Thornburg Machine Celebrates 50 Years in Lincoln County Business | News


LINCOLNTON — Michael Nale’s father, Walter “Mike” Nale frequently brought him to work at Thornburg Machine in Lincolnton. Young Nale always assumed that one day he would work there.

“I think maybe my dad would have wanted me to go into something different like maybe engineering, but that’s all I ever wanted to do,” Nale said. “I knew that from the start. I was very close to my father and admired him.

When his father passed away, Nale, a graduate of West Lincoln High School, took over the reins in 2006. Thornburg Machine, formed by Michael Nale and BC Lineberger, has been a family job shop since 1973. It all started as a small manual machine shop working for the Lincolnton area textile industries. Today it serves multiple industries and has grown into a 45,000 square foot facility with 15 CNC machines, four lasers, three press brakes, three plate rolls and a full fabrication shop. Thornburg Machine was recently recognized by the Lincoln Economic Development Association for having been in business in Lincoln County for 50 years.

“We make metal parts,” Nale said. “We don’t do engineering. All that the customer brings us in drawings, we realize it. Textiles were important when the company was established. We did a lot of work for Mohican Mills back then. We’ve been building boat trailers for Ranger boats for a while, but it wasn’t very profitable. Textiles started to disappear and we moved on to building wood chipper parts for Woodchuck in Shelby. »

Currently employing 32 people, the company outgrew its old building on Jerry Crump Road and moved to its current location on Smith Farm Road in 1992. They recently constructed a new building and expanded further.

Nale thinks being smaller and being a family business has helped keep the business going for so long.

“I think the key to our business is that the owners were here every day to help run the businesses,” he said. “I talk to every employee more than five times a day. We also have good long-term customers. Employee and customer relationships are the reason we have stayed in business for so long. We have many employees who have been here for 10, 20, 30 years and they are the key to the success of the company. There were a lot of employees who were here when I took over and they stayed here. Our industry is very competitive, it’s not easy.


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