Powerhouse Mechanical Repair
Powerhouse Mechanical Repair, Inc. was started in 1995 by Dewey Gant and CV Bailes. Gant had worked for several companies but most of his experience came from his early years at General Electric where he learned the steam turbine business well. He was heavily involved in training at the diaphragm and bucket school at GE Schenectady.
His partner, CV Bailes, worked for many years in maintenance at various plants in the Carolina Power & Light (Progress Energy) system and he eventually became the head of the fossil fuel division. When Gant and Bailes started Powerhouse, they had years of experience in rotating component repair with a concentration on steam turbine repair.
In 1998, John Andrews became a part of Powerhouse and has worked to refine processes which Gant and Bailes knew so well. Their combined experience and strong ethics created a very high level of quality throughout the company. Providing a good benefits package for their group of full-time employees has been the cornerstone of their success and several employees have been with the company since the beginning.
In 2007, the oldest machine shop in the area, Charlotte Machine Company, merged with Powerhouse. Charlotte Machine had long provided machining support to Powerhouse during the busy times and the two companies had developed a strong strategic partnership. Skip Gribble, owner of Charlotte Machine Company, approached Powerhouse about the opportunity and the merger of workforce, machinery and cultures. The merge went very well.
Powerhouse had larger equipment which enabled Charlotte Machine to handle more for their current customer base, while Charlotte Machine had CNC equipment and a good OEM job shop base load. These facets have enabled the merged company to survive and thrive during some of the toughest of economic times.
The two companies now reside in 21,000 square feet at 529 East Hebron Street in Charlotte.
Charlotte Machine Company
Taken from Historic Charlotte
When it was established in 1914, much of the Charlotte Machine Company’s business consisted of producing parts for textile machines. Today the company’s production includes parts for highly sophisticated industrial robots. This ability of adapt to changes in the economy has kept Charlotte Machine Company a strong and vital firm for nearly a century.
The owners of Charlotte Machine Company have endured through the boom and decline of the textile industry and seen the rise, decline and restoration of Charlotte’s South End commercial district.
Mecklenburg County native Egbert Gribble in a small building on South Boulevard established Charlotte Machine Company. A machinist by trade, Gribble saw a need for a machine supply company that could supply component parts for the textile industry that dominated the area’s economy at the time. As automobiles grew in popularity, the company added crankshaft regrinding and other automotive services to it’s line.
The company prospered and, in 1926, Gribble moved his machine shop to 1618 Camden Road. A couple of additions were constructed through the years but the original building which was occupied by the company until 2007.
Since it’s inception, four generations of the Gribble family have been involved in Charlotte Machine Company. Egbert’s two sons, Rex and Bill, joined the company following World War II. In the late ’60’s, Rex’s son, Skip, came on board.
Equipment for producing parts has become much more intricate over the years, but Charlotte Machine Company remains a small, family-operated business. Many employees worked for the company thirty five to forty years before retiring.
The business environment has changed completely since Charlotte Machine Company was established but the company has been able to react quickly to changing times. For example, as textiles declined in the 1950’s, the firm produced more parts for the Nike missile, which was being developed by Douglas Aircraft Company in a facility on Statesville Road.
“We’ve been fortunate to have such a loyal work force,” says Skip Gribble. “As a small firm, we are able to adjust quickly and adapt to changes in the marketplace. Our company is built on integrity, building good relationships with our customers and doing good work,” he adds. “Now that the fourth generation has joined the firm, we hope to be around for a while.”