OWENSBORO, Ky. (3/27/13) – A custom metal fabrication shop located on the northwestern edge of Owensboro will double its building size and add new equipment that will allow it to compete for bids on a national level it currently cannot, owners Ray and Cheri Middleton told a group of Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce representatives who gathered for a ground breaking ceremony at their location on Medley Rd. this morning.
On-Time Fab, which builds custom handrails, stairs, industrial equipment, food-grade stainless steel materials, and other requested designs, recently secured a grant that will allow for the business expansion and additional hires. Cheri Middleton said On-Time Fab has already hired a few people toward the goal of hiring as many as 10 more workers, and that more hires are expected as the new addition to the building nears completion.
Ray Middleton said custom steel fabrication is a field he has worked in for years, and that the decision to open his own business came from a desire, as he put it, “to control my destiny.”
“But it turned out to be so much more,” he said. “It’s important to serve your community. Employees and their families count on you for the business.”
Cheri Middleton said putting the needs of their employees at the top of their priorities is one of the things she and her husband pride themselves on at their company. This includes, she explained, helping employees afford health insurance packages and other related needs.
“It’s hard to find skilled employees,” she said. “We hire people that have to take a job from start to finish. That’s why we have grown. We try to make sure we’re not getting the cheapest policies. That’s how we do business.”
With that, however, comes an expectation of hard work and commitment from employees. New recruits at the shop can continue in its apprentice program for up to six months before being hired on full-time. Ray Middleton said part of the apprentice process involves training time with managers before and after regular hour shifts, and taking care of various basic tasks in the facility.
“The earliest stage involves doing work no one else wants to do,” he said. “Those are the things we look for, people who follow directions and are self-motivated.”
Along with the business expansion, the business last week secured a no-interest loan from Daviess County Fiscal Court for up to approximately $70,000 for the purchase of a plasma table. Ray Middleton said the plasma table will allow the shop to cut steel at angles or in a particular shape in a way that is currently difficult to do with existing equipment.
“This will allow us to open up a market we have not been able to competitively bid on,” he said, as Cheri Middleton quickly added that it will also allow the company to reduce time on finishing projects which will in turn make them more competitive on pricing.
“We’ll be able to bid on national jobs and broaden the market,” she said.
The construction work is estimated to take several months to complete, but could be finished in as little as three if weather permits.
Photos provided by Dennis Beard
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