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Adaptability helps East Jordan Iron Works survive

Wil C. Fry

You can't walk across a street in Michigan without stepping on a manhole cover branded "East Jordan Iron Works."

The company has a 131 year history in Michigan. Vice President Thomas Teske says the company, located in the northwest Lower Peninsula, started  supplying parts to the lumber industry in 1883. The company was founded by W.E. Malpass, an immigrant from England.

When the lumber business in Northern Michigan went bust, EJ Iron Works adapted by making municipal castings, fire hydrants, and valves. This was in response to the growing market in Detroit.

The company now has plants in Michigan and Oklahoma, and sales branches and distribution centers across the country. It also has a production facility in Europe.

Teske says the key to the success of the company is that it continues to evolve and adapt with the times. The business is still family-owned and in its fourth generation. 

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