Approximately 175 people gathered last Thursday morning, June 11, to pay tribute to three generations of the Langsdon family who built Columbia Machine Works. Founded in 1927 as a repair company with five employees, the nearly 90 year-old business is now a machining and fabrication company that serves more than 300 companies worldwide, boasts nearly 100 employees and operates in a 65,000 square foot facility - soon to be expanded.
To honor this impressive family and company history, John ("Johnny") Langsdon who is the current President/CEO and great-grandson of founder John K. Langsdon Sr, built a commemorative esplanade at the front of the company's headquarters where employees may lunch and socialize when weather permits. The courtyard features three benches, surrounding the American flag, Tennessee state flag and the company's flag, which were formally presented that morning by Boy Scout Troop #103.
Columbia Machine Works' General Manager and COO, Steve Thompson, began the ceremony with a welcome to attendees, followed by the Boy Scout's presentation of colors. Randal Wilson gave the dedication. Next up, Maury County Mayor Charles Norman told the audience that he liked to keep his speeches short and to the point, which he certainly did. He then introduced State Representative Sheila Butt who provided an overview of the company's fascinating history (more of which to come soon on Off the Duck).
Among the highlights of her speech, Rep. Butt discussed the many changes the company has seen over the last 88 years of operation and its incredible ability to transform to the needs of the times, which enabled it to stay relevent and operative, even during the difficult years of the Great Depression. She ended her speech by recognizing Columbia Machine Works and the Langsdon family for its numerous contributions to commerce and industry in Maury County.
President and CEO Johnny Langsdon concluded the morning's event and dedication, in which he emphasized the patriotism of his family, including his great grandfather, father, mother and brother, who all played pivotal roles in the company's development and success. He also attributed the success of the business to God and noted that, of the dozens of business books he has read in the past year, the Bible still provides the best business advice around.