The third generation came aboard in 1971—Daniel French. He had spent five years in the U.S. Air Force, and as a captain stationed in Honolulu was in charge of thousands of personnel and millions of dollars worth of equipment. When he joined the family business, it was on the bottom rung, operating a milling machine. He worked his way up to succeed his father as president, holding that post for 31 years until giving it up in 2012 to Jason P. McDaniel, and he continues as chairman.
And like his father, he continues to work, his daughter said. “I don't think he'll ever really retire.”
The business continued to grow under Daniel French. He guided it to early ISO certification, an important step for a company that does business in 80 nations. In 2009 the firm acquired hydraulic press and rubber mixer manufacturer TMP, based in Cleveland.
Today it is known as TMP, A Division of French, and relocated to Piqua.
Also in 2009, French Oil Mill established FOM (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. in Shanghai. Its 18,000-sq.-ft. facility serves the Chinese oilseed and polymer processing markets with Chinese-made or imported machinery.
Today French Oil Mill equipment is used in a number of markets: SR production; rubber mixing; rubber and composite molding, from aerospace and automotive to sporting goods, medical, industrial and more; laminating of printed circuit boards and plastic cards; and oilseed processing.
In the rubber industry, French Oil Mill is known for its hydraulic press systems for molding rubber and composite materials, rubber mixers, and dewatering and drying screw presses used in producing SR.
Lutz said the firm's 225,000-sq.-ft. Piqua facility is well-situated. “We are by the I-75 corridor and I-70. It is no problem for us getting to port in Baltimore or California.”
The company continues to show growth. Employment had fallen to the 40s in 2010 during the recession, but now is up to 85, she said.
Lutz said first and foremost to French Oil Mill's success is the knowledge and commitment of the people who have and are working at the business. “We are fortunate to have wonderful employees. They provide great ideas and allow us to continually improve our products and services.”
French Oil Mill has a couple of employees who have 50 years of service, and some families that are in their third generation with the company, she said.