Brookville Equipment celebrated 100 years of business on Friday, August 3 by having a half day of work and a gathering in their parking lot for some fun. The workers came in to clean up the shop in the morning to prepare for the open tours that were given that afternoon.
Employees and their families were invited to gather in the parking lot to enjoy the rest of their afternoon. The members of the community were welcome to share the celebration with them, and take guided tours of the factory. Tours got to see all the products that are made right here in the factory. The tours were suppose to take place every thirty minutes, but there were so many people signing up that they changed them to every fifteen minutes.
There was also a face painting tent set up for the kids, provided by Chelsea Kocher. There was also a bounce house set up for children to jump in. The dreary weather of the morning made some concerns for the bounce house so it was actually set up inside the shop.
Devil’s Barbecue from Brookville set up to provide food for the event, and The Meadows truck was there to give some sweet treats.
“We’re kind of blown away by the turnout,” Amanda Anger, Administrative Assistant and coordinator of the event shared. Anger said they expected there to be about 450 people to attend, but by the end of the afternoon she believed it was closer to 600 people.
Brookville Equipment has been manufacturing at the Evans Street location since 1998, and Anger shared that a lot of their current employees have been working with them for more than 20 years. “It’s a very family friendly company,” Anger explained adding that over half the people in attendance were employees and their families.
The Pennsylvania American Mining Association brought a refurbished train car specialized for the 100 year celebration. The train car brought a model that would have just like the ones being manufactured at Brookville Equipment in the 30’s.
“We’ve been using the name Brookville on products to ship internationally for many years” CEO Dalph McNeil said. McNeil started as the seventh employee at the company that is now up to about 250 employees. He talked about seeing the company go from almost out of business in the 70’s to the robust workforce that it is today. “Our products going forward are vital to the needs of the rail industry” McNeil said.
The company was in full scale production of gas and diesel powered locomotives following World War I. The company has overcome many challenges in it’s long lifetime, including the 1996 flood which almost drowned the company under eight feet of water. The company’s workforce had the facility restored to 100% production in just one month. Today Brookville Equipment is one of the leading U.S. manufacturers of haulage equipment in the international market, and has shipped machines to 80 different countries.
Larry Saver is one of the company’s longest standing engineers, placing him as employee number 15 with the company. Saver explained that when he started at the facility their customer base grew mostly from word of mouth. Their diesel equipment is what gave the edge over their competition at first. The next big step what moving into underground mining equipment in the mid 90’s, and then got involved in electric powered equipment.
“Through diligent hard work we provided a product that met our customer’s needs,” Saver said of their success. Brookville Equipment plans to have many more years of business and expansion to celebrate in the future.