Ep. 16 – Bill Cox on the Evolution of a Machining Business

By Noah and Lloyd Graff

Scroll down to listen to the podcast with Bill Cox.

In today’s podcast we interviewed Bill Cox, owner of Cox Manufacturing in San Antonio, Texas, a job shop that makes parts for a variety of industries—oil and energy, medical, and defense to name a few.

Bill’s father started the company in 1956 but died when Bill was age 12. The evening of his father’s funeral a customer had the audacity to ask Bill’s mother if he could buy the company. She asked Bill that night if he was interested in going into the family business and Bill said he was. From that day forward Bill’s mom, a sharp business woman in her own right, taught him the management side of running the company, while the guys in the shop developed his technical skills. By his 20s Bill was taking the helm at Cox Manufacturing.

We at Graff-Pinkert have had the pleasure of dealing with Bill for decades, on both the buying and selling side of the equipment trade. He continues to impress us with his business savvy and grasp of the trends in the machining business.

Question: Are current wage levels too low to attract good enough good people for machine shops?

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6 thoughts on “Ep. 16 – Bill Cox on the Evolution of a Machining Business

  1. Grimstod

    Not really. I think a lot of kids are surprised to know what they can start out with in machining. Its our educational system that is to blame. They have been telling our kids that successful people are doctors and lawyers. I lay all the blame on education.

  2. Mike

    It’s sad that out schools are rated by the number of students that go on to college instead of preparing students with basic math and communication skills.

  3. Alan Giddens

    A interesting question wages is not the biggest problem with young people going in the trade. The perception most young people have is that the machine trade is for people that are not smart enough to do anything else and is a dirty job with no future. Of course they are completely wrong I do think the education system is somewhat to blame they are pushing collage and are not pushing vocational training which would be best for some students.
    When my son decided to go to vocational collage for machine shop his friends thought he was stupid or crazy. When he graduated we started a small shop since he could work flexible hours he was able to continue his education and now has a masters degree in Aerospace Engineering. We still have the shop but he is a contractor for NASA and does as much engineering work as he does machining. He can design, Cad & machine parts for customers which is a niche market in our area. He worked a lot of hours but he was not stupid or crazy. Our industry needs to get the word out to young people that this industry can take you anywhere you want to go.

    1. Al

      We opened our shop to area high schools for Manufacturing Day earlier this month. Had a great turn out, will have to wait and see if any students come to work someday. But worth trying to show what modern shops are like. Positive feedback from students and teachers.

  4. r in nyc

    most young people want a six figure salary to keep a chair warm and play on their phone all day.

    NO ONE has a work ethic!

    just saying…

    1. Andrew

      A lot of that has to do with the “everyone gets a trophy just for showing up” mentality that has been pushed onto our children so that nobody gets their feelings hurt. So it is no wonder that when kids see someone working hard and making a 6 figure salary, they think they deserve it also, just for showing up at work. SMH


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