injection molding.
Owner and President Reza Kargarzadeh founded EPC in 1994 with four injection-molding presses. Headquartered in Grinnell, Iowa, EPC now operates 13 facilities in Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama and Mexico. EPC opened its Columbia plant in 2007 when it purchased the Waco Road property from bankrupt automotive parts manufacturer Collins & Aikman. www.epcmfg.com
ENVIRONMENTAL DYNAMICS INTERNATIONAL
5601 Paris Road
Plant Manager: Clint Barrett
Founded in Columbia by engineer Charles Tharp 40 years ago, EDI designs and manufactures products for the treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater, and provides aeration equipment for treatment facilities. The Columbia headquarters employs 105; the company maintains offices and/or smaller production facilities in the United Kingdom; France; Germany; Mumbai and Goa, India; Singapore; Japan; and Shenzhen and Beijing, China.
EDI claims success in more than 6,000 installations in nearly 100 countries across all seven continents, a track record that earned the company the E Award and E Star Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce for excellence in exporting. The company’s aeration equipment is running in the world’s largest wastewater plant in China. www.environmentaldynamics.com
3015 LeMone Industrial Blvd.
Plant Manager: Tim Albers
Gates is the world’s leading manufacturer of power transmission belts and fluid power products. The company supplies components to the automotive, agricultural, energy and other heavy industries. The 128 employees at the Columbia plant operate a materials center, producing cord and rubber predominantly for Gates belts. The belts are used in automotive products, agricultural equipment, ATVs, Harley-Davidson motorcycles and others.
Gates has been in Columbia for 14 years. The Denver-based company began in 1911 when Charles Gates founded The Colorado Tire and Leather Co. Six years later, his brother, John, invented the V-belt for automotive power transmissions. The 1946 development of the first synchronous belt cemented the reputation of the company that became known as Gates Rubber Co. Today, the company employs 14,000 at 106 locations in 30 countries. In 1996, Gates Corp. became part of the industrial and automotive group within Tomkins PLC, a London-based global engineering firm. www.gates.com
6400 N. Brown Station Road
Plant Manager: Jesse Fitzgerald
Honeywell’s Columbia plant produces industrial lubricants made of polyethylene waxes that aid in processing polyvinyl chloride products such as pipes, conduits and siding for homes. The lubricants influence the way PVC melts and flows during processing, affecting energy consumption, melt pressure, dispersion of fillers and pigments, and gelation of the PVC. Honeywell is the world’s first commercial manufacturer of low molecular weight polyolefin polymers that go into high-quality PE waxes specifically designed to meet the various requirements of PVC processors.
The Columbia plant employs 30. The Brown Station Road facility was originally the site of an annex for plastic pipe manufacturer Extrusion Technologies Inc. next-door until PVC lubricant producer Rheochem purchased the building in 1991. Honeywell acquired Rheochem in 2000. In its first eight years, the Columbia Honeywell plant produced 1 billion pounds of wax lubricants, enough to make 100 billion pounds of PVC pipes that, if connected end-to-end, would stretch to the moon and back! www.honeywell.com
HUBBELL POWER SYSTEMS
210 N. Allen St., Centralia
Business Unit Directors:
John Bliven (Civil Products and Construction Products);
Mike Becktell (Safety Products)
Hubbell’s Centralia facility produces earth anchors, pole line hardware, hot line tools and grounding equipment for utilities. The site includes three HPS divisions — civil construction and safety products — employing more than 700. Products manufactured here are found in power transmission and distribution structures, and used in construction for the telecommunications, transportation, and oil and gas industries. Civil construction products are used for residential, commercial or industrial foundation construction and remediation.
The facility on Allen Street is the original home of Boone County’s oldest manufacturer, A.B. Chance Co. Albert Bishop Chance founded his company in 1907; his invention of the earth anchor after a 1912 ice storm downed his telephone company’s poles became the worldwide standard for stabilizing utility poles. By the mid-20th century, A.B. Chance was the largest private employer in Boone County, producing up to 400 different products. Hubbell Inc., an international manufacturer of electrical and electronic products, acquired Chance in 1994 and established the Hubbell Power Systems platform, which now operates in 17 locations around the world and produces thousands of different products to support the electric utility and construction markets. A line of Hubbell’s utility and construction products carries the Chance brand. www.hubbellpowersystems.com
6500 N. Brown Station Road
Plant Manager: Sherman Deardeuff
The 35 to 40 employees of JM Eagle’s Columbia plant produce polyvinyl chloride pipe by extrusion for the world’s largest plastic pipe manufacturer. The pipes are used in utility, irrigation, potable water and sewer applications. The plant manufactures pipe from 4 inches to 36 inches in diameter. Specialty products are biaxially oriented potable water pipe, dual-wall and ultra-rib corrugated sewer pipe.
