Crandall Stats and Sensors, a Machesney Park company has only been around for about 5 years, but its roots in the Rockford area go back more than a century.
The family owned business just celebrated a milestone and is in the process of re-inventing itself.
Walking through Crandall Stats and Sensors, at 9918 N Alpine Road, is like taking a mini-engineering lesson in something we all take for granted. Many of the company’s products look familiar, and so might the name on them.
“This is the Barber Colman design,” said owner, Mike Crandall.
Crandall’s experience covers nearly four decades of engineering and production, going all the way back to when the business was part of Barber Colman.
“Our history really starts with Howard Colman, about 1900 or so,” Crandall said. “The whole Corman legacy is very important to me. I look up to Howard Colman.”
That’s one reason, when the opportunity presented itself to buy the division, Crandall jumped at it. By that time, that part of the Barber Colman business was owned by Schneider Electric.
Schneider approached Crandall about taking it over.
“I knew the products and I went home one night and said, ‘Hey, Kathy! Guess what I did today? I bought a business!'” Crandall remembers. “She wasn’t too happy. She thought we were going to be retiring and working in some national park someplace. She got used to it and she kind of likes it now.”
That was around five years ago.
Just last week, after leasing the building for a couple of years, Crandall Stats and Sensors bought their 22,500 square foot building.
Schasha Lofquist is in charge of operations. He was part of the team that Crandall brough with him, to make the more than 400 products Crandall employees turn out.
“Any time you see a Barber Colman name or a Schneider Electric name in a school, in a church, in a hospital, mainly, you’re going to know that it was made here, in this facility in Machesney Park,” Lofquist said.
Crandall’s move to buy the company saved more than 30 jobs when Schneider decided to end local operations.
One of Crandall’s goals was to keep people working. Most of the staff is still with him.
A quick conversation with many of them make it clear that they stayed with the company because they’re happy there.
“I was just very blessed,” Crandall said. “The people that, when I started… I picked a good crew. I thought it would be a good chemistry, and it’s worked out pretty well for everybody.”
With pneumatics being replaced by more electronics, Crandall and his team area on a mission to add products and services while keeping Colman’s legacy going.