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A Boro success: Brodie Meter
Company building strong ties in Bulloch
brodie
Standing on the manufacturing floor of the Brodie Meter Company on Highway 301 North in Statesboro are (l-r) Joe Aldrich, procurement and customer service manager, Tom Clark, ceo and president, and Henry Webster, vice president of development. The name of the plant was changed in 2003 from Daniel Measurement and Control to Brodie Meter when Clark, Webster, Mike Sultan, and Metter native, Johnny Parrish purchased the plant facility, property, and manufacturing equipment from the Emerson Corporation. Brodie Meter manufactures and sells liquid flow meters and equipment to the petroleum industry worldwide. - photo by JAN MOORE/staff

Brodie Meter

    In 2002,  manufacturing operations at the Daniel Measurement and Control industrial plant  in Statesboro had ground to a virtual halt. Daniel Measurement and Control owner,  Emerson (NYSE: EMR), had moved production of many of Daniel's product lines to Mexico resulting in a greatly underutilized facility.
    Jim Switzer, senior vice president of development for Emerson, a diversified global technology company with 275 manufacturing locations worldwide, said the Statesboro plant had become so underused that a buyer for it was sought.
    "Because there had been a need for business reasons to move some product manufacturing out of it, production at the Statesboro facility had reached a low point," Switzer said. "At that point, there was a clear need for someone to step into that plant and rebuild it."
    "We felt obligated to the Statesboro community to sell it to a group of experienced managers that could do just that," Switzer said.
    Thus began a nine month process which ended with the acquisition of the plant facility, property, and manufacturing equipment by Tom Clark, Henry Webster, Mike Sultan, and Metter native, Johnny Parrish. In February 2003, the local Daniel Measurement plant became the Brodie Meter Company, LLC, providing liquid flow meters and control equipment to the petroleum and industrial markets.
    Constructed in the 1950's and operated initially under the name of Rockwell Industries, the manufacturing facility on Highway 301 North, was sold to Emerson in 1970. The name was changed to Brooks Instrument and subsequently Daniel Measurement. Even though ownership of the plant has changed three times in the last five decades, its mission to provide meters and calibration equipment to the petroleum industry worldwide has not.
    "When I worked for Emerson in the 1990's, I was based in Houston, but the Statesboro plant fell under my area of responsibility," said Clark, who serves as ceo and president of Brodie. "I knew the plant's potential then, and I was very interested in it."
    Clark left Emerson in 2000 and formed his own company remaining active in the petroleum industry. He expressed an interest then in buying the Statesboro plant, but it wasn't until 2002 that Emerson became a motivated seller.
    That is when Clark put together his management team and approached the Development Authority of Bulloch County seeking aid from the local community in purchasing the plant.
    Chairman of the development authority, Earl Dabbs, introduced Clark to local financial institutions and a partnership with the Statesboro business community was born.
    "From the time that I met Tom (Clark), I had a lot of confidence in his abilities," Dabbs said. "He had great experience in the industry and told us there were some of the best welders and technicians in the world out at that plant. We just wanted to help him bring all of the pieces together and keep good industrial jobs here."
    With local financing in place, Clark and partners purchased the plant embarking on a "textbook" corporate turnaround. In just three and a half years, the number of employees has increased from 52 to 76. Clark said gross revenues for the plant have increased by two and half times and productivity is up 59 percent impacting the bottom line of the company dramatically.
    Clark said the employees have made all of the difference in turning around the plant's fortunes.
    "Everybody that became associated with Brodie, whether they were an owner in the business or whether they were an employee of the business, had been in this industry for a very long time so the learning curve was very shallow, very flat," Clark said. "There were not a whole lot of training problems and we didn't have any lost time relative to a big transition."
    One of those employees is Brodie procurement and customer service manger, Joe Aldrich. With the exception of a two year tour in the army during the Vietnam War, Aldrich has worked in the plant since 1965.
    "In its hey day in the eighties, this plant employed over 800 people," Aldrich said. "When Tom and his team purchased it, we were down to 105."
    "I went from working for an enormous corporation to working for a handful of very capable, nice people," Aldrich said. "It was like going from jail to church. I am thrilled."
    Peggy Chapman, president of the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Development Authority of Bulloch County, remains grateful for the sacrifices made by Clark and his team.
    "We were so fortunate that Tom (Clark) and his partners saw the full potential of the Daniel plant," Chapman said. "They have uprooted their families to purchase and run a manufacturing facility that was leaving us. They are very good folks that are committed to their company and this community."
    Webster, who serves as vice president of business development for Brodie, feels that he and his partners were fortunate as well.
    "Statesboro embraced us from the beginning," Webster said. "We would not have gotten the attention of the financial institutions in a larger city."
    "I continue to be amazed at how civically minded communities in this part of the country are," Webster said. "They really care about keeping jobs and bringing in good industry. It is not that way in large cities in the north."
    Clark is proud of the Statesboro roots his new company has sown.
    "Of all of the industrial manufacturing businesses in town, we truly are a Statesboro company," Clark said. "Our corporate fabric is woven through this community and we are very proud of that."
    "Any sales revenue that we earn goes in the bank here," he said. "Our legal professionals are located here. Our accountants are located here, and our employees paychecks stay here. We are part of this community totally and economically. I think that makes us somewhat unique in a very good way."
    That is a good for Statesboro as Clark and his partners continue to evaluate potential acquisitions to bring to their facility.
    "We have been and are continuing to pursue acquisitions to bring to our plant," he said. "We would like to acquire a company in our industry so that  the distribution channels would be the same and we could house them in an unused area of the plant. Even though we ship our meters worldwide, we want to grow right here."