The plant has operated in Columbia since the mid-1970s under successive company names of Extrusion Technologies, Uponor and PW Eagle. When PW Eagle and J-M Manufacturing merged in 2007, the company name changed to JM Eagle. Headquartered in Los Angeles, JM Eagle employs more than 1,000 in 20 manufacturing plants in the United States plus two plants in China. www.JMEagle.com
50 N. Rangeline Road
Satoshi Watanabe, vice president;
Keith Kelly, manufacturing department manager
If you drive a Japanese car, odds are you’re making use of its made-in-Columbia components. The Columbia OTSCON plant manufactures parking brakes — both foot and hand models — and brake pedals for Nissan Altima, Maxima, Titan, Frontier, Pathfinder, Leaf and Rogue; Honda Civic, CRV/RDX, Odyssey, MDX, Pilot and Acura T/L; Toyota Camry, Avalon and Lexus ES; and Subaru Legacy. Last year, the 210 workers in the two-shift plant turned out approximately 2.7 million units.
OTSCON began in 1988 as a joint sales venture between OKK Ltd. of Yokohama, Japan, and Orscheln Industries of Moberly. For five years, the company sold OKK and Orscheln products from its Detroit sales office. In 1993, OTSCON moved to mid-Missouri and began producing parts in a newly purchased building on Rangeline Road. OKK bought out Orscheln’s interest in the company in 1996 but kept the name, which is a combination of the two parent companies — OTS for Otsuka Koki and CON for a common suffix used by other Orscheln companies in the past. It is one of 10 companies owned by Otsuka Koki Ltd.
Over the past 22 years, OTSCON has grown from 38 employees to 210 and has made five additions to the original facility. www.otscon.com
SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC/SQUARE D
4800 Paris Road
Plant Manager: Lori Swiatek
Schneider Electric’s Columbia facility manufactures Square D branded low- and medium-voltage industrial circuit breakers in the PowerPact Series, Masterpact NT and Multi-9. Square D (established in 1902 as Detroit Fuse & Manufacturing) opened the Columbia plant in 1978; Schneider Electric acquired Square D in 1991.
The facility on Paris Road is Schneider’s designated Late Adaptation Center for Low Voltage circuit breaker manufacturing in North America. The 210 local employees work on a combination of benchtop and semi-automated assembly lines, utilizing smart bins and component traceability in its quality operating system. The facility achieved 5 million safe work hours in 2013 and was honored as Top Plant 2009 for plant engineering.
Schneider, a 179-year-old global company with 110 locations and 170,000 employees, has transformed from an iron and steel manufacturer of armaments, heavy machinery and ship building to electricity and automation management. An active acquisition strategy has brought more than 100 brands into its portfolio; global headquarters are in Paris. www.schneider-electric.com
WATLOW ELECTRIC MANUFACTURING CO.
2101 Pennsylvania Drive
2407 Big Bear Court
Director of Operations: Randy Schmitz
Watlow’s Pennsylvania Drive facility opened in 1979, and its Big Bear Court facility opened in 1998. The 400 Columbia-based team members currently manufacture silicone rubber, polyimide and ceramic fiber heaters. Many of the thermal components manufactured in the Columbia plants are embedded in other processes used in the semiconductor, life sciences, aerospace and telecommunications industries. If you use items with an embedded microchip, Watlow may have had a hand in producing that product. Watlow heaters are also common in the medical industry as a component in the process used to analyze the safety of blood.
The Columbia facility is one of nine manufacturing facilities and three technology centers in the United States, Mexico, Europe and Asia. Watlow also has sales offices in 15 countries around the world. Headquartered in St. Louis, the company employs 2,000 worldwide.
Founder Louis Desloge Sr. coined the term “Watlow” for his company name to express the low-wattage custom heating elements he began making for shoe manufacturers in 1922. The company holds more than 450 patents and boasts annual sales of $330 million. www.watlow.com
Fun With Food
Columbians’ manufacturing skills extend to the gastronomical realm as well. Currently, there are four food manufacturers in town.
