Gov. Kim Reynolds visited M3 Fabrication Nov. 1 to learn more about one of Bloomfield’s newest industries and its willingness to promote education in the trades and encourage workforce development
Brothers Tyler and Sam McClure, with the assistance of their father Phil, began the business in 2014 with the intent of manufacturing covers for egress window wells as well as powder coating the custom-made window wells. When Jack Boatman joined the McClures in the venture, he helped them fulfill a niche market for custom carts and racks.
M3’s initial facility constructed in Bloomfield’s Industrial Park measured 14,500 sq. feet.
“In five years, we expected to turn a profit,” Sam told Gov. Reynolds. “But in 18 months, we already needed to build an addition to the plant.”
A second addition to the plant was completed in 2019 and a dual-arm robotic welder was installed to accommodate large stainless steel production runs.
“The use of robotics scared some of our guys,” Tyler said. “They were afraid of losing their jobs. The one most frightened was our robotics operator — now he loves his job.”
The brothers, who both have degrees in Industrial Technology from Iowa State University, are excited about the use of robotics in manufacturing as well as properly educating the workforce to fulfill the needs in the changing manufacturing industry.
Gov. Reynolds was pleased to learn the McClures conduct tours of their plant for Indian Hills Community College students as well as high school students who are interested in industrial technology.
Reynolds spoke of the Future Ready Iowa program, which is an initiative to increase Iowa’s pool of workers through education and training for high-demand jobs.
Tyler and Sam, along with their father Greg, have an interest in contributing to local workforce development by re-establishing a building and trades program at the high school level.
Reynolds indicated there is funding available for such programs and encouraged the McClures to work toward the goal of providing skilled workers for the community.