Like machining itself, and like the many industries we serve, U.P. Machine has grown and evolved since we were founded in 1963.

In its current form, U.P. Machine began when Edward Land heard that the company’s original partners weren’t getting along … and seized the opportunity. In 1966, he decided to buy out one of the partners and move his wife and two sons, Cal and Jeff, from Milwaukee to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Ed would later tell grandson Jesse, “I figured if I worked half as hard for myself as I did for someone else I wouldn’t be any worse off.”

Ed hit the ground running and soon established Evinrude, JI Case, Harnischfeger and Rockwell Standard as customers. He often drove the company truck to deliver parts, pick up material, and, sometimes, make sales calls.

One cold winter night when he was just getting started, Ed recalled being too tired to drive back to the U.P. and didn’t have enough money for a hotel room. An ex-infantryman, he pulled out a military-issue sleeping bag, yanked a tarp over himself and slept in the bed of the truck.

Ed showed resourcefulness in many other ways along the way. Landing Rockwell Standard as a customer was one case. He’d made many trips to the company and finally had the opportunity to quote on some parts. But he still hadn’t closed the sale.

Marty Kozak, Rockwell’s VP of Operations, suggested that Ed and six of Rockwell’s engineering and purchasing staff go out for lunch.

“I had exactly $11.20 in my pocket,” Ed says, “not nearly enough to cover lunch.”

The lunch went well, and Ed saw what seemed to be the beginning of a great working relationship. Ed grabbed the bill and pulled the restaurant manager aside, explaining what his goals were with Rockwell and how he didn’t have enough money to pay the bill. After a breath, the manager said “Sign it and put a good tip on it for the waitress.” Shortly after, U.P. Machine was able to count Rockwell Standard as a top customer.

In 1966, Ed saw the possibility of using tracer lathes to manufacture shafts and ended up doing just that, making shafts for Evinrude.

The first NC machine – programmed at the time with punch cards — was brought into the shop in 1967. It made parts for Rockwell Standard, Dinex Ribbet and Applied Power industries.

U.P. Machine began the transition to CNC machines in 1975 with a MOOG. We made parts for Marinette Marine and Allis Chalmers with the MOOG. After seeing how efficient the machine was, a second one was purchased in a matter of weeks.

Ed’s son’s Jeff and Cal began working in the business at a young age. Jeff would come home from college every weekend to do the books and Cal often ran machines on the shop floor.

In 1993, Jeff and Cal bought the company from Ed and have been running it since.

In 2008, Jeff’s son Jesse and Cal’s son Scott began work at U.P. Machine, beginning what will someday be the third generation of the Land family to run U.P. Machine & Engineering.