A Northeast Ohio manufacturer is being hailed as a model for industrial jobs in the region. Iron Horse Engineering hosted representatives from the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network – or MAGNET -- for a tour of its facility in Parkman. The company makes items such as plastic railroad ties and rubber rail boots to isolate vibration between trains and the surrounding concrete at railroad crossings.
The company has about 50 employees, and MAGNET CEO Ethan Karp says they’re an important part of the manufacturing that drives Ohio’s economy.
“[It] might be 20 percent of the jobs, but it indirectly affects half of all the jobs. And it’s companies like these – mainly small companies – that are being able to provide those skilled jobs [and] good wages.
“There’s no doubt that over the last 30 years, the field has lost jobs. But the amazing statistic is there’s more being produced -- in terms of dollars of output in our Northeast Ohio economy -- than there [was] 20 years ago.
"These companies are that much more productive. There’s that much more goods going out, which means that much more coming in to the economy so that every one of the employees of this organization here can go out and buy a pizza. And they can go out and use a bank. And they can do all those things that support our economy.”
The tour also included representatives from the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association, a lobbying group for railroad equipment makers. They cite the past year as one of the best, legislatively, with the passage of the new Transportation Bill for companies like Iron Horse that supply the railroad industry.