BY JOHN REID BLACKWELL Richmond Times-Dispatch
Aluminum products maker Service Center Metals Inc. is marking its 10th year in business with an expansion of its plant in Prince George County.
The company has started construction on an 80,000-square-foot building adjacent to its plant in the SouthPoint Business Park.
The expansion is expected to be complete in the spring, and Service Center Metals also is adding about 20 jobs — a 16 percent increase in the number of positions.
Hiring for those jobs, mostly production positions, has started and will continue into early 2014, company co-founder and President Scott Kelley said.
The company’s business has recovered from a steep drop in demand during the recession, he said.
“We are at a record pace right now,” he said. “The economy has rebounded, our plant has become more efficient and we have picked up market share.”
Kelley co-founded Service Center Metals with Randy Weis and Chip Dollins Jr., who also are executives with the company.
Service Center Metals makes aluminum rods, bars and tubing used in various industries including machinery and equipment, transportation and consumer products.
The company, which employs about 120 people, supplies those aluminum extrusions to metal service centers, which supply manufacturers and other customers in the United States and Canada.
The current plant has two metal presses — named Elvis and The Boss for rock ’n’ roll stars — that produce extrusions.
The new addition will house a compact remelt plant, which will enable Service Center Metals to recycle about 75 million pounds of its own scrap metal a year for fabrication into extrusions, instead of sourcing it from a supplier.
The addition is being built by The Hollingsworth Cos., the private developer of SouthPoint Business Park. Service Center Metals will lease the building.
The three co-founders worked for Henrico County-based Reynolds Metals Co. before its acquisition by Alcoa Inc. in 2000. They started Service Center Metals in 2002 and opened the plant the following year.
Since its founding, the company has produced 635 million pounds of aluminum extrusions. It doubled the size of its plant in 2006, then survived a 40 percent drop in demand during the recession of 2008.
The company celebrated its new expansion and its 10-year anniversary on Monday with a ceremony and open house at its plant, attended by several hundred people including Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.
The founders even had a Ferris wheel brought in for the celebration.
Bolling called Service Center Metals an example of a home-grown business that proves how manufacturing can work well in America.
“We want Virginia to be a leader in advanced manufacturing,” he said.
Kelley told the crowd that the company has been successful not because of any complex business strategy, but because of its employees and the people who have supported it, financially and with advice.
“Since the very beginning, we have surrounded ourselves with great people,” he said.