MAUMEE (13abc Action News) - A local man and his family took a chance on the old Ford Stamping Plant in Maumee, and it's paying off more and more each year. It's now called Maumee Assembly and Stamping. The plant does work for some of the biggest players in the auto industry. In the coming months, the owners expect to add dozens of new jobs. There is also plenty of space in the building to bring in more work.
Ford closed the plant in 2007. It sat empty for about a year, and a lot of people thought it would stay that way. But Stan Chlebowski opened Maumee Assembly and Stamping in 2009 and it's been growing ever since, "A lot of people wanted to scrap this place. I knew it would eventually get going again and here it is. It's going again. We started with only about 12 people, and that included the security guard. Now we have about 250 people."
The re-birth of the plant hasn't been without it's challenges. Chlebowski says the first few years were a struggle. As the auto industry rebounded the work picked up, and it's hasn't slowed down, "I expect within the next year to have 50 more employees."
One of the first employees hired was Lou Setmire, "I love this place, it's in my blood." Setmire has worked inside the plant for more than four decades, "I retired from Ford with 32 years on the job and then came back here about 8 years ago. I was really glad to see it re-open. I didn't think it would happen, but it did and it's been a great ride so far."
What's happening inside the plant has truly come full circle.
Workers are once again building parts for Ford and a lot of other companies too. The list includes Tesla,GM, Fiat Chrysler, Honda and International Trucks, "We're running three shifts. We are trying o only work six days a week, but there are times we are running seven days a week."
The bulk of the work is related to the auto industry, but it also includes companies like Whirlpool.Travis Barta is the Vice President of Operations and Sales,"It's nice to have a wide array of products, so if one industry takes a hit we still have other sales to keep afloat.Product diversity is very important for us."
Business has been so good, company leaders have even had to say no in some cases."We've been turning work down lately because we don;t want to grow to quickly. We want a good, quality product for all our customers."
The work they do is all over the road. Barta says it's fun to pull up next to one of the vehicles and realize Maumee Assembly and Stamping had a hand in it, "When we see Teslas, Ford trucks or International semis there's a real sense of pride with that." A pride the community can share.