By the Telegram Staff / Reprinted from The Columbus Telegram – Date: March 15, 2018

The Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) announced that Behlen Manufacturing was the winner of this year’s Patrick R. Murphy Leadership Award at the 2018 Oregon Manufacturers’ Summit this week in Portland. The award recognizes outstanding leadership among Oregon’s top manufacturing companies.

Behlen Manufacturing, headquartered in Columbus, is a global leader in steel fabrication. Behlen’s Oregon facility, located in Baker City and employing 80-100 people, is the western regional manufacturing and distribution facility for the company’s livestock management products, including livestock watering tanks, farm gates, portable corrals, horse stalls and three-point tractor implements.

“Lean enterprise principles are a core part of Behlen’s company culture,” said OMEP President Aaron Fox. “The company repeatedly demonstrates its emphasis on continuous improvement measures and is an industry leader for employee safety and health. I’m pleased to present this award to Behlen in recognition of its commitment to its employees, customers and the surrounding community.”

In 2002, the Behlen leadership team chose to heavily engage employees in developing and implementing a continuous improvement/lean manufacturing culture. Every employee was trained in lean manufacturing principles, value stream mapping, problem solving and ergonomics. The company also shares its financial gains with the employees through an incentive gainsharing wage program and profit sharing.

Portland-based Bridgetown Natural Foods and Forest Dental were the other two award finalists.

Established in 2011 by OMEP, the annual award was named for Patrick R. Murphy following a career dedicated to driving Oregon’s manufacturing industry. It celebrates the continued partnerships Murphy formed on OMEP’s behalf with public and private organizations. Murphy served as the Executive Director for OMEP for 10 years and was a leading advocate for small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the state.

The Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) is a not-for-profit organization that helps Oregon manufacturers grow through innovation and respond to the challenges of competing in an increasingly global economy. One of 51 Manufacturing Extension Partnership resource organizations nationwide, OMEP receives state, federal and private funding to assist Oregon manufacturers in transforming the way they do business. Since 2002, OMEP’s work with manufacturing firms supported 25,073 jobs through direct and indirect employment; $1.3 billion in wages and benefits paid to employees, property-type income and other items; and $2.5 billion in total production output. OMEP clients have seen nearly $1.2 Billion in increased or retained sales.