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McKENZIE (August 28) — Chad Brawner and Monte Bowers were the featured speakers at the August 28 meeting of the McKenzie Rotary Club.
Bowers is the plant manager and Brawner manager of environmental, health and safety at Allegion in McKenzie, formerly Republic Builders, manufacturers of steel doors.
Bowers said Republic Steel of Niles Ohio located the door manufacturing company in the Henry County portion of McKenzie 1977. In 1985, Republic sold the company to Desco, a privately-owned company, which owned the company all but a brief time up to January 2017 when Allegion purchased the company.
Allegion has several operating companies operating in the door and door hardware business.
The McKenzie operation has 250,000 square feet on 33 acres. It leases another 20,000 square foot building from the McKenzie Industrial Board. Republic has a total of 200 employees in McKenzie and at regional distribution centers. Payroll in McKenzie is approximately $5 million annually.
Allegion believes in the Republic-made products, said Bowers. It has invested in plant upgrades and plans to build a supermill in McKenzie.
Brawner said the investments include a new roof on the facility, new LED lighting, all new, safer forklifts, an employee break room with greater food choices and digital informational panels – including weather announcements, and a new $860,000 wastewater treatment upgrade to allow the company to pre-treat some of its waste.
The number of injuries has declined by 70 percent with the new emphasis and training on safety, said Brawner. The goal is to continue to improve the employee safety record.