Machine Service, Inc. (MSI) is headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and is one of the world’s largest suppliers of metric and American standard drive shaft parts and assemblies. MSI has grown dramatically from its modest beginnings located on the shores of the Fox River and is committed to offering high quality components and providing excellent service based on the innovative spirit and strong work ethic of its employees.
Edward Fowles, Sr. recognized a need for drive shaft production in the Green Bay area and developed a market niche shortly after he started his small business in 1948. He began operations in a 20-foot by 30-foot frame building on the west side of the Fox River. The location was directly across the river from what was then Charmin Paper Company. In 1952, a move to a new location just two blocks from the original Fox River location provided over 1,800 square feet of floor space and allowed the business to expand. As the drive shaft business grew, Mr. Fowles decided to study this segment of the machine business. He made numerous trips to Chicago to study drive shaft manufacturing there. He also met with major manufacturers of driveline components such as Dana/Spicer and Borg Warner. It was then that the young entrepreneur decided to make drive shafts a major focus of his business.
Ten years later in 1962, as a result of continued growth, MSI added an addition to the existing block building. The 2,400 square foot metal building allowed for more parts inventory and new balancing equipment. The incorporation of the company in 1968 led to the current name, Machine Service, Inc. Further building expansions in 1968, 1971 and 1979 improved efficiency and increased productivity. Mr. Fowles realized that his company’s potential growth would far outpace the production capacity of his current building. Therefore, in 1976 he purchased a 7.8-acre parcel of land in the Ashwaubenon Industrial Park. The move to the new 96,000 square foot building was completed in 1994. Improved shop efficiencies, new automated machining centers, creative office design, advanced phone and computer systems and easy access to major transportation routes were immediate benefits of the move. The first expansion outside of Green Bay was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1982.
As MSI continued to prosper it became an industry leader in the engineering and production of custom made power transmission equipment. The business now had customer service counter areas with computerized inventory management, drive shaft fabricating machines and balancing equipment with computer readout to ensure the best quality for their customers.
Today MSI is a major supplier to markets such as: steel, paper, oil, petrochemical, marine, transportation, printing, dynamometers, refuse equipment, concrete trucks, motor homes and many others. MSI has manufactured drive shafts for some unique applications such as the Hoover Dam, the Earthquake ride at Disney World, and converting Army trucks to four-wheel drive for the Persian Gulf War. MSI also manufactured a drive for a machine that made rocket boosters for the space shuttle.
Part of the MSI mission statement reads “If we serve customers with creativity, compassion and integrity, if we remain vigilant in product and service improvement, we will have achieved our mission.” MSI believes in and follows this philosophy.
Presently with over 175 employees serving clients worldwide, MSI continues to grow by responding to customers’ needs and changing technologies. MSI has certainly grown from its humble beginnings. But many of its key founding elements, such as manufacturing precision parts, offering high quality components and providing excellent service will always be part of MSI’s formula for success.
With our company approaching its 70th anniversary this is an appropriate time to reflect on the foresight and goodwill of one man. It was his dream to pass on the legacy of this business to his family. His business has provided steady, secure employment and given his employees an opportunity to prosper. Because of him, and the efforts of his family, we continue to have a tradition of world-class driveline products manufactured and assembled in Wisconsin.