Reynolds joins Scranton Manufacturing in ground-breaking
International refuse-truck manufacturer plans to add 75 jobs
By DOUGLAS BURNS | THE JEFFERSON HERALD
Scranton, Iowa - Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, saying family-owned rural manufacturing is churning success across Iowa, helped Scranton Manufacturing, an international refuse vehicle developer, break ground Wednesday afternoon on a 56,000-square-foot expansion in Greene County that is projected to add 75 jobs.
The Scranton Manufacturing workforce is expected to increase to about 300 people with the new hires. Construction on the addition should be complete in September with operations functional by the end of the year, said Jim Ober, vice president of operations for Scranton Manufacturing.
"This is about changing Scranton Manufacturing," Ober said, adding that the development would improve the company's standing in the industry, while boosting the local economy.
Reynolds said the Scranton story is part of a broader picture of manufacturing in rural Iowa.
"It's fantastic to see another family-owned business rapidly growing in this state," Reynolds said.
She said 79 percent of business growth comes from existing operations in Iowa.
"It is a great day for Greene County and the State of Iowa," Reynolds said.
Ober said the addition would be connected to work in assembly, wiring and painting.
The majority of the employees will be in Scranton. But about 40 of the 300 people in the Scranton Manufacturing workforce will be in Carroll, up from 28 today, Ober said. Scranton Manufacturing has a 40,000-square-foot facility in Carroll with space to expand to 60,000 square feet.
The company started in 1971 when John McLaughlin and his brother and friend began repairing farm equipment in a building on Main Street in Scranton.
"This is our field of dreams," McLaughlin said. "We built it, and they did come."
When the farm crisis hit in the early 1980s, Scranton Manufacturing purchased Des Moines-based garbage-truck manufacturer New Way® and moved its operations to Scranton.
"We have continued to expand over the years," McLaughlin said.
Under Scranton Manufacturing's leadership, the New Way® Company sells throughout the United States, Mexico, China, South America, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Philippines and Europe.
McLaughlin said the company is focused on five "P's" - product, people, principles, persistence and prayer.
"If it had not been for all of those people praying for our company, we would not be here today," McLaughlin said.
He said he could think of fives times when the company almost failed.
But it didn't. And three generations of McLaughlins were on the stage with Reynolds to celebrate the groundbreaking: McLaughlin, his son, Michael, president of the company, and the founder's grandson, Johnathon, executive vice president.
"We're proud of that family heritage," John McLaughlin said.
Ober said the company has more property in Scranton in that additional infrastructure development may occur. More growth in Carroll also is possible, he said.
Staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development office helped Scranton Manufacturing Co. Inc. celebrate the groundbreaking. Rural Development recently awarded a $1 million Rural Economic Development Loan (REDL) to Scranton Telephone Co., which will then pass 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.
"We are very pleased to be participating in this exciting project that will provide tremendous economic-development opportunities for Scranton and the surrounding communities," said Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development state director in Iowa.
"We are proud to be investing in the infrastructure of the rural economy by providing funds to local partners to have broad economic impacts."
The total cost of the building project will be around $2.6 million.
"Helping create jobs and expand economic opportunity for rural small businesses are top priorities at USDA," Menner added. "USDA Rural Development financing programs can play an important role supporting rural communities in a multitude of ways."
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $3 billion on essential public facilities, small and emerging businesses, water and sewer systems, and housing opportunities for Iowa families.