Local Steel Firm Has Something You Might Need: A Good Job
Writer / Neal G. Moore
If you’re looking for a job, and a manufacturing environment is your thing (some office jobs are available, too), be advised O’Neal Manufacturing Services is looking for more than a few good men and women. “We are hungry for good employees,” says Chris Dyke, who handles human resources for O’Neal.
The steel processing firm employs about 150 workers and has been in Lawrence since 2008, but Dyke and plant manager Federico Fraga say not many people are aware of what O’Neal is, and what it does. “We make component parts for original equipment manufacturers—things like engine bases and supports, elevator and forklift components and more,” he explains. “This is a large and very good company that takes care of its employees; and is very steady, not knee-jerk with business decisions.” And that, he adds, means great long-term job possibilities, likely without interruption. Indeed, 16 percent of O’Neal’s workforce has more than 20 years on the job; another 30 percent has five or more years.
The Lawrence operation (located at 9990 E. 56th Street) is a division of O’Neal Industries, a 93-year-old, privately held conglomerate with more than 80 facilities in the U.S., Mexico and overseas. Lawrence workers handle jobs such as machining, laser and plasma processing, bending, welding and forklift operations. In-house training is available for all functions. Dyke says they’re looking for employees to fill various positions, and that some other jobs are available, too, in customer service, quality, maintenance and the like. Having work to do won’t be a problem. O’Neal is extremely busy, operating three shifts to keep up with customer orders—a rarity in today’s manufacturing environment.
O’Neal started manufacturing operations in Shelbyville and soon outgrew the facility there. After a wide search across Indianapolis the decision was made to locate O’Neal in Lawrence, and Fraga says there are good reasons why. “This was a good building with a great location and skilled labor force,” he explains.
Lawrence is a growing community, with a strong economic future. “It’s been a very good place for employees, and we have a good mix of experienced and younger workers,” says Dyke. “If someone is looking for a stable workplace with opportunities for advancement, this is a great place to do that.” Dyke adds that current O’Neal employees should be thinking about applying for internal positions with more responsibility and pay.
Management points to its strong benefits package as another reason people like working at O’Neal. In addition to life, health and dental insurance, the company offers tuition assistance, profit sharing and a wellness program. “We’re looking for skilled, ambitious, career-minded people,” emphasizes Dyke. “We welcome all. Come talk to us, and check our website for information. We need people who want to work.”