U.S. Rep. Jenkins tours Labconco

Friday, July 11, 2014
Floyd Jernigan Jr./Tribune photo Labconco Plant Manager Mike Lakeman shows U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins various parts of the plant during her recent tour of Fort Scott.

Editor's note: This is the third in a series of three stories profiling U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins' visit to Fort Scott.

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins made it a day in Fort Scott recently. In addition to speaking at the Fort Scott Rotary Club, she began by spending time with downtown business owners, and then ended it with a tour at local industry Labconco.

The company, which also has a Kansas City location, manufactures hundreds of scientific products in 16 different product lines and also provides laboratory furniture and equipment worldwide, in over 120 countries, according to its website.

During the tour and meeting with Labconco officials, the company provided Jenkins with a summary of its history and its most recent expansions and investments, ranging from a new paint system to a new laser system, both utilized in its manufacturing processes.

"On time delivery of high quality product" is the operating mantra for Labconco, Plant Manager Mike Lakeman said.

In addition to Lakeman, President Pat Anderson and Vice President of Sales Tom Schwaller were on hand for the presentation.

The plant operates five to six days a week, depending on volume, with two shifts, although the second is smaller at the present time, comprised of four workers. The plant has 51 employees.

From its beginnings in 1988 with its initial purchase of the land and the building, Lakeman noted there had been two expansions from the original 50,000 square foot structure.

While primarily being self-sustaining, Labconco's Fort Scott site does utilize other Fort Scott companies, purchasing its extrusions from Extrusions Inc. and utilizing Tri-Valley Developmental Services to package parts.

"It's an excellent partnership," said Lakeman of the work with both businesses.

In showing Jenkins throughout the plant and introducing her and her staff to various employees, Lakeman said the key to the company's success is its people.

"We pay good wages and offer good benefits. We invest in the people. We're proud of our workforce.

"We depend on our people and it's a solid group for us. We're proud of our operation," Lakeman told Jenkins.

Speaking following the tour, Lakeman told the Tribune, "It was a pleasure for us today to be able to meet with Rep. Jenkins to show her our new manufacturing capabilities, to show her processes and product we make and send all over the world.

"It was also good to discuss our business obstacles and concerns as we work through the current business environment."