Congressman tours Lesleh's new site
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy tours several manufacturing facilities each week in his 18th Congressional District.
He said the reason for doing so is simple: “It's Pennsylvania jobs.”
“It's high-quality work,” Murphy said Wednesday at the new Lesleh Precision Inc. facility in the Rostraver Airport industrial park.
“Pennsylvanians still make a lot of good things and make them good.”
The Upper St. Clair Republican met Lesleh Precision President Ron Helsel in February at an Economic Growth Council of Westmoreland County event at St. Vincent College near Latrobe.
Helsel's company produces components for Henry Rifles.
The company is located in a 35,000-square-foot building that formerly housed Solar Power Industries. It moved there at the beginning of the year after outgrowing its former site in Lower Speers.
Murphy, a fan of the Science Channel program “How It's Made” said he was intrigued that the company works almost exclusively producing parts such as butt plates and trigger plates for the nationally renowned rifle maker.
“I like to see how things are made and the hands that make them,” Murphy said.
Murphy, whose district cuts through the heart of the Mon Valley, said an economist once predicted the United States would cease manufacturing and become solely a service industry economy that imports all of its goods.
Murphy said that prediction was wrong.
“We have a great legacy. We make things here,” Murphy said.
Helsel said the company, with 38 employees, is growing and continuing to hire.
“We're producing 1,300 a week,” Helsel said of the rifle parts. “We want to get to 2,000.”
Murphy said machinists are in demand.
“A lot of their people are being pulled off for the Marcellus shale industry,” Murphy said.
Plant manager Tom Ruhe said the Rostraver Township-based plant's employees were working seven days a week until recently.
“But our production has not decreased,” Ruhe said.
Ruhe said the company has nearly doubled production since moving to the airport site. He said production will continue to increase as the work force grows. Helsel said there are plans to add 12 more workers.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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