WATSONTOWN – John Moran’s father taught him several bedrock principles that still govern the way he conducts business as President and CEO of Moran Industries.
John Sr. taught his son, who became the private sector co-chair of Team Pennsylvania Foundation in June, the value of taking calculated risks versus wild risks. (Read an article here on John’s views on issues impacting the commonwealth.)
“My dad says that you most likely will never get hurt with a calculated risk, but you will most likely get killed if you take wild risks,” Moran said. “He also emphasizes the importance of never trying to do a job that another man excels at because that man is always going to do a better job at it than you.”
Seemingly simple, yet extremely solid, advice that has helped propel Moran Industries from one company that provides logistical services into a multi-faceted entity with 15 separate business operations.
Other companies in Moran’s vast portfolio include oil and gas management to real estate to financial investment services.
Moran Industries was created when the elder Moran bought an abandoned warehouse in Montgomery, Lycoming County, in 1975. (John Jr. went to work for the company in 1988 after graduating from Kings College with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Management.)
Some three decades later, the company provides logistical services at 18 facilities in six counties, employing 350 Pennsylvanians.
“We have a footprint that starts in Mechanicsburg and runs to Lock Haven, and we operate about 3.3 million square feet,” says John, who was overseeing a 30-man crew in one of his father’s warehouses at the age of 13.
Headquartered in Watsontown, Northumberland County, Moran Industries has refined the art of turning former dilapidated Brownfield properties into vibrant, job-producing commodities and reviving ailing communities.
Such was the case at the home offices. That plant was owned by Philco-Ford and made television and radio cabinets until the owners shuttered production in 1982 and moved to Mexico.
It was an event that left an indelible impression upon Moran as a teenager.
“I remember Channel 16 being here and the Mayor of Watsontown literally crying because the whole town was shot overnight,” Moran said. “The building sat primarily vacant until my dad was able to do about 150,000 square feet of business through 1988.”
It was at that time that John Jr. took over Moran Industries from his father. It was a daunting task to rehabilitate a facility that sat mostly vacant for nearly six years.
“Every roof in the facility was shot, there was 3 to 4 inches of water on the floor, and live wires hanging from the busbar,” Moran said. “I would go home at night and think, ‘whatever it takes, I am going to make this thing happen’.”
Three little words, Whatever It Takes, drove Moran to great heights in the early days of his professional career and are still as relevant today as they were nearly 25 years ago. Moran Industries provides warehousing, rigging, machine storage, distribution, transportation, indoor rail, record retention and build to suit services to its customers.
“It’s a value system that starts at the top and works its way down through the company,” Moran said of his company’s corporate philosophy.
And, it’s a philosophy that has been embraced by Moran employees.
“I have been blessed to meet the right people and be able to rely on their expertise,” Moran said. “I have always had the ability to see the good in people and believe it is good management to allow people, who want to make something of their lives, to be whatever they want to be.”
As he looks to the future of Moran Industries, Moran sees endless opportunities – especially given the company’s proximity to the Marcellus Shale gas play. The company has already constructed eight built-to-suit facilities for companies working with natural gas, Moran added.
“Rail has been the whole key,” said Moran, who owns 13 railheads in Pennsylvania. “We were here at the right time, in the right place and with the right asset for the natural gas industry.”
Moran said he looks forward to the next 25 years with as much enthusiasm as he did the first quarter century.
“It’s been a wild ride, to say the least,” Moran said. “In 25 years we’ve grown to become a significant company and Moran Industries is a good place to work. We’ll keep looking for opportunities to grow and diversify.”
For more on Moran Industries, visit moranlogistics.com.