Lee Industries, a longstanding fixture in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, has a rich history spanning nearly a century. This family-owned business established itself as a pioneer in stainless steel fabrication and manufacturing. Over the years, Lee Industries has evolved, becoming a leader in designing and producing stainless steel and alloy process equipment. They serve a diverse range of industries, including food & beverage, pharmaceutical & biotech, personal care, cosmetic, cosmeceutical, animal health, and industrial and chemical sectors. Despite its impressive history, Lee Industries faced a critical need for expansion to meet growing demand.
The challenges for Lee Industries were twofold. First, the Borough of Philipsburg acquired several adjacent properties, clearing them of dilapidated buildings, a move aimed at revitalizing the community. Second, Lee Industries, a fully funded buyer and developer, recognized an opportunity to expand its operations. They needed to acquire the cleared lots for expansion, including additional parking space, a staging area for tractor-trailer trucks, and green space.
Joshua Montler, President of Lee Industries, reached out to the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for assistance in acquiring these properties and navigating the complex process. John Peterson, a former SBDC consultant, provided invaluable support. He offered one-on-one consulting, and helped plan meetings with the borough, Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership (MVEDP), and an engineering firm. Additionally, he connected Lee Industries with the Governor’s Action Team (GAT) to explore potential funding opportunities and secured a letter of support. With the combined efforts of the SBDC, GAT, and local agencies, the land sale transactions were completed in August 2023.
The successful acquisition of these properties had a significant impact on both Lee Industries and the community. Lee Industries is now poised for expansion, providing additional parking, occupancy, and improved shipping and receiving capabilities. The expansion is not only vital for meeting current demand but also for future growth projections, allowing the company to hire 20 to 30 skilled labor employees and six to eight professional engineers. The company, which reduced its workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, is once again on a growth trajectory, with the potential to create more jobs in the region. The project not only benefited Lee Industries but also the borough by eliminating eyesores and providing resources for future community development projects.
Joshua stated, “The partnership between Lee Industries, the SBDC, and other agencies has not only helped us to achieve expansion goals but also contributed to the revitalization of the local community.” He expressed gratitude for the support received, emphasizing the importance of this collaboration in making the expansion project a reality. With these newfound resources and the support of the community, Lee Industries looks forward to a bright future, continuing to provide world-class stainless alloy process equipment and service to its clients while making a positive impact on the Philipsburg borough and the wider region.