By Don Rush
There was much to do on June 19 in Oxford Township. Local officials, a United States Congresswoman, officials from Oakland County, military producer General Dynamics Land Systems a Stryker Military Vehicle on display and even a flyover from the Tuskegee Airmen National Museum all gathered for one reason on that hot summer day: to celebrate Barron Industries 100 years of metalcasting excellence.
Barron Industry, located at 215 Plexus Drive, in the north of the township, just east of M-24, is a global manufacturer of precision cast parts, machined components and complete assemblies for customers in the aerospace, defense, automotive, oil and gas, nuclear, medical and other industries.
“Above all, we are a family business,” said Barron Industries President and CEO Bruce Barron – he is also a third generation Barron to lead the business. “The ability to stay in business for 100 years,” Barron said, “isn’t easy, I will tell you that. I have been here for 40 of those years. It’s hard to believe.”
He then gave a little history of the company.
His grandfather Joseph Barron started Motor and Machinery Castings in 1923 in Detroit and personally delivered parts to Henry Ford’s motor car company and was paid in cash. What began as a Detroit foundry producing 60 ton sand castings has evolved into a global precision casting company with the most advanced vertically integrated manufacturing processes. In 1983, the Barron family acquired the 13,000 square foot Lanthier Foundry casting plant in Oxford and was renamed to BarronCast. They expanded the company by acquiring a 65,000 square foot manufacturing facility in 1990 and a third 10,000 square foot plant in 2019.
Speaking at the celebration, Michael Patton, Director SCM of General Dynamics Land Systems told the crowd gathered under a large ten, “We’ve partnered with Barron for 40 years and that partnership has lasted because of performance. I see a lot of pride here today. I see family members, children, parents, friends who were invited and that shows pride. When I saw you come up to the (Stryker Military) Vehicle and ask questions, you all talked about the parts you make or what you do to provide service here at Barron and the pride came forward from each and everyone of you. Whether you are a machinist, inspection, maintenance, up front, you are part of the value chain … the meaningfulness you all provide, I will tell you this from direct experience talking with veterans, there are thousands of lives here in the US alive because of the service you provide.”
Congresswoman Lisa McClain, of Michigan’s 9th District was the next to speak.
“I also sit on the Armed Services Committee and I didn’t realize the importance of our national security until I had the opportunity to go overseas and really touch, feel, see, communicate the importance of what you all do to keep us safe and really not think about,” she said. “I thank you because what we take for granted when we sleep at night is unbelievable. I thought I had half a clue of what was going on, but I recently got back from Poland. What we are doing overseas and the parts that you make and the machining that do, whether you’re a truck driver, manufacturer, to be able to connect those dots right here in our district is overwhelming.”
Dom Holmes, from Oakland County, presented Bruce Barron with a plaque of recognition and reminded people in the crowd that Barron Industries recently received an impact award from the Michigan Works! Association, in recognition of the employer’s commitment to workforce development and training.
“For the future, we want to stay firm in technology and training our workers,” Barron told workers in attendance. “We’ve worked hard to keep ourself fairly modern. I’m very fortunate to have worked with thousands of you over the past forty years. I don’t make the company. You do. I just represent you and your hard work. I’m not perfect, but I will get better. I appreciate and really respect you and your families.”
After thanking US Armed Service veterans who work at Barron Industries, Bruce and his wife Lisa presented the Oxford Fire Department with a check for $2,500. Barron and his wife called Oxford Fire Chief Matthew Majestic, Assistant Chief Randy Vesper and Capt./EMS Coordinator Kevin Snell to the stage to accept the check.
“We appreciate your presence in our community,” Bruce said. “You have responded to (our facility) when we’ve been in need and we’re grateful for all that you do. You’re very important to us (and) to the people of this community.”
The donation will be used to purchase eight bleeding control training kits. Each kit contains a “trainer leg” which simulates multiple wound patterns (knife and gunshot). Students, ranging from first responders to members of the public, will use the kits to learn how to pack a wound with sterile combat gauze, apply direct pressure and use a tourniquet.