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Deister Machine Co. marks its 100th year in operation

Founder’s grandson celebrates 50-year career.

Monday, October 29, 2012 - 12:01 am

About two dozen employees surrounded Mark Deister on Monday to celebrate his 50th anniversary with Deister Machine Co. The 74 year-old president, treasurer and co-owner of the company does not plan to retire anytime soon.

Other significant anniversaries are being celebrated, as the company enters its 100th year. Mark Deister’s cousin and co-owner, Irwin Deister Jr., 83, celebrated his 60th anniversary with the company last year.

Deister Machine is a leading manufacturer of vibrating feeding, scalping and screening equipment for mining and quarrying industries.

“All of you are great friends,” Mark Deister told his employees before cutting the carrot cake at his anniversary party. “My No. 1 goal is to take care of our employees. No. 2 is to take care of customers.”

While he made necessary layoffs after the 2008 economic crisis when profits were “paper thin,” Mark Deister believes the company made it through relatively unscathed.

The employees see Mark Deister as an inspiring boss to work alongside.

“I can’t think of a better place to work,” said sales employee Brian Moore, who joined Deister Machine in 1984. “(Mark) makes sure everything is done right.”

Laura Burger, Mark Deister’s secretary for the past 15 years, added, “It’s a privilege to work with a company with a strong Christian business ethic … at a time when people have long since retired, Mark still has a strong hand on the business.”

Mark Deister’s best memory over the last five decades was watching his dad carry a 2-by-3-inch notepad everywhere he went so he didn’t miss a single detail.

“No machine went out without his inspection,” Mark Deister said. Now he requires anyone who comes into his office to have a notepad of their own.

Graduating with honors from the University of Michigan, Mark Deister received a degree in mechanical engineering and went on for master’s studies in theology at Wheaton College. He also served eight years with the Army. However, he says his calling was in business.

The company was founded by his grandfather, Emil Deister Sr., and later run by his father, Emil Deister Jr. Mark Deister joined the family business in 1962 and became co-owner after his father’s death in 1984.

Currently serving on the Life Bridge Church mission board, Mark Deister is also president of Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County, a faith-based ministry of 134 churches. For 20 years he has supported Christ Faith Home for Children, a ministry based in Chennai, India, that serves orphaned children, abused women, lepers and elementary school children.

Mark Deister received the Barry K. Wendt Memorial Commitment Award in 2003. Both he and Irwin Deister were inducted into the Greater Fort Wayne Area Business Hall of Fame in 2008.