The Faces of Entrepreneurship: Carl Grover, Engines Inc.
Issue:Winter 2015 : Articles
Carl Grover, the president of Engines Inc., likes to tell the story of how he “came to the Huntington area from Logan County on Jan. 15, 1963, the coldest day of my life with a borrowed suitcase and $50 in my pocket.” He says he’s held on to that old suitcase in case the day comes when he has to pack it and skip town. That doesn’t seem likely.
Today, Grover presides over a company that has locations in Milton, West Virginia; South Point, Ohio; and Huntington that offer a total of 230,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Despite its name, Engines Inc. doesn’t build engines. It manufactures rail car parts and major sub-assemblies and re-machines worn rolls of steel for steel mills. It’s provided custom machining and fabrication for abroad range of customers for more than 25 years. Its hightech
equipment enables it to burn, bend, punch, roll, mill, turn and grind metal to any fabrication need.
For example, the company’s Milton plant has a combined plasma burning machine and punch that takes flat sheets of steel measuring 10 by 20 feet and punches up to 45 different sizes and shapes of holes for bolts, rivets or other type fasteners. Then it can cut the sheet into as many as a thousand pieces that become brackets, stiffeners and gussets for rail cars.
“It also has suction cups that come down and pick up the steel and put it in positions,” says Grover. “The finished parts feed out on a conveyor, where the operator inspects and stacks them.”
Over the years, Engines Inc. has also taken on some unusual jobs. Several years ago it created scaffolding that was used in renovations at the Washington Monument and the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials and the painting of a “sky mural” on the ceiling of New York City’s famed Grand Central Station.
Grover says the company also assembled the largest mining dragline east of the Mississippi River. “Every year, we look for new things to do and new products to make,” he says. “We look for things that nobody else does.”
The company’s name comes from the fact that Grover is a machinist by trade.
“I’m an engine builder,” he says, but he’s referring to race car engines. Auto racing has been a long-time passion for him. He’s made parts for race cars, built cars for dirt-track racing and souped-up cars for area residents.