L&R celebrated the 20th anniversary of our founding on March 10th 2017. The entire company celebrated at a luncheon and engraved wooden plaques were presented to our two remaining original employees, Steve Wade and Dale Mills honoring their service and dedication in helping to make L&R a success. The other three original employees Allen Leath & Don Raby, founders of L&R, along with Account Manager Jack Hofmann have all passed away so it was a bittersweet occasion but still one that we are extremely proud of. Notably there are 10 additional employees with 16 to 19 years of service, providing a wealth of experience in serving our long standing customers. Pictured in the photo from left to right are Steve Wade, Clay Leath and Dale Mills.
Unfortunately we have bad news to report…Jack Hofmann passed away Sunday June 19th. Jack was one of the original five employees that started L&R in March of 1997. He was a former long term employee of Limitorque Corporation where he worked as a machinist. His role with us here at L&R was as an Account Manager where his machining background was utilized in estimating and quoting and providing suggestions for the machining of items as well. As noted by his family in his obituary Jack was “one of a kind”. He didn’t suffer fools or pull any punches and you always knew where you stood with him. We simply wish for he and his family’s sake he could have had more time.
Jack’s obituary from the Lynchburg News & Advance:
Hofmann Jr., John Robert
John Robert “Jack” Hofmann Jr.John Robert “Jack” Hofmann, Jr., 67, of Forest, passed away Sunday, June 19, 2016, at Lynchburg General Hospital. Born August 30, 1948, in Syracuse, N.Y. he was a son of Eileen Hofmann Hawkins of Lynchburg and the late John Robert Hofmann. Jack was an Account Manager at L & R Precision Tooling, Inc., recipients of the 2014 Lynchburg Small Business Award. He was one of the five original founders of L & R and an expert machinist. He loved American made cars and was meticulous in their care. He was partial to Corvettes and was a member of the National Corvette Museum. He also loved to play golf and had been a former member at London Downs Golf Club. He loved to spend time with his devoted son, John, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Jack was a “one of a kind” kinda guy.Jack graduated from Bishop Ludden High School in Syracuse, N.Y. In 1966, he relocated to Lynchburg. After working for a brief period, he served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War era.Jack is survived by Edna Tuggle Hofmann, his wife of 45 years; and his beloved son, John Edward Hofmann of Forest. In addition, he is survived by two step-daughters, Robin Hedrick and husband, Philip of Concord, and Stacy Price of Charlottesville; five step-grandchildren; two siblings, David J. Hofmann and wife, Jackie of Lynchburg, and Kathy A. Billups and husband, John of Mechanicsville; several nieces and nephews; and his canine companion, Max. His previous canine buddy, Angle predeceased him last year.A Celebration of Jack’s Life will be conducted at 1 p.m., Thursday, June 23, 2016, in the chapel of Heritage Funeral Service and Crematory, 427 Graves Mill Road Lynchburg by the Rev. Jack Karpenske. Burial will follow in Fort Hill Memorial Park with military honors rendered by American Legion Post 16. The family will receive friends from 11:30 a.m. until service time at the funeral home.The family would like to give special thanks to his L & R Precision Tooling family for their loving care and support.In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in memory of Jack Hofmann to the Lynchburg Humane Society, 1211 Old Graves Mill Road, Lynchburg, VA 24502.Heritage Funeral Service and Crematory (434) 239-2405 is assisting the family. Memories and thoughts may be shared with the family at www.heritgefuneralandcremation.com
To further enhance our inspection capabilities, and our commitment to improve efficiencies on our customer’s behalf, we have acquired the Nikon VMR-3020 Vision Inspection System. It is a Multi Sensing NEXIV versatile part measurement platform with 300 x 200 mm stage stroke. It handles a variety of measurement tasks and features include:
Standard head with 15X high-speed zoom
The standard head features 5-step, 15X high-speed zoom, providing greater flexibility in choosing magnifications according to the size of the measuring area.
Wide field, high N.A. objective lens
The highly corrected objective lens is equivalent to those found in Nikon’s top-end microscopes. They have a high N.A. of 0.35 with a long 50mm working distance at all magnifications.
Upgraded TTL Laser AF
TTL Laser AF provides high resolution, long working distances, and fast operating speed for perfect focusing on narrow spaces at low magnifications. High-speed scanning measurement is possible at a rate of 1000 points per second max., enabling ultra-precise Z-axis measurements in a variety of applications.
High-speed, high-precision Vision AF
Thanks to the adoption of a new algorithm and a progressive scan CCD camera, Vision AF now provides greater speeds and accuracy closer to TTL Laser AF. Vision AF is convenient for applications where TTL Laser AF cannot be used, for example, when focusing on chamfered or round edges. The Multiple-Vision AF enables the simultaneous measurement of multiple points with different heights within the field of view.