KRAFT FOODS COLUMBIA
4600 Waco Road
Plant Manager: Matt Sims
For all those who have ever embraced the “I Wish I Were An Oscar Mayer Wiener” jingle, CoMo is the place to be. The Kraft Heinz plant in Columbia employs nearly 500 people who keep those hot dog supply lines running. The site began operation as a hot dog production facility in early 1986. The facility produces a variety of Oscar Mayer hot dogs including original, Selects, all-beef, turkey, light and more. The products ship to markets across the United States.
The Columbia plant is a longtime supporter of The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri. In 2011, as part of Kraft Foods Mobile Pantry program, the company donated a mobile pantry to the local food bank.
The recent merger of parent company Kraft Foods Group with H.J. Heinz Holding Corp. has created the No. 3 food and beverage company in the country (No. 5 in the world). Co-headquartered in Chicago and Pittsburgh, the newly merged company employs approximately 44,000 at operations in more than 45 countries.
In July, the Boone County Commission approved the Columbia Kraft plant’s request for Chapter 100 bonds to finance a $114 million expansion and receive tax abatements on the new 25,000-square-foot space and new equipment. The expansion, slated for 2017, will modernize production and lead to fewer jobs at the plant; the company says those jobs will be reduced through attrition. The expanded capacity in Columbia, Kraft Heinz says, will provide flexibility to the Oscar Mayer production network. The project is subject to Kraft Heinz approval. www.oscarmayer.com
PEPSICO/QUAKER OATS CO.
4501 Paris Road
Plant Manager: Rick Allio
The more than 300 employees of the Columbia Quaker Oats plant crank out mountains of rice cakes every day; in fact, it is the only plant in North America producing Quaker rice cakes. Production lines are capable of producing up to 13,000 rice cakes per minute.
Quaker Oats has operated the plant on Columbia’s north side since 1995. The Quaker Oats Co. is a 114-year-old conglomerate that produces cereals, snacks, pancake mix, rice and pasta mixes, cookies and drinks. In 2001, PepsiCo acquired Quaker Oats. www.quakeroats.com
1714 Commerce Court, Suite B
Plant Manager: Tony Miller
Born out of University of Missouri research, Beyond Meat’s chicken product is a remarkably realistic meat substitute created from vegetable protein.
MU bioengineers Fu-hung Hsieh and Harold Huff developed the nascent extrusion technology that attracted founder Ethan Brown’s attention. The three then worked closely for several years to refine that technology and develop a consumer product that looks and tastes very similar to chicken. MU licensed the technology for the Beyond Chicken product with the caveat that Beyond Meat make a capital investment in Missouri. In 2012, the Los Angeles-based company set up its production facility in Columbia, where it employs 40.
The plant produces Beyond Beef Crumbles, Beyond Chicken Strips, Beyond Chicken Tenders, Beyond Chicken Poppers, Beast Burgers and Sliders, Meatballs and Chicken Bits. Products are available in grocery stores nationwide; in Columbia, find them at Clovers Natural Market, Main Squeeze and Lucky’s. www.beyondmeat.com
START RIGHT FOODS
Brand-new startup Start Right Foods launched its high-protein, gluten-free frozen waffle in August with a tasting event at Hy-Vee. Working out of a commercial kitchen in Columbia, the company produces a dry waffle mix (add oil and water) and frozen varieties of blueberry, chocolate espresso and original Belgian waffles. Each 110-gram serving contains 15 grams of protein, one-third cup of fruits and vegetables, has no added sugar and is a good source of dietary fiber.
Entrepreneurs Clint Matthews and Kyle Rood teamed up with President Gene Gerke to found the company they developed earlier this year with assistance from the University of Missouri’s nutrition physiologist Heather Leidy and nutrition researcher Lana Merrick.
Both the mix and the frozen waffles are available in the health market aisles at Hy-Vee on Nifong Boulevard. The three founders hope to quickly expand to other area grocery stores. www.startrightfoods.com
Boone County manufacturers employ close to 3,500 people.
Local manufacturing wages average $54,690 annually.
Manufacturing makes up 5.4% of Columbia’s Gross Domestic Product.
Missouri manufacturing employment grew by 2.6% in 2014.