Endura Products, a manufacturing business with a long legacy in Prineville, continues to evolve in the wood industry.
Ian Smyth, Division Operations Leader of Endura, indicated that for the past three years, Endura, like many manufacturing industries, has been battling back from the fallout from COVID.
"Most facilities were clicking along before the epidemic started, and they went through layoffs and then demand picked up immensely," noted Smyth.
He said that for Endura, they have particularly struggled with staffing. In March, when Smyth began his position in Prineville, they had 176 staff, an increase from 2020, when they bottomed out at 120 workers. As of August, they currently have 233 employees.
"We have added 33% in four months,"
Smyth indicated that they have focused on human capital and getting the staff back to a level that they need to support their customers.
Smyth said that if applicants are willing to learn, the opportunities are there for advancement.
"Bringing people in and keeping them safe, that is a lot of what I have really focused on during my tenure. There is absolutely nothing worth getting hurt over here, and everything can be done safely. We want to send every single person home safe every single day," he emphasized.
The job opportunities that are most in demand include utility and technical jobs (tier II). These include tasks such as operating and setting up equipment, maintenance level tasks and maintenance professionals, such as electricians and millwrights.
"You are only stuck if you want to be. Dean (Noyes, human resources) has done a really good job of setting up a clear job tier and rate progression…..you have a clear career path from day one."
Dean Noyes, Human Resources Business Partner for Oregon Division of Endura Products Inc., said that they have hired a number of people who have not had been exposed to the mill industry.
"There has been an interesting introduction into what this opportunity is for people who have entry-level workforce jobs, like stocking shelves at a grocery store or working at a fast-food restaurant, and they want to take the next step. You have a true living-wage job with a full gamut of benefits and a full suite of products that we offer."
In the plant's laminating layout system, upgrades have taken place, and a brand-new laminating line is being installed to automate the process.
"It changes the jobs a little bit — it still requires the same amount of people. Instead of stacking, you are monitoring a robot stacking," added Smyth.
Before beginning his position at Endura, Smyth worked for Boise Cascade in Willamina, Oregon.
"Oregon needs houses, desperately, and we are excited to be part of that solution and helping provide people the security to their homes as they are built."
Endura Products Inc. includes 575,000 square feet and 88 acres of manufacturing facilities, and they are located at 1155 N. Main St., in Prineville. Endura purchased the facility in December 2016.
Endura is a market leader in entry door system components. Their headquarters are in Colfax, North Carolina — a suburb of Greensboro. The OEM Division sales team operates in Clackamas, Oregon.
The company does not make the door panel itself but makes the majority of the components that go around the door system. This includes the door frames, hardware, multi-point locking systems and weather-sealing products that keep the air and water from coming inside a structure.
In addition to the new lamination process, Noyes highlighted a machine in their rough mill that takes larger components and optimizes them, and after taking out imperfections, processes the product back into usable boards for components they produce for other manufacturers.
Noyes has been in his position at Endura Products for approximately four months.
"We have been growing ever since, so it is kind of nice," added Noyes.
He emphasized that through engineering efforts and the implementation of new and streamlined processes, Endura has been able to manage increased productivity. Their management team is growing, due to adding lines to the production. They have added a second shift supervisor and are recruiting for a second shift due to the high demand for the products from the Oregon (OEM) Division.
Noyes indicated that they have employees who have been there more than 45 years. He noted that in terms of operations and technology, employees are doing less laborious tasks, and as they engineer out of that process, people are supervising machines instead of manually moving material.
Endura recently hired a young man who recently graduated from Redmond Proficiency Academy and completed two years at Ohio State in electrical engineering. Noyes said that they created an engineering intern program so he could intern with their engineering team.
Evan Newell, Engineering intern, indicated that after he completes studying electrical engineering, he hopes to get in job in the field on the contracting level. By working in his internship at Endura, he gets to see the ground operations and the importance of replicating a process.
"The ground operations are starting from the base level and making the machine work, but at the end of the day, we can have the greatest research and development in the world, but it's imitation over invention, so if you can't imitate the invention, it's not going to matter," pointed out Newell.
Newell has done a little bit of everything during his employment at Endura, but he has also had the opportunity develop innovative engineering solutions. He recently designed a time-delayed misting apparatus to help the glue process, which provides a more superior product.
"It's been pretty cool," concluded Newell.
Smyth and Noyes concluded that they are striving to become more visible in the community. Endura sponsors a softball, soccer, and cheer team and has been out in the community to increase their visibility.
"We are starting to build that momentum where people show up and say, 'Hey, I have heard this is a great place to work,' and that is the best reward for Endura,"' said Noyes.
Endura Products Inc.
1155 N. Main St., in Prineville
Ian Smyth, Division Operations Leader
Dean Noyes, Human Resources Business Partner, Oregon Division
Office contact: 541-447-4195
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.