We are pleased to announce the certification of our Quality System to AS 9100 Rev C to go along with our existing ISO 9001:2008 status. The decision to add AS 9100 Rev. C was a natural progression for us with our equipment, machining knowledge and accuracy with difficult materials. Our Okuma Palletace / Fastems Flexible Manufacturing System has given us the vehicle to shorten lead times, improve pricing, even on smaller batch sizes, and be better prepared to accommodate schedule and quantity changes for repeat horizontal machining.
We have been fortunate to have been busy through the downturn in the economy over the past several years, but with the improved efficiency and flexibility of the FMS we are pleased to have capacity there to help with meeting the challenges of our existing and our new customers.
We have also recently joined GIDEP to better accommodate the needs of our current and future customers in Industry and Government. It will allow us to share technical information and to have a more robust counterfeit parts knowledge base at our disposal.
L & R was pleased to be a part of Okuma’s presence at IMTS held in Chicago from September 8th – 13th. Okuma came into our facility earlier in the year and conducted a photo shoot that resulted in two large banners that became part of the Okuma booth. One was of Clay touting the virtues of the Flexibility of our Okuma Palletace / FastemsFlexible Manufacturing System. The second banner featured Chris Ferguson of L & R and Dan Harris of Morris South, our Okuma distributor, promoting that relationship. It was the fourth largest show in IMTS history with registration of 114,147 people representing 112 countries. We would like thank Okuma for the exposure and were proud to have such prominent spots in their booth at IMTS.
We have added to our 5 axis offerings with an Okuma MB 56 VA – High Column Vertical Mill which allows us to utilize a larger Tsudakoma trunnion table. It adapts an extremely rigid double column structure and Okuma’s Thermal Friendly Concept to allow for unrivaled dimensional stability over long, continuous runs. It is equipped with the 30 h.p. 15,000 rpm Integral Motor Spindle, full five axis index capability, 41 x 22 x 18 travels, 1,574 ipm, 40 taper, 32 tool changer with bidirectional spindle cooling.
We have also added to our surface grinding capabilities with a Chevalier FSG 3A Semi-automatic grinder. It is high precision with a 12 x 24 table and paper filtration for the coolant and a Blanchard Grinder Model # 18, which is a 42” diameter machine, to better accommodate our in house expedited deliveries.
L&R was honored with being named the Small Business of the Year for 2014 by the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce. As a result of the award our local ABC affiliate, WSET, came into our shop and recorded a segment on us. It was very nice to be able to talk about Allen and the business that he founded and how we are all working hard to continue his legacy.
With the acquisition of the Okuma Palletace / Fastems Flexible Manufacturing System we are also moving forward with our plans for AS9100 certification. We see it as the natural progression for us and expect implementation to be complete by the end of the year. We look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Clay, Ginger and Sherry have been pleased with the performance of the company and have promoted three members of the management team. They have announced the new positions of Vice President for their appropriate areas and they are Scott Mullins, V.P. Manufacturing, Jackie Satterfield, V.P. Finance and Chris Coffey, V.P. Business Development. Each of these employees has greater than fifteen years of experience with the company and they are proud to be carrying on with Allen’s plans and vision for L&R.
We have added to our equipment in our Prototype / Small Quantity area with our new Southwestern Industries TRL 1845SX Lathe with the ProtoTrak SLX Control. We have just completed an upgrade to our ERP software for even more improved scheduling and traceability. We also have recently added three new people and our current employee count is forty.
As alluded to in recent News Briefs, we have moved forward with one of Allen’s projects to make us more technologically advanced. It was a very significant investment and demonstrates the commitment by Clay and the family to continue Allen’s legacy. Please visit our Home Page or the Okuma Palletace / Fastems FMS Page to view the time lapse video of it’s installation.
It is an OKUMA Palletace / FASTEMSFlexible Manufacturing System integrated with 3 OKUMA MB4000H Horizontal Machining Centers. The current configuration is 80 feet long with 2 loading stations, 56 pallet capacity and the Cell Controller. Our great experiences with OKUMA and the support and service that we have received from Morris South along with Fastems reputation were very instrumental in making a commitment of this scope.
We also value the relationship that we have with First Citizens Bank as they have been a valuable partner in our growth as well.
Please visit the Okuma Palletace / Fastems FMS Page to learn more details.
We would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and kind words concerning Allen.
Allen’s untimely passing was naturally a shock to all of us. As we have stated, his meticulous planning has left the company on very solid financial footing. He will be sorely missed as he was such a great employer, friend and person.
