Manufacturer’s Milestone banquet honors local companies

Betty WoodEDSPC News

Local manufacturers were recognized for their long-term commitments to the Sedalia-Pettis County community during Thursday night’s 12th annual Manufacturing Milestone Anniversary Recognition Banquet.

The event, hosted by Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County at the Sedalia Country Club, honored 13 companies for their anniversaries, ranging from newer companies celebrating five-year anniversaries like Grellner Sales and 8760 Service Group, which is already constructing a new building in Thompson Meadows Industrial Park, to Parkhurst Manufacturing Co. Inc., which is celebrating 70 years in Sedalia.

“Our manufacturers encompass 29 percent of the employment base in Pettis County at an average wage of $45,000,” EDSPC Board President Rusty Kahrs said during the banquet. “Each year we take this opportunity to pay tribute to the companies within those sectors we serve who are celebrating milestone anniversaries in Pettis County in five-year increments.”

Parkhurst Manufacturing Co. Inc., located at 18999 state Route Y, employs 18 people. Founded in 1946 in Sedalia by William R. Parkhurst, Parkhurst Manufacturing manufacturers farm and commercial truck bodies for a wide range of applications in the transportation industry.

“Sedalia is a place of people that have a good work ethic and it’s a place of family-like culture that keeps people here as opposed to moving to the city,” said Mike Harris, CEO, president and chairman of the Parkhurst board. “… It’s the small community, the rural community that attracts us and keeps us.”

Parkhurst’s products include grain bodies, multiple models and levels of platform bodies, stake rack delivery bodies, contractors drop-sided dump bodies, landscape bodies and 2-3-yard dump bodies. In addition to these products, Parkhurst began manufacturing their own line of truck hoists in 2003.

The truck equipment is sold through distributorships located throughout the New England, Mid-Atlantic, Upper Midwest, Midwest and Great Plains states. Parkhurst Manufacturing also has a distribution warehouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Three members of the Parkhurst team were at the banquet representing the company — Harris, Vice President of Sales Sam Trelow and Executive Vice President Laurie Boer. All three have worked at Parkhurst for several decades and said they’re “more than a name on a time card, we’re a member of a team.”

“It’s nice to be recognized,” Trelow said of the banquet. “Seventy years, there’s been a lot of people go through our doors that we’ve provided income to, a home to, a car, whatever. Thousands of people.”

“And we take great pride in our product,” Boer added.

Parkhurst was the oldest company recognized Thursday, but two others were honored for 65 years in Sedalia.

Tallman Co. of Sedalia, 1400 N. Missouri Ave., located in Sedalia in 1951. The company is a wholesale distributor of electrical, plumbing, and heating supplies. The Tallman Company has branches in Warrensburg, Osage Beach and Laurie, with 15 employees at the Sedalia location.

Praxair Distribution’s Sedalia location, 2500 W. Main St., began in 1951 as Ed’s Welding Supply, later being purchased by EWS. Kirk Welding purchased the company in 2001, and Praxair purchased it in April 2008.

PDI, or Praxair Distribution Inc., has nearly 4,500 employees who form the North American distribution arm of Praxair Inc. Seven of those employees work in Sedalia.

Through its more than 470 stores, cylinder-filling plants, warehouses and its many independent distributor channels, PDI is Praxair’s direct channel for delivering welding, cutting, specialty and medical gases in cylinders, small cryogenic containers and mini-bulk, beverage carbonation services and dry ice, technical expertise and hardgoods to more than 430,000 customers in the U.S. and Canada.

Thursday’s event also honored EDSPC Executive Director Linda Christle, who is retiring at the end of the month after 12 years at EDSPC and 39 years in economic development. She was thanked by numerous public officials and employees of companies she’s assisted over the years. She was presented with a proclamation from Sedalia Mayor Stephen Galliher, a House Resolution from state Reps. Nathan Beard and Dean Dohrman, recognition from Gov. Jay Nixon, and she even received her very own Waterloo toolbox, along with a bouquet of red roses.

“As manufacturers, you are the very most important thing in Pettis County,” Christle said at the end of her remarks. “I feel so good because now the manufacturers walk with their head held high and a lot of pride that they didn’t have when I came here. And I didn’t do it, we did it. We all said we appreciate you and this is one of those events. … And I thank you for all of your support of me.”

Also recognized during Thursday’s banquet was 8760 Service Group, five years, Grellner Sales, five years, Blue Demon Co. Inc., 20 years, Key Hydraulics, 25 years, SMC Electric, 30 years, Smith Signs, 35 years, Culligan Water Conditioning, 40 years, Sedalia Steel & Wire Co., 40 years, Vance Brothers, 40 years, and Neet Products, 60 years.