Marion Machine: A Family Legacy

Original Marion Machine building, 1937.


Marion Machine has heart and soul.

Joe McNeill is a staple at Marion Machine in Marion, NC, and has been since the day he was born, literally. Joe’s father, Howard John McNeill, took Joe to Marion Machine straight from the hospital after he was born so everyone could meet him. Since then, Marion Machine has been Joe’s blood, sweat, tears, and infamous joy, and believe me it shows.

A vision beckoning a reality.

“Be open about things and move through it.”

Joe’s paternal grandfather, Howard Joseph McNeill, started out working on the railroad, and soon realized there was a need for what he was doing, so in 1934 he started his own company, you guessed it, Marion Machine. He started out in a lean-to behind the local courthouse, however, back then with no air conditioning the courthouse windows were open in the summers and the noise from the machining was not well received by the judge. In 1937, Grandfather Joe moved to the current location and was soon taking on jobs for people all around the world. Joe’s grandfather started a successful company with only a third-grade education, common sense, tenacity, skill, an overall stellar work ethic, and a God given talent for engineering. Reflecting about his grandfather Joe said, “Everyone knew Grandaddy, he helped people, that’s just what he did.” His granddaddy was a huge steam engine buff, he repaired many and even built one.

Marion Machine getting even bigger.

“You make the most out of the least all the time.”

Marion Machine had a rock-solid foundation when Joe started working there at the tender age of 13 years old. Just a few years later when Joe was 16, they said, “here’s a part take it to Atlanta, GA” He had no idea where Atlanta even was, yet he didn’t hesitate a bit. Joe headed out with a map, the part, and the family mantra, “You just have to get to work!” Of course, he made it to Atlanta with the part because Joe came from good stock. “Each job is unique.” Said Joe regarding all the many jobs Marion Machine has completed over the years.

“Focus on the people.”

“My customers are my friends, and they call my home or office.” How many people can say that? Joe has made a life worth telling a story about. He works hard and plays hard when he’s off, with his eight grandkids. Joe carried on the family business of his ancestors, and he and his wife built a strong loving family, that includes a son, daughter and eight grandchildren. His son has 4 boys, and his daughter has two boys and two girls. They simply do not make them like Joe anymore, and the Marion Machine family is lucky to have him.

Marion Machine Wednesday, May 10, 2023


Our Metso HP 800 Mainframe had a loose shaft and we re-fit the shaft back to OEM specs with a 2-week-turnaround to get a 3.5-million-ton-plant back up and running.

Christopher Joyce Vulcan Materials of Winston-Salem, NC

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