Made in Lafayette: Phillips Brothers expands to Bluebird Facility
By: Latricia Thomas
When the old, Bluebird bus factory shut down in Lafayette, many people feared the big blue building would stay empty forever. But one company was growing so fast, they needed more room to add jobs and product output.
Inside the factory that used to be known for its big yellow buses, Phillips Brothers Machine Company is growing in to its new space. Owner Randy Phillips say, "This is where I started out in the machine shop, what I like to call the old conventional machine shop."
Randy Phillips started the company three decades ago with his father. "In 1975, we went into business in his basement in a 10 by 20 area. We delivered our first machine parts to the Heil Company in a shoe box. Now I deliver two to three 28-foot trucks a day.
Now, Phillips uses a golf cart to get around the huge plant and those trucks are full of parts to make waste management vehicles.
Employees start with raw steel, aluminum, or brass that gets cut to measure and then welded sometimes into the automated arms that grab and dump garbage cans. The orders rolling in so fast, Phillips Brothers needed more employees and more space. Their new facility is so big, 284 thousand square feet, that employees use these bikes to get around.
And even though there are certain growing-pains, like the learning curve that Randy's son Michael describes when he talks about the new facility, the father and two-son team work hard to make all their employees feel like family. Even the factory feline.
"I wish my dad was here," Randy says. "It would really be impressive for him to see."
For more information about Phillips Brothers, click here to visit their website.
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