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David Moore, Paul Mueller Co.'s latest CEO and grandson of Paul Mueller, points to new relationships with Boulevard Brewing Co. and Leprino Foods as drivers of the hiring surge.
David Moore, Paul Mueller Co.'s latest CEO and grandson of Paul Mueller, points to new relationships with Boulevard Brewing Co. and Leprino Foods as drivers of the hiring surge.

Mueller Co. CEO: 300 jobs in 3 years

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Less than two months into the job, Paul Mueller Co. President and CEO David Moore made a splash with a hiring and capital investment announcement.

The Springfield stainless steel manufacturer plans to add up to 289 jobs within three years and invest $600,000 in new equipment during the next five years, Moore said at an Oct. 19 news conference attended by Gov. Jay Nixon.

“The industry does look strong now,” said Moore, Paul Mueller’s grandson, who was promoted from vice president Aug. 30 following the abrupt departure of Robert Nosal. Nosal had only been with Mueller Co. since April, when Matthew Detelich resigned unexpectedly.

With support from tax credits, Moore said the company would hire general laborers, welders, grinders and fabricators to meet orders for its growing customer base, which includes new clients Kansas City-based Boulevard Brewing Co. and Denver-based cheese and dairy manufacturer Leprino Foods.

Mueller Co. manufactures stainless steel equipment and performs on-site construction, repair and maintenance for clients in the food, beverage, dairy and pharmaceutical industries.

The news was welcome considering Mueller Co. recorded a second-quarter net loss of $1.2 million, brought on in part by $776,600 in severance and noncompete payments to Detelich in the wake of his resignation. Mueller Co. recorded an $8 million operating loss in 2010 on revenues of $129.6 million, down from 2009 revenues of $167.5 million.

“During the last four years, we have seen unprecedented changes in our product markets that have caused us to make some painful adjustments. Throughout that time, our employees have remained committed to the hard work required to make our company successful,” said Moore, a 10-year Mueller Co. executive and board member since 1997 who spent a year in the Netherlands growing the company’s European division. “Our company is experiencing a recovery in our Springfield facility due to the determination and steady progress of our employees in each of our product lines.”

Moore said the backlog has nearly doubled in the company’s most recent quarter.

Mueller Co. already has hired 89 employees this year, bringing its total employee count to approximately 485. Wages for the nearly 300 new jobs are expected to be above the Greene County average salary of $34,676 and include a comprehensive benefits package – requirements of the Missouri Quality Jobs Program administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Gov. Nixon said the jobs initiative would aid the economies of Springfield and the state, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

“It’s always great news when any company makes plans for a strengthened investment in the state of Missouri and the creation of new jobs for hard-working Missourians. It is extra special when you’re talking about a company like Paul Mueller Co., which has been a mainstay here in Springfield for seven decades,” Nixon said. “We’re supporting this expansion through a strategic package of economic development incentives the company will be eligible to receive after fulfilling the criteria for job creation.”

John Fougere, a spokeman for the DED, said Mueller Co. is in line to receive $2.7 million in tax credits should it meet Quality Jobs requirements.

To fill the need for qualified workers, Mueller Co. will receive work force training assistance from Ozarks Technical Community College as it adds qualified workers to its staff, an issue that has been a problem for many manufacturers across the country.

A summer survey of 1,123 executives nationwide by Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Manufacturing Institute found that 5 percent of manufacturing jobs are unfilled due to a lack of qualified workers. Two-thirds of manufacturers reported in the study that they have a moderate to severe shortage of qualified workers, and 56 percent say they expect the shortage to increase during the next three to five years.

Chris Mashburn, a purchasing agent and scheduler for Springfield machine shop Superior Process Solutions, said he believes the metal manufacturing industry has turned a corner in the last year. He said Superior Process Solutions’ revenues increased about 35 percent during that time serving clients such as Detroit Tool in Lebanon and occasionally Mueller Co. The company’s clients manufacture everything from farming equipment to truck parts and serve diverse business sectors such as food services and pharmaceuticals.

He said the economy could always change things, but the companies he works with have reported a similar uptick in business.

“There was such a big lull for such a long time that a lot of these companies are letting go of the money because there are projects they have to get done. They may have waited because of the economy, back when we were in a lull, and now everybody is trying to catch up,” Mashburn said.[[In-content Ad]]

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