Business

Youngers & Sons aims to diversify manufacturing

Neil Youngers, left, and brother Wayne Youngers at Youngers & Sons Manufacturing in Viola, photographed Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2010.
Neil Youngers, left, and brother Wayne Youngers at Youngers & Sons Manufacturing in Viola, photographed Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2010. The Wichita Eagle

Youngers & Sons Manufacturing owners Wayne and Neil Youngers have seen a lot of changes in their 30 years with the company.

One of the biggest has been today's global nature of business, they said.

"When we first started, we didn't have a customer out of Kansas," said Neil Youngers, Youngers & Sons vice president.

Now, it serves customers in the U.S., Belgium, Brazil, France and Canada.

Youngers & Sons builds precision machined parts and welded assemblies for the agricultural, hydraulics, oil and gas, wind energy and industrial equipment industries and others.

The business is in 100,000 square feet in three locations in Viola, its headquarters, Goddard and Wichita.

Neil and Wayne Youngers' father, Gerald Youngers, started the company in 1973 as a manufacturing and welding business in a 24-foot by 24-foot metal building on the family farm.

Wayne, the company's president, and Neil Youngers joined the business in 1978.

"We all did everything," Neil Youngers said.

The company bought its first computer numerical controlled machine in 1984. It now has more than 50.

Like other manufacturers, the business has felt the painful effect of the recession.

It has 54 employees, down from 125 in 2008.

"We maintained a good set of core employees," Wayne Youngers said. "They've been through it before and realize what it takes to get through it."

The company has remained stable and viable through the downturn, he said.

Its goal is to further diversify the business and get back to a level that uses the capacity that it has, he said.

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