SEATTLE - Over the last seven years a Seattle company called Machinists Inc. has doubled employment from 100 to nearly 200. A few months ago it bought a building across the street to house its growing welding operation. It only plans to keep growing.
The company has become a success story of survival and coming out strong after decades where American manufacturing seemed to be heading one way: overseas. But that’s now turning around. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, it says goods manufactured in the U.S. and exported have gone from $622 billion in 2002 to $1.38 trillion last year in 2013.
Machinists Inc. also exports, even to Asia, but unlike factories in China that specialize in volume making the same products or parts over and over again year after year, the key here is a wide customer base and the ability make just about anything, often on short notice.
They do make production parts for other companies, but also make tooling to build Boeing jets and titanium casings to protect scientific instruments under the severe pressure in the deep ocean - huge parts for ships. And those are just some of the things. It can be in lots from one-offs to thousands. Its machinists have decades of experience, and younger employees are coming up through the ranks. Ten are currently in training with Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Program.
“We’re seeing very similar growth, where a lot of the companies that we work with are bringing more of the product back into us. I think that has a lot to do with the delivery and capability we can support,” said Jeff Tompson, who works in business development.