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Fabricating

Civilian service

By Gretchen Salois

Above: Walker Knox (left) and Terence Reid (right). 

Ex-Marine, former salesman join forces and use military tactics to develop fab shop

November 2016 - A family business offers pros and cons. Pro: The owners know one another better than anyone else—which could also be a con, depending on the day. In the case of cousins Terence Reid and Walker Knox, a lifelong dream of opening a business together meant starting anew. The idea was to leverage Reid’s 30 years in the U.S. Marine Corps as commander of the repair and overhaul facility undergirding ground support equipment inventory, which included a weld and fabrication shop, alongside Knox’s 25 years in sales leadership roles. The result is Mid-Atlantic Fabrication & Finishing (MAF) in Knightdale, North Carolina.

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Running things like a well-oiled machine, Reid supervised the fabrication maintenance projects that keep Marine vehicles ready for deployment. After retiring as a colonel, Reid hoped to transition those skills into a civilian production setting. Knox began his career in the sciences, working in a lab. He discovered he felt more at ease with people, rather than specimens, and instead chose sales, focusing on telecommunications products as well as chemicals.

Although they were nearing retirement age, Reid and Knox both vetoed the idea of a work-free routine and instead sought out a fabrication shop for sale to mold it into a family business. After much research, the cousins felt MAF had a strong foundation with the potential for growth. 

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Because MAF manufactures precision sheet metal components, including 7- to 20-gauge CNC laser cutting, CNC punching, CNC forming, spot welding as well as MIG, TIG and stick welding services, customers order prototype work and short-run parts production, long part runs and welding, plated or painted assemblies of varying complexity. 

Customer demands for quick-turnaround cycles and high-tolerance requirements were unanticipated but, since opening the shop in 2015, the workforce adjusted and “we’ve gotten used to the changes,” Knox says. It helped a great deal to have workers with 15 to 30 years of experience: “They know exactly what they’re doing,” Reid says.

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Terence Reid (left) and Walker Knox (right)

To reinforce that expertise, Reid—who is familiar with well-defined rules and responsibilities—brought in some military tactics to improve operations and efficiency. “We systemized how you come in with a drawing or idea,” he says. In addition, continuing training moves employees through “ranks” of capability.

Business activity continues to grow for MAF as it relentlessly pursues the most efficient and accurate results, mirroring the most goal-oriented military operation. “Walker introduced new products and challenged us to provide different products and services,” Reid says. “But that expertise and attention to detail—as far as our workers [perform], no one in the military does it any better.” FFJ

 

Sources

Banner

Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Beckwood Press Co. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters Triform

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc.

LASER TECHNOLOGY

Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. Mazak Optonics Corp. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC MC Machinery Systems Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

BEVELING

Murata Machinery, USA, Inc. Davi Inc. Striker Systems
Steelmax Tools LLC TRUMPF Inc.

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

COIL PROCESSING

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Bradbury Group MTS Sensors Rolleri USA

STEEL

Burghardt + Schmidt Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial Automec Inc. BLM Group
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies SafanDarley

WATERJET

Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

PUNCHING

Barton International

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc. Behringer Saws Inc.

WELDING

Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company

 

MetalForming Inc.

 

 

 

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

 

 

 

Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

 


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