Local business passes milestone
By Robin Scott
The business is owned and operated by Russell Ballew, who built the company from the ground up. The location on Highway 87 has expanded over the years, and in 2005 expanded to include the oilfield industry as well as the local dairies. Panhandle Machine Shop prides itself on having the ability to handle most any job, big or small. The company is “Dedicated to giving quality service and products, and excelling at this is what our employees strive for everyday.”
Russell Ballew, manages the business with several shop managers, including Shawn Byrd, machine shop; Don Tomlin, welding shop; Jay Blades, hydraulics; and Keith McGinnis, roll department. The shop runs smoothly because of the expertise of each shop manager and department. David Ballew noted, “My parents have gone out of town on occasion to retreats and my dad has always said that his employees are able to keep the business running like a well-oiled machine.”
The roll shop and paint booth employs experienced maintenance and roll crews and modern equipment with crews on call 24-hours to service the feed yard industry. Roll trucks are equipped with industrial cranes to make roll changes more efficient and less time consuming. Service trucks travel from feed yard to feed yard five days per week. Taking care of the feed yard industry is an important part of the company’s dedication to excellent service.
The company’s 3,000 square foot welding and fabrication shop houses welders, metal pro pipe bender, piranha iron worker and table brake. Within that shop of the business the company provides certified stick and flux core welding, mig, tig, stainless and aluminum welding, portable welding, patented gear drive flaker mills and lower pressure steam chests.
In October 1998, Panhandle Machine Shop designed and patented their gear drive system cabinet. Customers receive tremendous savings in electrical costs when Panhandle Machine Shop converts their roll cabinets. Panhandle Machine Shop custom manufactures to mill specification all sized of steam chests.
The many different types of work performed at the business are housed in three different buildings to accommodate all of the jobs effectively. The shop has grown significantly over the past 25 years. Employees are treated professionally and also as family. At the celebration on Friday, hamburgers and hot dogs cooked on the grill and a cake honoring Russell Ballew and his wife, Lorene, completed the meal.
David Ballew, third son of Russell and Lorene, proudly talked about his parents and their dedication to the business and to he and his three brothers. He reminisced about his parents’ dedication to the Dalhart community recently, when they spent two days at the Recreation Outreach Center (the ROC) at the end of March when 160 motorists were stranded in the blizzard. David noted, “My parents took over the cooking duties for all of
those people, and they enjoyed every minute of it. They are just good people.” David, one of Dalhart’s volunteer firefighters has that same love for the city he grew up in and for the entire community. He also commented that the entire crew at the shop works well together and enjoys working, because his father is a hard worker and enjoys working. “He’s a great example to everyone.” David stated.
For many years Lorene Ballew was secretary for the business, but her strong feelings about her role as homemaker took over. Mrs. Ballew spoke about her life and family, stating, “I left high school at 17 and earned my G.E.D. because I knew I wanted to marry Russell and I knew I wanted to be the mother of his children.” The Ballew’s have raised four boys, including David, oldest son Billy who works for Cargill Sweet Bran, second son Bobby who is a farmer in the Coldwater community and youngest son Donnie who also works for the family business. The Ballew family has become a cornerstone of the Dalhart business community and has plans for celebrating a 50-year milestone as well.