Anchor Harvey in Freeport Illinois celebrates 100 years of business

Anchor Harvey is celebrating 100 years of making durable metal parts and lasting impressions in the community.

Founded in March 1923 in Chicago, the company has called Freeport home since 1978. Over its 100-year existence, Anchor Harvey has evolved from a brass and bronze forging shop to a data-driven aluminum forging company specializing in foraging aluminum parts for manufacturers in aerospace, auto and medical industries. Precision Investment Casting

Anchor Harvey in Freeport Illinois celebrates 100 years of business

The company is a three-shift operation employing 170 people who work five to six days a week at the 120,000-square-foot plant at 600 W. Lamm Road.

Leading the way at Anchor Harvey for the past 20 years is company President and CEO Tom Lefaivre.

"Anchor Harvey is a very dynamic company because we are really a job shop," he said. "We don't have a product line. Potential customers come to us and they say, 'Can you forge this?'"

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Anchor Harvey forges hundreds of items that most people aren't aware of but may have used at one time or another such as aluminum hammers, the valve on top of air tanks used by firefighters and scuba divers or foot pegs and levers on motorcycles.

Lefaivre said Anchor Harvey has survived for the past century by being agile and innovative.

"We’ve adapted to ever-changing market conditions brought on by seismic events like the Great Depression, World War II, and, most recently, the coronavirus pandemic," he said.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Anchor Harvey met the needs of medical manufacturers by modifying existing designs and components. It also obtained certification to expand its forging capabilities for the commercial, military, and general aviation markets.

In 2021, Anchor Harvey began making strong, lightweight forged components for electric vehicles and last year, the company developed an aluminum harness buckle for astronauts during spacewalks.

When Lefaivre arrived in 2003, the business did $9 million in sales. Last year, the company topped $70 million in sales. Lefaivre credits his managers and employees for the success.

"As as we did this over the years, safety got better. Quality got better. Efficiencies got better. It just continued to rise because employees felt like they could belong here."

Marshall Powell, 38, of Stockton, is a six-year Anchor Harvey employee who took a pay cut to work for the company.

"My wife and I bring it up numerous times. It's one of the best choices I've made for our family," he said. "Anchor Harvey is not just a job. You can make a career out here."

Powell said he took advantage of the company-provided training and is now the coordinator of the heat treat department.

In celebration of the company's 100th anniversary, Anchor Harvey is doing 100 random acts of kindness in the community, such as going to area gas stations and paying for motorists' fuel, going to restaurants and paying for meals and going to grocery stores and paying for families' groceries.

"That one was very powerful," Lefaivre said. "More people than ever are aware of us because of the acts that we've done, and we've only done 35. So we've still got some work to do."

In a statement to the Register Star, Freeport Mayor Jodi Miller said Anchor Harvey has been a model employer helping to make the city a better place to live.

"Recently, they showed their support to our first responders through their 100 random acts of kindness and put a smile on our police officers’ and firefighters’ faces," she said. "We’re thankful to have a major employer like Anchor Harvey root itself here. Businesses that take good care of their employees, our citizens and first responders always have a home here in Freeport."

Anchor Harvey in Freeport Illinois celebrates 100 years of business

Carbon Forging Chris Green: 815-987-1241;; @chrisfgreen