Q&A: Bill Thorndike, President
Tell us about Medford Fabrication. What do you do?
Medford Fabrication is a diverse metals fabrication, assembly and finishing services company. Medford serves many industries, some as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and others as a partner in carrying out complicated projects in sectors ranging from water treatment, pollution control, energy production and agriculture to heavy equipment manufacturing, food processing and wood products.
How did Medford Fabrication get started?
Medford Fabrication is a family-operated business that was established in the mid-1940s building fuel storage tanks. Throughout our nearly 80 years in business, we have grown to serve customers of all sizes across Oregon, the U.S., and the world.
Tell us about your employees. Who works here?
Medford Fabrication's employees work together as a team. Many have more than 30 years of service, and possess skills allowing them to perform many different jobs throughout the company's vertically integrated 100,000 square foot facility. This results in the efficient and effective production of high-quality products, built to exact standards.
What makes you unique?
We are unique and stand out in our industry because of our vertical integration of engineering, fabrication and finishing services. Coupled with this, we have a long history of working with large, global customers with rigorous standards for quality and documentation. At the same time, we can serve the metal fabrication needs of local farmers, businesses, and other residents of the Rogue Valley.
What is the biggest challenge you are facing today?
The biggest challenge for us will be to hire and develop employees in the manufacturing field. Particularly, to be an employee in our facility, you have to have multiple talents. You can’t just be a welder anymore, or a cutter, you need to be able to adapt to the different types of jobs we are doing. Tied into that is having employees who can work together as a team too. The old idea of a craftsman sitting in a corner is pretty much gone.
What does the future look like for Medford Fabrication?
The future of Medford Fabrication will depend on our ability to remain flexible and to meet the different types of opportunities out there. Is it in wastewater plants or is it supporting forest products manufacturers in our area? It comes down to the flexibility and adaptability in changing our methods, and being able to support the products and technologies that will continue to sprout and be successful on the West Coast.
How do you view the future of manufacturing in Oregon?
Oregon's supply chain is critical to the future of manufacturing, particularly for those of us operating outside of major metropolitan areas. Ready access to goods and services from all along the West Coast, and the world, make Oregon's manufacturing base possible. This also applies to the transportation infrastructure necessary to ship products out of the region. Oregon has an opportunity moving forward to have a vibrant manufacturing base. We need to make sure, across the state, that there are people developing the new products and technologies and how to meet the customer’s needs.
What makes you proudest about Medford Fabrication?
We are most proud of providing family-wage jobs for our highly skilled and dedicated employees in the Rogue Valley.