50 Years and
Forging Ahead with Technology
Trenton, MI. Since he was 10 years old and was small enough to go “in the hole” David Moxlow, second generation owner of Trenton Forging, literally had an interest in the family business. As a young worker, he specialized in tying steel re-rod bars together, then he worked every station in the plant, eventually taking over for his father George S. Moxlow in 1982.
His wife Renee worked at the business for twenty-six years as the head of Human Resources until she retired four years ago. His son Dane and daughter Chelsea has also had experiences at the business. Dane is still involved when he can, as he also created his own business, the Detroit Motion Company which handcrafts functional art and customized vehicles. Chelsea is the Health Educator for Livingston County.
The forging industry has been coming out of the “Dark Ages” for some time. “We are just trying to expedite the process with modern technology and a new mindset of developing our greatest asset – our people.” Said owner David Moxlow, “We currently build the robotics components for floor robots at Amazon and we are augmenting our (Faro Scanning) Blue Light Laser Scanning technology with 3D printing technology to use when reverse engineering or creating new products for our customers. We can bring the product to “life” with 3 dimensional plastic models made overnight.”
The Trenton Forging Plant has been nestled on the unpaved road of Toledo and Hoover for the past fifty years. In 1967, the 6,000-square foot plant supplied hot forged closed impression die forgings to mostly the automotive industry. Today with 85,000 square feet and now serving the military and commercial weapons industries, they can put out from 15,000 components a day and up to 4 million components a year. They also make sickle guards, which are sharp cutting components for agricultural use, as well as the architectural industry and golf products for a boutique golf club manufacturer.
Even forging competitors think highly of the work Trenton Forging does. Thomas Couston director of development for Modern Forge said, “I have the utmost respect for Mr. Moxlow, he has always been a fair and strong competitor.” Modern Forge and Trenton Forging often are rivals in the field for the same business. “He and his staff are tough but admirable competitors.” Said Couston, whose 100-year-old business resides in Tennessee. “We always have a clean, fair and fun competition and that is hard to say about most competitors today.”
Customer also concur. Laurie Fitzwater of Callies Performance Products has used Trenton Forging exclusively for our connecting rod forgings since 2009. “They continue to deliver quality products, on-time, and at reasonable prices.” Said Fitzwater. “David Moxlow and his team really know how to take care of their customers!”
Even suppliers have wonderful things to say about Trenton Forging. Mark Candy V.P. of Sales of Eaton Steel Bar of Detroit said, “Our made in the USA partnership and family culture focused on the environment and technology has always been an exceptional experience.”
Eaton Steel Bar Owner Gary Goodman worked with David’s dad George in the seventies, he said, “I first met George about forty-five years ago with my uncle. He was always quite a gentleman and was very intelligent in the industrial and mechanical part of the business. They have been tremendous, loyal customers over the years and we appreciate that. Our family and their family are still quite close even going on this third generation. They are honorable people and a great family to do business with. Our inside sales rep Alan Lach was so taken by the relationship he even named his son Trenton, after Trenton Forging!”
Trenton Forging not only employs 98 people, but they support 98 families. The economic impact of any employment number from small business affects surrounding stores, restaurants, gas stations and more. It is not only the tax base that makes businesses important in the community. The plant message is highly visual on the floor with employees. You will see screens throughout the facility with messages for safety, machine real time data as well as trivia questions. “We make sure employees are taking notice and in return we give out gift cards for those who participate in the trivia and follow safety protocol.” Said Moxlow.
Jobs at Trenton Forging range from entry level janitorial positions to experienced forging personnel to highly skilled CAD and design engineers and electrical and electronic experts.
Human Resource Manager, Stephanie Cobb said, “It has been challenging finding young people who like to work with their hands.” So, the business is getting creative. They are forming a partnership with the Downriver Career Technical Consortium and provide internships to develop the skilled trades.
“I am working with Kyle VanDyne at the Trenton High School to develop a work grant to train students and hopefully lead to a position with us.” Said Cobb. Those who are interested in this industry must like to work with hands, be creative and have a fascination for metal works. “Currently, we have two interns who work in all five departments over a two-year period.” Said Cobb. “They get 40 hours or more a week plus we pay for 100% of their college with a B or better.”
When Moxlow was asked on his thoughts on the evolution of the company over the years, he said, “We have come a long way in 50 years. My Dad (George S. Moxlow – Founder) passed away at age 89 in 2008. He always used to say that “Trenton Forging Company is like the bumble bee, it doesn’t know it cannot fly, so it does so anyway”.
Trenton Forging is celebrating their fiftieth year with lots of lights and sounds. “We are excited to present the biggest fireworks show this June 2nd at the Island Festival at the Grosse Ile Airport. We wanted to do something special to commemorate the anniversary that was inclusive of the employee’s families and the suppliers that have made 50 years of doing business through some very hard times possible.”
For more information about Trenton Forging and career opportunities call 734-675-1620 or visit the web site trentonforging.com.