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Landis Complex gets new life

April 03, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • The work force of D.L. George & Sons is pictured in the Waynesboro, Pa., facility.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

WAYNESBORO, PA. -- Scattered around The Landis Complex are yellow, adult-sized tricycles that employees use to get around the massive facility.

Owned for the past year by Dave George and his family, The Landis Complex has found new life since the former Landis Tool Co. moved to Washington County, Md.

Rather than allowing the borough buildings to be vacant and slip into disrepair, the Georges bought the complex and made significant investments. They have more work in front of them, but 38 D.L. George & Sons employees are manufacturing, painting and powder coating there every day.

"Between what we're using and what we have leased out, we're using half -- 215,000 to 300,000 square feet," Travis George said.

Current tenants are Thorsen's Precision Grinding, Buddy Lowans & Sons Concrete Products and Steel Warehouse Co., an out-of-state company that the Georges hope will create jobs in Waynesboro. Tenants use the westernmost portion of the complex, while D.L. George & Sons' machine shop occupies the old assembly floor.

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John George said the layout of machines allows product to move through the building with ease.

"Dad's pretty good at doing that," John George said. "He knew how you want (building) flow to work."

Richard Kleis, manufacturing general manager, said D.L. George & Sons stands apart from other machine shops because it can accomplish several tasks, such as precision machining, fabrication, powder coating and painting.

"Occasionally, we'll get work from other fabricators that don't have the (powder coating and painting) machines," Kleis said.

The large facility also allows D.L. George & Sons to work with bigger materials. Its planer mill can take apart sheets of metal that are 9 feet by 20 feet.

Kleis showed off a Giddings & Lewis Orion machine obtained from Landis, a 120-year-old company now known as Cinetic Landis Grinding Corp. The multipurpose machine can drill, tap and mill with a 140-station tool changer.

"You can index the product and do all four sides," Kleis said.

D.L. George & Sons employees, many of whom have been with the company 20 years, use the same cranes operated by Landis. Most of the complex looks similar to past years, although the Georges are stabilizing and cleaning up the area known as "the barn." They also have created a road for tractor-trailers to access the property from Ninth Street, rather than Clayton Avenue or Sixth Street.

One immediate goal was to isolate various areas to cut down on heating, air conditioning and lighting costs, Travis George said.

"Needless to say, it's an expensive place to run," he said.

The company's biggest challenge has been taking on the project during a slumping economy, said Travis George, who is eager to start improving the building's facade.

D.L. George & Sons also operates transportation and construction divisions from its headquarters on Midvale Road.

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