EATON — After being in Eaton for 20 years, the Timken Steel St. Clair Plant is now set to expand their workforce by nearly 20 percent.
The plant is currently hiring 20 new full-time positions after two new lines of products were awarded to the company.
Located at 401 Industrial Drive in Eaton, Timken will be hiring the 20 new employees because a top tier automotive company requested the production of a new ring gear and pinion gear, according to plant manager Jeremy Linder.
According to Linder, the new products will join the 34 parts currently being produced at the Eaton facility.
The new products will be used in automotive transmissions and use a special bar quality steel produced by the company out of Canton, according to Linder, who said the high level of steel is designed to operate in extreme temperature conditions found in the motors of vehicles.
The process of making the high quality steel was described by Linder as a similar to a chef creating a recipe. Linder says the process is done by adding just the right amount of alloys in the product, creating a cleaner, high-end steel.
Linder explained the company controls their products from the making of the steel to the parts’ final placement with one of their five automotive companies or the company’s industrial customer.
Wanda Shelley, who inspects parts for quality control, has worked at the plant 13 years and said she came to the plant after her previous plant closed after she’d been employed there 25 years.
Shelley said the best part of working at the Eaton location was the plant’s track record of maintaining employment.
According to Shelley the plant has only experienced one round of layoffs in her 13 years, and even those layoffs were voluntary, lasting only a few weeks.
According to Linder, the plant is currently at 1,244 days without a workforce accident, something Shelley also commented on.
“The safety procedures alone are 100 percent better here, they are really proactive with safety here,” she said. “It’s just a really good place to work, it’s clean — a lot of places don’t try to keep their areas clean but we spend a lot of time cleaning and that has a lot to do with our safety.”
Shelley also said the plant is a very friendly environment, saying it features an open-door policy to management.
Everyone is on name-to-name basis, Shelley said. “I’ve worked four other places,” she noted. “A lot of places don’t care to learn your name, they just want a worker — that’s not the case here.”
One of those workers, Dusty Rose, is a Preble County resident who has been at the plant 18 years. Rose says finding a good paying job close to home was important to him.
“I’m not driving to Dayton and fighting traffic,” Rose said. “My time at home means more than anything to me. If I can be home in five minutes, compared to an hour drive, I’ll do it.”
Linder believes the future will look a lot like the past for the plant. “We will be better than industry standard safety-wise, we’re going to meet our customer quality and production demands — we’re going to continue to be awarded new business because we’re going to have that proven track record of the last twenty years,” he said.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter at aschmidt_RH.