ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Two former longtime Lufkin Industries employees are hoping to fill part of the void left by the slowdown in production since the GE merger with the start-up of their own gear-manufacturing company.
With the help of a group of investors, Scott Franks and Albert Stokely are in the process of building a 32,000-square-foot facility just outside the Lufkin city limits on US 69 North.
It started simply as a dream between the two men, and now it's becoming a reality.
"We've always had a vision that started about 12 to 15 years ago to form our own company," said Franks, who is the vice president of engineering and operations for the company.
Both are former employees of the former Lufkin Industries and together bring well over 50 years of experience.
"We think combined with our experience, mine from the engineering and his from the sales and service and manufacturing, that we have a good foundation laid for building the company," Franks said.
Together they've used that solid foundation to form LufTex Gears.
It's an investment in a community rocked by recent layoffs and at a time it needs it most.
"We can actually provide something positive for the community because there has been news of late with respect to the reduction in forces," Franks said. "We were real fortunate to find a group of investors from Lufkin and Nacogdoches."
One of them is Rufus Duncan Jr., the CEO of Higginbotham Brothers, a large lumber and hardware company. He is just one of many excited to put people back to work.
"Well, I think the main thing is that we bring jobs to the community and the group that I work with, that's their primary focus," Duncan said.
It's a new business that is committed to giving back to a community that's given them so much.
"It's very exciting to be able to do something like this in the community," Stokley said. "Lufkin means a lot to Scott and I. We've been in the community since we were both very young."
The pair hope to have the facility completed by the end of October and to have the company running by January. They plan to employ between 12 and 30 workers.
Franks said the company will make individual gear parts as well as complete gearboxes. They will also provide field service at the customers' locations.