Molded Fiber Glass Companies (MFG) has made a lot of different products since its founding in 1948, but one thing has remained constant: it’s always been an innovator. The Ashtabula, Ohio-based company is family owned and has made a product or two you might recognize, including fiberglass Corvette bodies.
As CEO Richard Morrison told me, the Corvette was a watershed moment for MFG. In 1953, General Motors approached his father Robert, the company’s founder, and asked him to make a fiberglass body for a concept car: the Corvette. The idea was revolutionary at a time when most car bodies were made of steel. The rest of the Corvette story is history, and MFG has remained a fiberglass supplier of the car ever since.
Move ahead a few decades, and MFG’s forward-looking approach led to a new business opportunity. Now a well-established company that continued its automotive work, and created materials for boats, trucks and other products, MFG was asked to make wind turbine blades in the early days of the U.S. wind industry, the 1980’s. Small by today’s standards, the company created blades for some of the first generations of wind turbines.
Morrison explained that not only was this a new market with great potential, getting into the wind business also aligned with the company’s values. MFG leadership thought creating an electricity source that helped grow American energy independence, while providing clean power, was a worthwhile endeavor.
As American wind power has grown, so has its place in MFG’s portfolio. Today, about a third of its 2,400 workers make wind turbine blades and nacelles at several factories across the country. MFG is deeply proud of its workforce; Morrison told me with conviction that he believes the company’s greatest contribution to society is creating well-paying jobs with benefits. In 30 days, MFG can train an employee with a high school diploma to be a productive member of its team.
Corvettes and wind turbines– it’s hard to think of two symbols more emblematic of American innovation, and MFG has played an important role in making them both a successful reality.