MFG quadrupled work force

Published 12:02 am Thursday, September 30, 2010

In its five years of business, Opp’s Molded Fiber Glass (MFG) Alabama has nearly quadrupled its work force, as well as increased its production, all in a time of economic uncertainty.

In fact, the Ohio-based company has increased its number of employees to 85, which is up from 25 from when it opened its doors in 2005.

The company, which produces nacelles, or windmill generator enclosures, had increased its production from one enclosure per day to three. Now, it is currently making two per day.

Plant Manager Mike Leonard said the company constructs the enclosures for General Electric and then ships them to the GE plants in Greenville, S.C., and Pensacola, Fla.

In 2008, the company added an approximately 20,000 square foot expansion, which allowed production to double.

Last year, a sister company, MFG Galileo Composites, opened down the road from the company.

“MFG Galileo opened as a result of the success here,” Leonard said of the sister company that manufactures components for “radomes,” which are dome-like housings for radar systems and are utilized at airports and scientific installations.

The company added some 30 employees.

This year, MFG Alabama procured additional business in several different markets including water treatment products and construction products.

“This means additional revenue,” Leonard said. “And we’ve been able to add 12-plus new employees. We also do a lot of (price) quoting for a lot of other fiberglass entities.”

Leonard said the process for producing the enclosures was first utilized in 1950 and has not changed dramatically through the years.

“It is the way the original Corvette body was produced,” he said. “MFG produced the first Corvette bodies in Ohio. Spray fiberglass down into a coating, and you come back to chop up the fiberglass for molding.”

MFG’s Human Resource manager Paula DeCheck said the company encourages employee feedback.

“It’s almost like a family-type relationship,” she said.

“Everyone can throw ideas out there (to benefit the company).”

In fact, the family-type relationship is so important, MFG CEO Richard Morrison frequents the plant.

As for the future, Leonard said the outlook for wind energy is “flat” for 2011; however, 2012 looks more positive.

“Our goal is to maintain the customers we’ve had,” he said. “And increase production in wind, transportation and recreation.”

Of the 85 employees working at MFG, DeCheck said the majority are from the Covington County area, but there are some from Enterprise.

Employees celebrated recently with a company-wide luncheon in which they not only celebrated five years, but 365-plus days of work without a loss-time accident and the 3,000th nacelle shipped.

Paula DeCheck, HR manager at MFG, stands beside one of the company’s wind mill generator enclosure. |Kendra Bolling/ Star-News