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Manufacturing plant to drop LeTourneau from name

By Mike Elswick melswick@news-journal.com
May 17, 2012 at 11 p.m.


The Longview manufacturing plant that has had the LeTourneau named tied to it for 67 years is going through a big change - this one in a name that will not include the LeTourneau moniker.

The former LeTourneau Technologies was purchased by Milwaukee, Wisc.-based Joy Global for $1.1 billion in June and will be known by that name in the future, company officials announced Thursday.

Michael Sutherlin, Joy Global CEO, said in a prepared statement released Thursday that all of the parent company's businesses will be aligned under a single identity.

"As one seamless organization, we will be better positioned to become a stronger, unified company that directly serves the needs of our mining customers worldwide," Sutherlin said. "The LeTourneau name will continue to adorn the loaders produced here and shipped throughout the world. We are proud to be part of East Texas."

In addition to Longview-based LeTourneau, the company operates P&H MinePro Services – South Central Operations in Kilgore.

The Kilgore operation offers management and support for surface mining operations, industrial markets including utilities, manufacturing and construction in a multi-state area that includes Texas, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

"The P&H and Joy brands will continue to identify our products that offer the industry leading performance and reliability," Sutherland said.

Randy Klocke, vice president and general manager loading products for Joy Global, said the name change will become more visible in the East Texas area in the near future.

"The move to one Joy Global will happen over the upcoming weeks and months," Klocke said. "We are holding employee meetings to announce the roll out of our new identity, and we will immediately start working on a wide range of business process changes including new building signage that reflect the one, stronger, unified Joy Global."

Klocke said as an example of how the company plans to be more involved in the community, Joy Global recently presented $2,500 donations each to two local nonprofit groups - Greater Longview United Way and the Boys and Girls Club of Gregg County.

Legacy lives on

At another Longview-based institution bearing the LeTourneau name, LeTourneau University President Dale Lunsford said he sees the historic change as a positive for the community and also a time to reflect on the contributions of the company's and university's founder, R.G. LeTourneau.

"I see Joy Global's arrival in Longview as a very positive event," Lunsford said. "They are a well-respected firm with a bright future, and I see indications they will invest in the successful LeTourneau products which will continued to be manufactured here."

The university houses a display of LeTourneau's legacy that Lunsford said will live on past a name change for the company.

"It is an occasion to remember how Mr. LeTourneau's arrival in Longview changed the course of the community," he said. "The company's innovations developed in Longview fundamentally changed two industries: earth moving and offshore drilling."

Lunsford said the university that developed alongside the firm has grown into an independent institution with a worldwide reputation for excellence in Christian higher education.

"The legacy of the LeTourneau-Longview connection should encourage all of us in the community today that we continue to be the home of some of the world's most innovative and productive professionals," Lunsford said.

Locally, Joy Global employs more than 1,000 workers at facilities in Longview and Kilgore with about another 200 jobs tied to the company through contract labor, officials said.

The company's facilities and workforce have been a significant part of the East Texas economy since 1945 when LeTourneau first opened his Longview plant.

Joy Global has about 14,000 employees worldwide and is a global supplier of equipment, systems and direct services for mining. The company purchased LeTourneau from Houston-based Rowan Cos. this past year when the company's annual local payroll was pegged at more than $30 million, officials said.

Rowan had owned LeTourneau since 1994, when it purchased operations from another Houston-based firm - Marathon. Under Marathon, the Longview plant was known as Marathon LeTourneau.

Included in the Joy Global purchase were LeTourneau Technologies' Drilling Systems and Offshore Products divisions. Those are based in Houston and Vicksburg, Miss., and were sold by Joy Global later in 2011.

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