Don't tell Michael W. McLanahan that manufacturing in the United States is dead. His family-owned, privately held company has made equipment for mineral processing and farming since it was founded way back in 1835 – and now is enjoying a boom.
The company just had its "best year ever," McLanahan said recently during a tour of the busy factory in central Pennsylvania.
McLanahan, 73, is the fifth generation of his family to run the capital-intensive company. It builds equipment to help mining companies separate product from waste, the dairy industry to remove manure from sand, and the energy sector to segregate gravel from silica sand used in "fracking" – the process of drilling through shale deposits thousands of feet below ground to reach natural gas.
Jeffrey Bergstrand, a finance professor at the University of Notre Dame, calls it “factory nostalgia” but says that it is “economically legitimate.”