President of city iron works marks 50 years with company
John Reynolds, the president of Reynolds Iron Works Inc., doesn’t wear a suit and tie to work.
He gets his hands dirty every day at the Williamsport company started by his grandfather, Edgar Reynolds, in 1921.
In March, Reynolds celebrated 50 years with the company. He’s seen the changes at the business and in the steel industry in general.
Reynolds Iron Works is a manufacturer and fabricator of all types of steel products for use in commercial, institutional and residential construction.
“It’s been rewarding,” said Reynolds, 71.
Reynolds has his hands in all aspects of the company. On any given day, he might be found anywhere within the plant complex at 157 Palmer Industrial Road. Twelve-hour work days for him are nothing out of the ordinary.
“I do all of the structural steel estimating,” he said. “I oversee the shop.”
He spends time meeting with customers and potential clients. That means a lot time on the road.
“Yesterday, I was in Holland, Pa. at five in the morning,” he said.
Reynolds is proud of the work the company does.
Many of the Reynolds projects have been local.
Some of the work at the Montoursville Area High School building project was done by Reynolds. Other local projects have included the Cinema Center in downtown Williamsport as well as the new science building at Lycoming College.
“We’ve done so much around town,” he said.
His company also does a lot of work in southeastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York.
Much of the work involves public projects such as schools.
“We buy all domestic steel,” he said.
Reynolds nearly didn’t go into the business.
After studying accounting at Thompson Institute in Harrisburg, he went to work for Avco.
“I didn’t like sitting behind a desk,” he said.
After leaving that job behind, he went to work for Reynolds in 1967 sweeping floors and washing windows.
He took welding classes and became part of the company’s erection crew. The Ironworkers Union taught him blueprint reading and rigging.
In 1987, his father, Bob, retired from the company, and later his uncles, Howard, and Bill.
Reynolds subsequently became one-third owner of the company. By 2012, he had become a partner in the company with his cousin, Jim Reynolds. A son, John Reynolds Jr., also is involved in the business in charge of field crews.
Reynolds was asked if he is considering stepping back from the business or perhaps slowing down.
“Yes,” he said with a smile, “but I can’t.”
The business has been growing in recent years as demand for work has increased.
Over the years, the physical plant has grown to the point where the site has “grown out of room,” as Reynolds put it.
When he started with the company, just nine employees worked there. Now, 51 people work at the plant.
“We get calls from customers daily,” he said. “They can’t find steel fabricators.”