Salt Lake City
Publicly traded (ASX: BLY)
Employees: 5,000+ (550 in Utah)
Industry: Industrial & Equipment
Products: Mining bits
Plant Manager Myron Cheeseborough runs the Utah shop for the global leader in mining equipment and services.
If you are going to manufacture one of the hardest and strongest products available for more than a century, it only makes sense that your business itself remain flexible.
Edmund Longyear started the longstanding mining services and equipment provider way back in 1890. Longyear was a mining engineer who inherited an abandoned diamond drill in Minnesota and who was a member of the first graduating class of the Michigan College of Mines.
Almost from the beginning, the company worked both sides of the trade to grow in the overall market by providing drilling services for other companies as well as drilling products to itself and others.
It's a relationship that continues to thrive today. "We're a unique business model," says Cheesebourough. "We serve both the mining industry with drilling contractors through our drilling services division while also providing drilling contractors with drilling tooling and equipment through our products division."
It works, Cheesebourough says, because both divisions can be the best partner the other could possibly find. "And when our drilling services group uses our products, they provide feedback which have led to better designs, better product quality, and improved performance. It makes us a better company and improves our relationship with third-party customers."
Edmund Longyear's company became the world's leading manufacturer of diamond bits in 1974 with an investment from South Africa's Boart International. The capital spurred growth, and the two companies officially merged to form Boart Longyear in 1995.
Today, Boart Longyear conducts drilling services in more than 40 countries and distributes drilling equipment in over 100 countries. On the product side, Boart Longyear is able to offer everything from hand-held pneumatic drills to full production drills, allowing the company to boast that it can carry out any job. Despite its scope and worldwide growth, Utah remains headquarters and home.
"Utah is comfortable," says Cheesebourough. "We are able to offer our employees a picturesque setting with many outdoor and adventurous activities that contribute to a great quality of life here. Salt Lake City also provides for a diverse workforce which is important for us as a global company. Our manufacturing plant alone includes individuals from Vietnam, Mexico, India, Tibet, Chile, Australia, South Africa, Colombia, and Cambodia. These diverse perspectives improve our overall company because we come together and are open to new ideas."
Challenges: The economy. With more than 125 years under its belt, the company has seen many, many market cycles the economy and mineral prices have thrown at them. "We've survived the Great Depression and more. The economy may change, but our people are our constant. Through all the challenges, it's our people that make us a better, stronger company," says Cheesebourough.
Opportunities: New technology and capabilities. "Boart Longyear significantly invests in research and development, and there are some exciting new technologies coming to the market to make everyone's jobs easier," says Cheesebourough. "We are currently building a Geological Data Services division that will ultimately provide a whole new way of looking at exploration drilling, and the geological data available from the holes drilled."
Needs: New efficiencies. "Boart Longyear has spent the last several years focusing on process and business improvements we've built, and continuously look to find ways we can do things better so we can provide better services and products to our customers," says Cheesebourough.