Full Service: Metal Craft and Riverside Machine and Engineering
Location: Elk River, Minnesota, and Eau Claire, Wisconsin | Employees: 310 | Specialty: Manufactures parts made of metal, plastic, or raw bar material for use in various industries
Machine shops are a Minnesota specialty, and sister companies Metal Craft and Riverside Machine and Engineering are leaders, providing manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers in a wide range of key industries including medical devices, defense contracting, electronics, and thermal management. The second-generation family-owned companies offer full-service manufacturing, and they pride themselves on applying that philosophy to all aspects of the business—even beyond the manufacturing floor.
“The difference with us is that we can take your project on and we do all of the services in-house,” says CEO Trisha Mowry, whose father founded Metal Craft in 1978. (Metal Craft acquired Riverside in 1996.) “Many machine shops will have milling and turning, but they don’t have the other services like gun drilling, grinding, and welding.”
The sister companies are known for taking on projects that others turn away, and partnering with local suppliers when needed. “We make it simple,” Mowry says.
Metal Craft and Riverside have grown 20 percent year over year for the past four years. The companies had projected 30 percent growth for 2020, but that fell short due to the pandemic. Even so, leadership continued planning for the future, purchasing new equipment and adding employees.
Because hiring continues to be a challenge, Metal Craft and Riverside made it a point to bring in and retain new talent. “We are all looking for employees,” says Mowry. “The trade and technology sector had been struggling long before Covid.” In response, the companies have opened their doors for tours and are partnering with local trade schools like Anoka Technical College and Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis to get “kids, parents, and grandparents in to see what it is that we do and let them know there are opportunities in this field to make a good living. We want them to get past the stigma that a machine shop is a dirty place.”