Heavy Metal, the journalist, tries to stay as objective as possible when it comes to international business. You won't get fake news about plastics from Heavy Metal!
But in my personal life, I try to buy American-made products whenever possible. I look at labels. Study those country-of-origin numbers listed on the stickers of new cars. Heavy Metal buys U.S.-made shoes, except for those cheap tennis shoes for cutting the grass. Heavy Metal tries — sadly, now mostly in vain — to purchase U.S.-made underwear. (OK, maybe this is TMI.)
That's why this edition of Heavy Metal is pleased to take you to Gordon Brush Manufacturing Co. Inc. in City of Industry, Calif. On June 28, the company became the 2018 winner of the Made: In America Award from the Washington-based group of the same name.
The nonprofit group tries to increase public awareness and educate Americans about the importance of a strong U.S. manufacturing base.
Gordon Brush President and CEO Ken Rakusin called winning the award "an amazing honor and accomplishment" for the company.
"Even under competitive threats, the company has been steadfast in its philosophy and commitment to manufacturing in the United States," Rakusin said. "In spite of many issues, I was determined to build and grow my business in the United States by reinvesting profits into the purchase of millions of dollars in manufacturing equipment and machinery. Pride in contributing to the American economy is near and dear to my heart."
Another honor came on Aug. 30 when U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano presented Rakusin and employees of Gordon Brush a Certificate of Congressional Recognition at a ceremony at the company's 183,000-square-foot headquarters plant.
Gordon Brush, founded in 1951, is a major manufacturer of all kinds of brushes and mops for markets such as janitorial, medical, electronics, manufacturing, military, art, aerospace and pharmaceutical. Think brushes are mundane? Gordon Brush has made brushes for the U.S. Army to clear the main gun on Abrams tanks!
It makes more than 17,000 brushes and brooms. And it can design specialty brushes. Metal. Wood. And yes plastic, including structural foam and injection brush blocks and handles. Plastics applications include antistatic brushes, bore brushes, and brushes for clean room use.
According to the company's website, Gordon Brush was founded by Don Gordon. In 1973, aerospace engineer William Loitz bought the company. In 1990, Rakusin left a career at Xerox to run Gordon Brush, and he later bought into the company. Rakusin bought Loitz's interest in the brush manufacturer in 2010.
Gordon Brush has grown organically and made a series of acquisitions over the years, steadily expanding its reach into new markets. A notable one for the plastics industry came earlier this year when Gordon Brush bought Easy Reach Supply LLC, in Hattiesburg, Miss., an American manufacturer of wash brushes, extension handles, injection and foam molded brush blocks and other janitorial products.
Alan Schechter, vice president of sales and marketing, said the Hattiesburg plant brought injection molding to Gordon Brush. Before buying Easy Reach, the company used U.S. customer molders — and still does for some products, he said.
The Made: In America Award is front and center on Gordon Brush's website. "We promote very heavily our American heritage," Schechter said.
Heavy Metal salutes Gordon Brush. May your brushes always be American-made!
Maybe in a future blog I will tell the story of trying to buy an American flag but only finding U.S. flags made in China. There was a loud rant, right in the store. Of course, there needs to be a plastics angle to merit a blog in Plastics News. Even if your name is … Heavy Metal.
Bill Bregar is author of the Heavy Metal blog and a senior reporter for Plastics News. Follow him on Twitter @MachineryBeat25.