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Machesney Park tool company defies odds, survives 50 years in business

Made in the Stateline

MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — In a challenging industry, Ford Tool and Machining has managed to be around for five decades.

The employees could talk about their jobs all day, so you could say that’s a sign that they love what they do.

It may be one of the reasons why the company, located at 2205 Range Road, has been around for so long, and Ford Tool and Machining President and General Manager, Thom Chustak, acknowledges just that.

“We’re very, very lucky over the last 50 years to be able to attract and retain good talent,” Chustak said. “Because at the end of the day, it’s people that make the parts, it’s people that have a good quality work ethic and that make quality parts. And they’re irreplaceable.”

“This is kind of an old school generation how machining started in a lathe,” Chris the Steel Division Supervisor said.

Paul the EDM Operator has been associated with one of Ford Tool’s divisions since 1981.

“[I] had the opportunity to start at a small shop outside of town, and started working in there and working up through the years into management and so forth and now I’m here with the top of the line equipment,” Paul said.

The Ford Tool Machinist, Gordon, had to get used to some advanced technology changes after 35 years in the business.

“In all the years I’ve been a machine operator I have never operated anything numerical controlled, or anything like this so it was really scary at first,” Gordon said.

People like Chris, Paul and Gordon are valuable to the next generation of Ford Tool workers.

Nate, who is another machinist at Ford Steel and Machining said that he’s gained a lot of experience from the operators.

“Through working with them I kind of was given more responsibility, more responsibility learning more and more technical skill along the way,” Nate said.

That seems to be the typical path for people at Ford, even for the co-owner Doug Beto.

“I started here in 2003 doing entry level work type stuff, you know, cleaning machines and doing the dirty stuff no one else wanted to do,” Beto said.

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