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Capital Investment Leads to Product Expansions


When forest products manufacturer Teal-Jones bought Southern Yellow Pine in 2014, it acquired a profitable and successful factory producing a plethora of wood materials for the construction industry. Located in the rural community of Antlers, Oklahoma, the location employees 50 and specializes in yellow pine lumber. It’s the preferred choice for builders because of its strength, dependability, and versatile nature.

The Challenge

Plant Manager Mike Dunn oversees a well-regarded operation, and he noted demand pushing the capacity of his facility to the limit the last few years. He knew the plant would benefit from modernized equipment with an ability to better meet a wider range of customer requirements. For advice, Dunn turned to Kay Watson, a manufacturing extension agent with the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, part of the MEP National Network™. She has worked with Teal-Jones on numerous projects and is considered a trusted advisor.

The Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance continues to help us transform and modernize the way we operate. It not only means a lot to our company, it has a tremendous economic impact on our rural community.

— Mike Dunn, Plant Manager

MEP's Role

Watson met with Dunn and other factory-floor leaders to map out options for dealing with capacity constraints. A plan was developed that included optimizing production flow and the purchase of higher-tech equipment. Importantly, Watson helped secure a state matching grant specifically designed to promote high-impact capital investments, especially those used to buy advanced manufacturing systems.


Watson called on applications engineers working for the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance. The engineers are experts in plant layout and were able to model all Teal-Jones’ production systems with computer software. That allowed them to change different variables without actually shifting physical pieces. It also helped determine what kind of new equipment could be purchased and how it could be used to maximize efficiency. With new machinery in place, Teal-Jones was able to add six new products with the flexibility to manufacture additional products when client needs dictate.  Additionally, Watson coordinated an energy audit of the facility. Recommendations from that audit helped save Teal-Jones more than $100,000 annually.

Created July 28, 2023