What would you do if you had to
paint hundreds of toolboxes everyday? What would you do
if each one of those toolboxes had to be treated,
cleaned, dried, painted and then dried again? How would
the toolbox get from point A to point B in the most
Thanks to a paint-finishing system
engineered, manufactured and installed by North
Mississippi Conveyor in Oxford, the job would be a lot
simpler, easier and efficient.
The system would carry the toolbox
through every step of the process making sure it was all
done right. But it doesn't have to be just toolboxes. It
can be automobile facia or an appliance.
And it also doesn't have to be the
paint finishing system NMC manufactures. The company
also engineers, manufactures and installs overhead
conveyors and specialty material-handling systems which
are used everywhere from electronic-manufacturing plants
to rock quarries.
"We can have five to seven projects
going on at one time," NMC president Darrick
Vanderford said. "Some are strictly manufacturing
jobs but some are turn-key jobs."
With approximately 40 employees
(depending on the size of the projects) and 30,000
square-feet of manufacturing area, NMC manufactures and
installs for companies across the country and exports to
countries such as Canada, China, Thailand, Brazil, India
The installation of these
international systems typically take place with local
crews, but NMC supervisors have been onsite to oversee
the installation of the equipment and to startup the
North Mississippi Erection Company was founded in
April 1982 by John D. Vanderford Sr. to provide conveyor
installation and other millwright services in the north
Mississippi area. Prior to founding NMECO, John
Vanderford served as vice-president of a Memphis,
Tenn.-based conveyor company from 1969 to 1980.
"He worked in the industry for a number
of years with a firm in Memphis," Darrick Vanderford
said. "Working there, he was going farther and farther
from home. He needed something to keep four boys
out of trouble."
NMECO experienced steady growth over the
years and was incorporated in 1984. Also in 1984,
NMECO began manufacturing its own I-Beam conveyor
components, and engineering and manufacturing
specialized conveyor components.
On August 31, 1997, the name officially
changed with the Secretary of State to North Mississippi
Conveyor Company Inc.
The elder Vanderford retired from
active involvement in the company in 2001, but all four
sons are still actively involved in the company: Darrick
Vanderford - President; David
Vanderford - Vice-President, field operations; Darrell
Vanderford - manufacturing operations; and Doug
Vanderford - estimating and sales.
As the company has grown so has its
"We have done several recent projects
which have gained national attention," Darrick
Some of the major projects within the
last year include a paint shop addition for a
watercraft/ATV manufacturer in Georgia, an overhead
power & free system being designed, manufactured and
installed for a heavy equipment cab manufacturer in
South Carolina, and a paint shop for an automotive facia
facility in Indiana. Two other projects include separate
expansions being completed for toolbox manufacturers in
Oklahoma and Arkansas.
In addition to its own conveyor
applications, NMC also represents and installs equipment
for other quality firms throughout the industry. These
firms include: George Koch Sons Inc. in
Evansville, Ind., with paint finishing equipment;
Webb-Unibilt in Farmington Hills, Mich., with enclosed
track systems; Automatic Systems Inc. in Kansas City,
Mo., with material handling systems.
NMC has built a conveyor that is just
a few feet in length or, as in the case with the longest
overhead conveyor it has every built, it could stretch
6.1 miles. The length depends on what the customer
wants. The company uses the services of anywhere from
five to eight steel suppliers and receives shipments of
steel ranging from 20 tons to 40 tons.
With the Nissan plant locating in
Canton, NMC forecasts an increase in revenues for the
next two to three years. While many of the major systems
are already underway, there will be additional tier one
and tier tow suppliers who will be locating and/or
expanding in the area to assist in Nissan's production
The company is already actively
involved in the design, manufacture and installation of
an electro-coat paint system for one of the frame
suppliers to begin later this year
Revenues for the prior fiscal year
were $6.5 million. But current fiscal-year revenues will
be slightly less due to the recession, Darrick
"My dad started this company in his
carport in Oxford," Darrick Vanderford said. "It has
grown beyond his highest expectations. We've grown
every year and keep on growing."
-Shea Stewart can be reached at