Danville Metal Stamping

Danville Metal Stamping is celebrating 75 years in business.

DANVILLE — A celebration was delayed a year due to COVID-19, but Danville Metal Stamping is celebrating its 75th anniversary this weekend.

“We are having a private event for our employees, current and retirees and both groups’ family members,” said Gardner Peck, executive vice president.

The event is at the Vermilion Regional Airport.

It’s really the 76th year for the company that produces metal components for the aerospace and gas turbine industries. It makes gas turbine engines for military and commercial airplanes.

Peck said they really couldn’t have a big celebration last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s less of an issue now, so they are celebrating the milestone this year.

About 730 people have RSVP’d for the private event on Saturday.

“It’s kind of a party,” he said, adding that they are having food catered in; a band and DJ; children’s activities including pumpkin decorating, bounce houses, balloon animals and face painting; and other fun planned.

Peck said they’ve had a really strong group of employees.

Danville Metal Stamping has about 380 current employees.

History

Originated in 1946 and incorporated in 1948, Danville Metal Stamping Co., Inc., has grown from a three-person shop producing straightforward stampings to up to about a 450-person company producing a variety of metal components for the aerospace and gas turbine industries. Companies such as Pratt & Whitney, General Electric, Honeywell, Hamilton Sundstrand, Siemens Westinghouse, and Rolls-Royce depend upon Danville Metal for a variety of gas turbine and aerospace hardware, according to its website.

“My father-in-law Jake started the business with his brother Dale in 1946,” Judd Peck, president of Danville Metal Stamping, told the Commercial-News in 2015.

Jacob “Jake” and Dale Beck originally were from Pennsylvania, so the reason the business was located in Danville was by happenstance.

“Jacob and Dale were coming home from the war. Dale was stationed at Chanute and had a girlfriend in Danville,” Peck said.

Dale Beck started the company with Don Reed and Ed Schulenburg Sr. as Beck Reed Manufacturing Co. in a 360-square-foot garage on Oakwood Avenue, where they manufactured tools, dies, jigs and fixtures for resale.

Dale persuaded his brother, who had returned to Pennsylvania, to join him in Danville and go into business together in 1946. The Beck brothers bought out Dale’s original partners and incorporated Danville Metal Stamping in 1948 at the former site of the No. 2 Western Brickyard on Oakwood Avenue near Ellsworth Park.

Danville Metal Stamping’s first job was to manufacture electrical contacts for Time-O-Matic. Next it manufactured carousel store display racks for the J.M. Young Co. in Danville and then insulation hangers for the Goodloe E. Moore Co. of Danville, which is now GEMCO on Griggs Street.

In the 1950s the company developed a process to make hollow airfoil shapes early on in the gas turbine era, and that’s when the business took off. Gas turbines are used at power stations and in jet engines.

“Dale and Jake were kind of cowboys and flew all kinds of planes,” Peck said.

A plane crash during a snowstorm in 1962 in Colorado claimed the lives of Dale and his family, leaving Jake wondering whether Danville Metal Stamping could continue without Dale who was known as “the business maker,” Peck said.

Not only did the company continue, it grew and thrived.

Gardner Peck said the last couple years during the coronavirus pandemic have been difficult. The company is down some on employees, but had no layoffs, he said.

Gardner said their product mix changed. The demand for commercial parts had dropped, but military demand really sustained them.

The demand is now back up for commercial parts again.

“There’s very strong demand for our parts,” Gardner said.

The company continues to operate on Oakwood Avenue, with a corporate building and heat-treating building and manufacturing, and also has a site on Eastgate Drive after moving from Martin Street, where it makes inserts and cooling tubes.

For the future, “we want to continue growing,” Gardner said. “We’ve got strong customer demand for our parts, and we’re constantly trying to hire and train new employees.”

He said they continue to make sure their quality is right on point.

He said they’ll continue to advance with new technology and improve their process to get the best products to their customers.

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