Amherst County economic development officials are praising Cooper Steel of Virginia for the improvements it has made in the last 15 months to the former Lynchburg Steel facilities in Monroe. Those include installation of a one million dollar plate processing machine to increase both work flow and product quality – and new heating and lighting to improve the workplace environment.
From the Amherst County Economic Development Authority: Over a year into their acquisition of the assets of Lynchburg Steel, the re-branded Cooper Steel of Virginia continues to make improvements to its facilities with the goal of expanding one of the premier steel fabrication operations in the country.
When the plant reopened as Cooper Steel of Virginia in December of 2017, there were immediate needs that needed to be addressed. The company immediately installed new LED lighting, 4 new overhead cranes, and an infrared heating system; these changes were quickly recognized by the shop employees remarks Office Manager Ana Smith “The improvements were instantly noticed by the guys in the shop..the heat and lighting certainly made this a much more comfortable and safer place to work for all“.
One of the larger investments made in the improvement process that been the addition of a Peddinghaus Plate Processing machine. The $1 million machine, which became operational in June of 2018, immediately became a huge asset to operations said Cooper COO and President W. Duff Zimmerman, “The plate machine has been a huge help in not only producing an excellent quality product, but in increasing work flow through our shop. We value the ability to get work through the shop fast, and now, we do not have to wait on third-party suppliers; we have control”.
Zimmerman would go on to attribute the considerable strides taken by Cooper Steel of Virginia to its integral team leaders on the ground. Plant Manager, Andrew Anderson, Engineering Manager Sam McConaghy, Shipping Manager PJ Sherman, Purchase and Programming Manager Tim Maxey, and Office Manager Ana Smith were all of considerable note in the President’s comments.
Other additions in 2018 have included new forklifts, regrading of surfaces, the installations of ramps and addressing potential flooding issues with a new barrier wall. While the 28-year executive did not go into any detail regarding future plans for the shop, he did assure the company is not finished looking for ways to improve. “We’re looking at it all” he mentioned, “That’s what great companys do, look to improve. We’re looking at everything from “are we using the best equipment for the job?” to the actual physical layout of the shop itself“.
With the recent addition of a night shift to go along with its strong daytime workforce numbers, it seems Cooper Steel of Virginia is poised to make such strides for some time to come.
“We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve done here in such a short time” beams Smith, ” and it’s very important for us, as we grow, to let our community know ,what a great place we have to come to work“.
The chairman of the Economic Development Authority (EDA) of Amherst County, Calvin Kennon, said, “It’s exciting to see that Cooper Steel’s investment into the Amherst County facility will greatly help their employees. It’s clear that Cooper Steel has great leadership and is thriving in Amherst County’s business friendly environment.” Cooper Steel’s new taxable investment in the plant has qualified for Amherst County’s incentive program that encourages new and existing businesses to locate, expand and grow in Amherst County.