WATER VALLEY – Valley Tool, Inc. was presented the prestigious Business Spotlight Award by the Water Valley Area Chamber of Commerce last Wednesday. Chamber president Angie Hodge presented the award to the industry that has been a cornerstone of the community for over 22 years.
The formation of the new company started on October 1, 1997, when owners Cayce and Michelle Washington purchased Concept Mold, Inc., a precision tool and die machine shop already operating in Water Valley. Starting with five employees, quick response to customer growth soon required more staff. Three months after the purchase six more employees were hired to staff the addition of a third party inspection service and subassembly repair work. From that point forward, Cayce Washington explained that numerous opportunities allowed the company to employ as many as 200 in peak periods.
Currently there are 140 people employed at the company and the 2019 payroll was $4.3 million.
“Ninety-three percent of the employees at Valley Tool live in Yalobusha County,” Washington noted during the Spotlight Award presentation.
The machine shop serves many manufacturing companies, supporting tooling and fixturing needs. Simply explained, Valley Tool assists manufacturers produce the products they make. The machine shop is capable of making components as precise as splitting the human hair 15 times. The ability to produce such precise measurements allows for the consistency necessary for manufacturers to make the products they need repeatedly without error.
The products built by Valley Tool support industries across the globe that include oil and gas, heavy equipment, aerospace, automotive, medical, firearms, commercial equipment and motorcycles. Many times the exact use for components built at Valley Tool are not known during production. One example in the medical industry was a component fabricated by Valley Tool that provided support to save the lives of newborn, premature infants. In another project for a medical customer, instruments built were overnighted to a surgeon for a medical procedure scheduled the next day.
The company has also assisted with the development of many components on vehicles across the country. Air conditioning hose assemblies require components built by the employees at Valley Tool. Transmission components on vehicles are manufactured using tooling from the local shop. Components for equipment to perform front end alignments and tire balancing are also built locally, as are components for hand tools used by mechanics.
“The ability to produce precision-built components requires tremendous skills,” Washington also explained. The skills to produce the parts made at Valley Tool are developed locally within the facility through an apprentice program.
“This is a direct reflection of the local skills available for employers in Yalobusha County, it shows there are talented employees who are willing to be trained to perform high-skilled jobs,” Washington stressed. “The company is proud of the number of employees who are part of the Valley Tool family. Without the dedication and willingness of the employees, the growth of the company simply would not be possible.”
Name-Drawing for VISA Card and Gift Basket
In honor of this Business Spotlight award for Valley Tool, Inc., the Water Valley Area Chamber of Commerce is offering a $25 gift card to the person whose name is drawn at noon on Friday, February 14. Everyone is encouraged to participate in this drawing, and you have “10 days and two ways” to sign up between Feb. 5 and Feb. 14.
You may (1) stop by the Chamber Office any time during regular office hours to sign up OR you may (2) sign up on the Chamber’s Facebook page. Go to: Water Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, and find the post called “Win a $25 VISA Card.” Then, type a COMMENT to answer this question: How thick is the human hair on average?
Please note you MUST answer the question to participate even though a correct answer is not required to win. “LIKES” only on FB and hand-written ballots with no answer supplied will not be included in the drawing.
Both types of ballots will be collected and combined, one per person; and the winner will be called OR notified on Facebook. The winner’s name and photograph will be published in the following edition of the North Mississippi Herald.