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Honoree Headshot

Lawrence Lee Florey

Chief Operations Officer
EJ Basler Co.

Location: Cook County
Year Founded: 1940
Industry Group Specific: Manufacturing

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Lawrence Lee Florey never saw himself sitting behind a desk, so while attending Chicago Public Schools, he took shop classes, including electric, wood, machine, foundry and drafting. This led him to the world of manufacturing. He worked his way from an entry-level assembling position making $3.26 an hour to a position on the shop floor to ultimately tooling and machining sales. He continued to fill roles in quality assurance, administration and production leadership.

After obtaining a college degree at 53, Florey joined EJ Basler Co. in 2012 where he now serves as the COO.

EJ Basler is a high-volume machine shop specializing in the efficient operation of CNC machines, Hydromat rotary transfer machines, Davenport and Acme Multi spindle bar machines and Swiss type single spindle bar machines serving industries including agriculture, power and motion control, fluid power, precision instrumentation, automotive and plumbing.

“Simply, I am now giving back to the next generations and creating/manufacturing wealth, while increasing domestic manufacturing opportunities,” said Florey. His team is developing an apprenticeship program that will be formally recognized by the Department of Labor and create well-paying careers for future team members.

In addition, with 45 years of manufacturing experience, Florey has continued to propel EJ Basler Co. with a shared vision, strategy and team alignment. The quality level achieved in its precision manufacturing sector is less than 100 defective parts per million, which is a world-class achievement. The company has also adapted an intense AI-driven customer focus using state-of-the-art processes. As a result, the firm has experienced a strategic account growth of 50 percent and more over the past three years.

As a leader, to reignite his passion, Florey said he continues to foster the growth of the hands-on apprenticeship program. “Teaching youth to be skilled production machinists, which provides them a nice living standard, is motivational,” he said. “Knowing this learning investment is without the high cost and expense of a college education, makes the rewards that much more appealing to those that simply are not college bound, but hands-on learners.”

According to Florey, the team has developed unique systems of transferring journeymen skilled trade experience to upcoming generations. “This allows smooth end of career transitions for some and enables next gen employees to develop skills and prosper in a manufacturing environment,” said Florey. “Having this capacity transition is recognized by our customers as a competitive advantage.”

For his continued mentorship and ability to foster the next generation, Florey has been named a titan.

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Teaching coupled with unique rewards for skilled machinist. AI driving customer service anticipating customer needs. World class, certified quality systems, often yielding a greater than 99.99% quality rating as measured in defective parts per million.

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