By Clint Confehr
Senior Staff Writer
Marshall County Jail trusties will soon sort recyclable metal, plastic and paper in a 60,000-square-foot building instead of a few blocks from Lewisburg's public square in an open-ended Quonset hut behind the Hardison Office Annex.
A lease-purchase agreement was signed Friday with Dan Stiltz, president of Marshall Manufacturing, who led the Tennessee-chartered company through 35 of its 44 years. Final sale is expected this spring after environmental testing is complete.
Marshall County Solid Waste Director Morgan Thomas on Friday was planning his department's move this week and described what must be done to make the building ready for recyclable material.
"We've got to build a bunker so recyclables can be dumped there," Thomas said of a wall to contain loads brought in the building. "A skid loader will dump materials on the conveyor across the sorting line."
Trusties will pick through the recyclables in the old factory just as they have in the Quonset hut, he said. Once they're sorted, materials are baled.
"We will have the ability to store the materials for a longer period of time and take advantages of peaks in the market," Thomas said.
The building has a large drive-through door for roll-off trucks used to carry recyclable materials. The door is also large enough for Lewisburg's old garbage trucks that have been pressed into service for collection of paper, plastic and metal.
The building's $585,000 price has been described as well below comparable buildings and Stiltz said it's the only asset the company has left.
Because Marshall Manufacturing used oil-cooled machines, there's a possibility of contamination. Because it's possible, additional testing is required. The lease-purchase agreement is written so that rent is applied against the purchase price.
Friday, the building was almost completely empty.
At its peak, Marshall Manufacturing employed 150 people, had a payroll of about $3.5 million and some $12 million in annual sales, said Stiltz, who complimented the employees. A good number of them had 20 and 30 years experience at the plant.
Halliburton Co. and Murray Ohio Corp., were its best-known customers: Murray for bicycle parts; Halliburton for its various oil-related work.
Headquartered in Brentwood, Murray had a Lawrenceburg plant. Stiltz credits Murray's purchasing agent, Bob Bivins of Lewisburg, with persuading Marshall's founder, Paul Ducanis, into moving part of Pan American Metal from Miami, Fla., to Lewisburg to cut transportation costs.
"Murray was a good company until they sold it to the Brits," Stiltz said of what ended Marshall Manufacturing. "And the bicycle business went to China in the early 1990s.
"We were subcontractors to a prime contractor with a Defense Department contractor," Stiltz said. Marshall made 40 mm ammunition parts, Shoulder Mounted Assault Weapon parts, mortar parts and sonar buoy parts. Martin supplied Lockheed Martin and Talley Ordinance in Arizona, which has a new name, as do other DOD prime contractors
Lewisburg Printing sold decals for bikes. Marshall made five parts for bicycles.
The building was shuttered in 2009. It's reopening now.