And in recent months, the outlook for Carroll Engineering looks even brighter. In fact, the small, “hometown business in Lawnvale hollow, is flourishing.
“We have been successful because of the dedicated employees who've worked here through the years,” said Jerry Hall, president of Carroll Engineering Company. “Offering a great service, combined with God's blessing and a team effort that envelopes passion for what we do and a vision for growth, has allowed this company to expand, and has not only allowed the stockholders to benefit but everybody throughout the organization.”
It may have been teamwork, passion and integrity that got the company where it is today, but a recent acquisition by a Boston-based venture capital company is expected to propel the nearly-30-year-old company to the next level.
County and state officials gathered on the site of Carroll Engineering's new human resources building Monday for a celebration of the company's accomplishments. It was also an occasion for company officials to share their vision for the future with Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop and members of the fiscal court, as well as state Rep. Brandon Smith.
Carroll Engineering was recently purchased by Commonwealth Venture Funding Group, and aggressive plans are being made to launch the mine repair and services company into a nationwide and perhaps global market. But, as Hall maintained throughout Monday morning's gathering, it's also his goal to see the company's roots remain firmly planted in Harlan in order for the community to benefit.
Smith said Monday may have appeared to be a simple open house for a local company, but that there was a bigger realization to be made.
“Success stories are still a reality,” Smith said. “And the story of Carroll Engineering gives us hope in an area where economic challenges and failures have been the norm. What impressed me most about this company is that it started with three men working out of a house basement, and today it has expanded into several branch offices, and they accomplished this with the least amount of capital possible. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, and very little tax incentive, but the men of this company made it work, and their story is inspiring to hear.”
Smith said what also impressed him about the little-known Harlan County business is that it's a place where products and services are being manufactured on a local level.
“It's all taking place here,” Smith said. “We've sent coal out of here and other natural resources like timber out of here for other companies to utilize, but at this company, they're putting together state-of-the-art mining equipment right here in Harlan County. That's significant. They've done all this without state assistance, and now that their new ownership is making strides to expand their market, their potential could be limitless with added state and federal support.”
Now known as The Carroll Group Inc., which consists of Carroll Engineering and Delta Electric, the Carroll Engineering division has expanded into five locations in Pikeville, Morganfield, Jasper Ala., and Wise, Va. as well as Harlan. Delta Electric includes locations in Logan and Beckley W.Va. The seven offices, according to Hall, allow for the company to provide blanket sales and service coverage area to the coal mining and industrial markets with electronic and instrumentation equipment.
The company has also placed emphasis on technology and safety devices through the years.
Hall said his company's current expansion plans, which include the opening of the human resource office, will benefit the region.
“This means that additional jobs will come to and remain in our county,” Hall said. “As our company continues to grow, we will be able to provide even more jobs to the people of our region as well as more tax revenue for our area.”
There are 38 employees at the Harlan office and 86 corporate wide. Harlan shop foreman Dane Ledford pointed out that there was 145 years combined experience among the local employees, and that the technicians were highly trained in the most advanced mine technology.
Grieshop said he not only excited but proud that a company like Carroll Engineering was located in his county. He, like Smith, considers the company a “homegrown” success story.
“Their foot is now in the door, and now we're looking for ways fiscal court and state government can play a part in giving the boost that's needed for even more growth,” Grieshop said.
Ground breaking on a larger repair facility for Carroll Engineering will take place on Jan. 19.
The facility, which will also house mid-grade manufacturing, will be located behind the company's current building.