Northern Dauphin plant changes name, ownership
After more than 30 years with MI Metals, Kevin Sponsler thought it was time to write a new chapter for the company's plant in Upper Paxton Township, Dauphin County.
With himself as the owner.
The 56-year-old sold his stake in MI Metals, the Florida-based parent company, and took over sole ownership of the Millersburg-area facility.
The Millersburg operation was renamed Mountain Ridge Metals, with Sponsler and his children at the helm.
“For family succession planning, I thought it was best to separate the Pennsylvania operation,” Sponsler said. Terms of the deal, which took place in January, were not disclosed.
MI continues to operate four other plants, in Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.
As he enters the final phase of his career, Sponsler said he also wanted more control over hiring and saw a single plant as the best way to achieve both flexibility and growth.
“We control our destiny,” he said.
Like MI, Mountain Ridge makes aluminum components that are sold in bulk to manufacturers in the building and construction industry, including companies that make windows and doors, aluminum screens and fencing. Mountain Ridge also sells parts to the recreational vehicle industry.
Joining Sponsler on the company’s management team are his son, Braxton, who serves as vice president of business development, and his daughter, Adderly, who is the director of marketing.
MI President Brook Massey was not immediately available for comment on the transition.
Sponsler began working for MI soon after the Dauphin County plant was built in 1987, starting out as a welder and then moving up to paint line supervisor. He became general manager in 1999 and a part owner in 2013.
Of the 30 million pounds of aluminum-extruded parts produced each year at the Dauphin County plant, Sponsler said 80 percent is shipped outside of Pennsylvania. The majority is used in home construction products.
As the housing market roared back this decade, Sponsler said business has jumped 8 to 10 percent annually over the last five years.
He believes that trend will continue, and that there is plenty of business nationally for MI and Mountain Ridge to co-exist. He said Mountain Ridge had a distinct customer base, with clients as far south as North Carolina, west to South Dakota and north to Maine.
The company employs 120 people in a facility that spans 112,000 square feet. It plans to hire 50 workers over the next two years.
“We’re looking to expand out our capacity,” Sponsler said.
However, he admits it could be a challenge in what has been a tight market for skilled workers, especially in manufacturing and construction-related fields.
“Everyone has struggled, but we’re willing to train people we need,” Sponsler said.