Best Job Shop In America?

While many companies lament the latest business burp to rationalize their cautious inertia, Dick Conrow and Rob Marr of C & A Tool Engineering, Inc. in Churubusco, Indiana, just keep on building.

Today’s Machining World did a cover story on the firm five years ago, showing a picture of their chalet-style office on the cover. I reached Rob a couple days ago and he caught me up on business.

C & A Tool is a big contract shop near Fort Wayne. They bought a 300,000 square foot building last year for expansion and are beginning to fill it up with production equipment.

They employ over 500 people in the area around Churubusco and Auburn. One of the hallmarks of their success is a highly diversified customer base. They are heavily into medical, particularly the implant market centered around Warsaw, Indiana, and they have recruited talent coming out of that area. They compliment the medical work with heavy truck, seemingly a long stretch from spinal implants, but the skills that a Cummins needs for diesel fuel systems parts requires a sophistication, going from prototyping to large scale on-time production like in medical manufacturing.

Today’s big push by C & A is in aerospace. The firm has ordered $8 million in large bore equipment from DMG/Mori Seiki USA. Marr says aerospace is a wonderful new opportunity because once you master the parts you can expect to stay in the production loop for a decade. The ramp up is laborious, but the consistency of orders is a cushion once they have mastered the component.

C & A held onto all of its people during the 2008-2009 recession and has established itself as a magnet for manufacturing talent. Marr says there are plenty of good people out there if you are willing to develop them, reward them, and keep them interested.

Much of the product produced at their northeast Indiana plants will end up in emerging markets, driving on the highways, and landing on the runways. Some of its medical products are exported because they have not yet been FDA approved here.

American manufacturing, using the best machine tools of Germany and Japan, is thriving in the cornfields of Indiana at C & A Tool.

Question: Is Sarah Palin smart enough to be President?

C & A Tool Engineering, Inc. in Churubusco, IN

Share this post

6 thoughts on “Best Job Shop In America?

  1. Dave Bradley

    I met Mr. Conrow many years ago. He is an awesome person. He may be a millionaire, but still treats people at my level like he is “just one of us”. I may be able to look him straight in the eye, but he will always be somebody that I can look up to. There aren’t enough Dick Conrows in this country.

  2. Jerry Johnson

    It’s all about character, Dave. Money can’t buy that.

    Regarding the question:

    I understand that Valery Jarret announced early on after the Obama inauguration that
    “We came to Rule, not lead.”

    In spite of what I have heard from the uber left, King Obama is obviously very dumb, judging by the horrendously bad job done by his administration, or he is very smart and deliberately trying to destroy our Country. Of course, that in conjunction with 4 years of family vacations on our dime just might be the mission. “Let’s pack up Michelle. There’s a couple of more countries that we have to visit in our lifetime before we have to start paying for it ourselves.”.

    Is Sara Palin smart enough to be President ? The question misses the point LLoyd. The real question should be does she have the character of Dick Conrow.

  3. Furdburfle

    Sarah Palin is nothing more than a publicity hound, cashing in on her instant fame brought about by McCain’s disastrous choice of her for a running mate… The religious right’s version of a prim and proper Playboy centerfold. If she was fat no one would give her a second glance, because her political platforms are nothing more than one liner rhetorical crapola. She plays well before blindered fools being led about by their life long conditioning to electronic and visual media that panders to thier subconsious primal urges.

    So… What does any of this have to do with C and A ??

  4. Greg Sweet

    I must be missing something – what does the question have to do with the article? Is Sarah Palin running a job shop now?

  5. Paul Wichert

    Sarah Palin is un-electable. The anti for next years election is $1 billion dollars, she has no hope of raising that. Intelligence has little to do with Leadership of the Country,the past is indicative of the future, Carter was one of the most intellectual (Smart ) Presidents in recent history, look where that got us.
    Until we send a message to the 435 people in Congress and the 100 in the Senate; stop legislating for political capital and start legislating to solve critical issues in our country; not much will change. They are the ones that can effect change, not the President. So the question is can she motivate all 635 to do the right thing? Doubtful, she seems to have a tough time speaking correctly!

  6. Brian "Dwight" Hoff

    Answer – no. Hard to understand how the media continues to offer her air time. Appeals to the lowest common denominator seem to sell well these days.Yu-betcha.


Comments are closed.