There is good news as well to report. Clay Leath, Allen’s brother, has come on board to lead the company. Clay has thirty years of machining experience and associate and bachelor degrees in Manufacturing Technology.
Clay and Allen were very close and were sounding boards for each other as they moved through their careers. Due to this, Clay was very aware of Allen’s plans and long term goals for the company. Clay and his sisters, Ginger and Sherry, want to see the company fulfill these goals to continue Allen’s legacy.
We are very pleased with Clay’s decision to come in and lead the company as President. For those of you who knew Allen, we want you to know that they share many traits. Clay’s demeanor, management style, attention to detail and values parallel with Allen’s.
Clay’s background is in the screw machine field. Because of that, naturally people are asking if L & R will migrate towards this area. Clay feels the future success for L & R and our customers is to follow Allen’s plans of a more technologically advanced shop. The evidence of this is that in the past few years L & R has acquired two seven axis Okuma mill/turn centers and continued to add to our five axis offerings.
Allen had plans for several new projects that will further enhance L & R’s capabilities to continue to meet our customer’s needs. All of which Clay hopes to incorporate within the next year.
We have unfortunate news to report today. On Saturday, August 24th, Allen Leath, our President, passed away. Allen had been diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year. He had been receiving treatment and was making good progress so his passing was unexpected.
Allen was meticulous in everything that he did, including his plans in case anything ever happened to him. His brother Clay Leath and the family have indicated that they want to see L & R to continue to grow and prosper. Clay also works in the machining industry and was very aware of Allen’s intentions and goals for the company. For the foreseeable future the company will move forward with its existing management team consisting of Jackie Satterfield, Scott Mullins and Chris Coffey to ensure a seamless transition. Due to Allen’s foresight the company remains on a solid financial and management footing.
Clay has requested that we convey to everyone that first and foremost we are going to fulfill our commitments to our employees, customers, vendors and business associates.
Allen was an exceptional individual. The things that we keep hearing from everyone, who knew him, is what a first class gentleman he was in addition to being a true friend and a man of his word. He will be sorely missed, and his leadership has guided us to a very good position and we are positive we will continue to be successful and intend to make this an even greater company to honor his legacy.
L&R will be closed on Friday August 30th to allow employees the opportunity to attend Allen’s burial in Woodlawn, VA. We will return on Tuesday September 3rd.
Allen Scott Leath
Allen Scott Leath, 47, of Bedford, Virginia died unexpectedly on Saturday, August 24, 2013, at Bedford Memorial Hospital in Bedford, Virginia after a brief illness.
Allen was born on Monday, June 20, 1966, in Winston Salem, NC.
A graduate of West Forsyth High School in 1984, he also graduated from Surry Community College in Dobson, NC, with a degree in machine technology in 1986.
He worked in the machining industry prior to starting L&R Precision Tooling, Inc. in 1997. In 2011, he was voted the Region 2000 Entrepreneur of the year and was also recognized as a finalist for the Tayloe Murphy Resilience Award given by the Darden School of business of The University of Virginia.
A lover of nature and the outdoors, Allen was an avid deer and turkey hunter and a wildlife conservationist.
Allen is preceded in death by his mother Laura Jean Leath. He is survived by his father, Fred Leath of Galax, VA, a brother, Clay Leath of Lewisville, NC, two sisters, Sherry Leath of Advance, NC, Ginger Moore and her husband, Jason of Mocksville, NC. Beloved nieces and nephews, Troy and Lacey Moore, Josh, Amanda and Cody Leath and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Friends may call at Tharp Funeral Home, 220 Breezewood Drive, Lynchburg from 5:00 -8:00 pm Wednesday, August 28, 2013. The body will also lie in state and the family will receive friends from 12:00 – 2:00 pm Friday, August 30, 2013 at Woodlawn United Methodist Church, Woodlawn, VA. A graveside service will be conducted following the visitation at 2:00 pm at The Woodlawn Cemetery with Barry Kenny officiating.
The family would like to extend appreciation to Jackie Satterfield, Chris Coffey and Scott Mullins. Also, special thanks to all of the other employees, customers and suppliers of L&R Precision Tooling, Inc. and to the doctors, nurses and staff of the Alan B. Pearson Regional Cancer Center.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The American Cancer Society, 2840 Electric Road, Suite 106A, Roanoke, VA 24018.
Tharp Funeral Home and Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.
We have added to our horizontal machining center lineup. It’s an Okuma MB400H with 35 H.P. 15,000 rpm spindle, dual pallets, 400 mm table, full four axis index capability, 22” x 22” x 24.5” travels, 40 taper, 1000 psi coolant, OSP 200M control and 110 tool changer. This is our fourth horizontal and will allow us to be more competitive on our production quantity parts.