KINGSFORD – Lake Shore Systems Inc. has been designing and manufacturing equipment for the marine and mining industries since 1858.
The company marked its 160th anniversary of continuous operation on Thursday with a reception for employees, retirees and their families at the Chippewa Club and the Cornish Pump Museum in Iron Mountain.
Jessica Frost, the current President and CEO of Lake Shore, attributes their success to Lake Shore employees, past and present. About 400 people now work for the company, primarily in the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin.
“They are definitely our people. We have had amazing people for 160 years. If you look back at the inventions that people came up with and even today we get our best ideas from the workshop ”, said Frost. “Our people are simply exceptional. Lake Shore employees are empowered to do whatever it takes to ensure customers are happy and that the sailors and miners who use our equipment are safe. The people who make up our company are dedicated, creative and expert in their field. We look forward to many more years of success.
Both reception venues share a history with Lake Shore, with several exhibits of Lake Shore mining equipment from the early 1900s on display at the Cornish Pump Museum and former Lake Shore President FA Flodin, a founding member of the Chippewa Club.
About 80% of the Cornish Pump Museum’s mining equipment was manufactured by Lake Shore Systems, said Kellie Sexton, project manager for Lake Shore Systems.
“It’s evolved a bit over the years, with a lot more technology, but we’re still making equipment for underground hard rock mining. Drills, big trucks that drill and bolt, and ANFO trucks that deliver explosives, scalers that go in and scrape loose rocks from walls and ceilings for safety, roof bolters, ” said Frost.
Lake Shore began as the Lake Superior Foundry Company in Marquette. Charles T. Harvey, the builder of the Soo Locks and the first elevated railroad system in New York City, filed the original articles at the Marquette County courthouse on July 14, 1858.
The company changed ownership over the years, but maintained its main manufacturing and engineering facilities in the Upper Peninsula for the duration. Its current major sites include Kingsford, Iron River, and Ontonagon, as well as Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Sales and service offices in Claremont, New Hampshire and Zacatecas in Mexico support mining customers in the United States and Latin America.
While the company has adapted to changing markets over time, the focus has always been on marine and mining equipment. In 1910, the company became Lake Shore Engine Works. In 1938, Iron Mountain’s Service & Supply Company merged with Lake Shore Engine Works and the company became known as the Lake Shore Engineering Company. Wayne Oldenburg bought the business in 1987, when it became part of the Oldenburg Inc. group. JF Lehman & Company acquired the business in 2016, reverting the name to Lake Shore.
Current marine products include ship cranes, anchor handling systems, elevators, ramps and doors. The company’s Cannon Mining product line includes drill jumbos, roof bolters, ANFO rigs, scalers and utility trucks for the underground hard rock mining industry. “Our customers, sailors and miners alike rely on us for safe and reliable equipment that works when they need it. They operate in harsh environments that require rugged and reliable machinery, and I am proud to say that we are recognized as a market leader in these areas. It’s really all because of your hard work ”, Frost said at reception.
During the celebration, Frost read a text message from his brother, Captain Luke Frost, executive officer of the Navy ship USS America LHA-6. Captain Frost sent an American flag to the ship on July 4 and a certificate presented to Lake Shore Systems in celebration of the 160-year celebration.
The message read, “I wanted to remind the sailors that you all made a piece of America and I wanted to remind you that there are real people on the other end of your products. Launch boats in the middle of the night, fill up with gas, leave moms and drop bombs. And vice versa, I wanted everyone to remember why we are doing damage control drills on the ship, because there are real people on the other end in our hometowns.
Jessica Frost concluded her remarks at the celebration by thanking current and past employees for their dedication to the company.
“The best part about my job is all the great people I work with. We have people who give us their best work and their best ideas. People who devote extra time, people who jump on a plane at any time to go and help a customer ”, she said to the crowd. “Everything you do really makes a difference and it really matters. “