In Enid, 80-Year-Old Business Wins Payments for Keeping Jobs

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Bonnie Vculek/Enid News & Eagle

Gefco, of Enid, has received Quality Jobs change-in-control incentive payments totaling $787,587 so far.

One company receiving Quality Jobs incentives is an long-time Enid employer.

In 2011, Astec Industries Inc. bought the 80-year-old drilling rig plant founded by the George E. Failing Co. of Enid.

Astec renamed it Gefco and said it planned to maintain the Oklahoma operation.

The firm received a Quality Jobs change-in-control contract two months later. So far, it has received $787,587 in incentive payments from the state.

Founded in 1931, the George E. Failing Co. became a leading manufacturer of water well and shallow oil well drilling rigs and equipment. Its 400,000-square-foot factory complex employed more than 150 people when the company decided to sell out four years ago.

Astec, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., announced the $26 million purchase in August 2011. It said it planned to “continue to manufacture the George E. Failing, SpeedStar, King Oil Tools and Steco equipment from the current Enid, Oklahoma, headquarters.” The announcement did not mention state subsidies as a condition of the deal.

The Commerce Department approved Astec’s application for a Quality Jobs contract in October 2011. The new company, renamed Gefco Inc., has since received eight quarterly subsidy payments totaling $787,587.

Oklahoma Department of Commerce spokeswoman Leslie Blair said in an email that the contract was approved because Astec “had excess capacity in their Tennessee facility and sought to move the Enid operations there.”

Gefco executives in Enid did not respond to phone calls or an emailed interview request.