Catching up with: Darrin Travers
By ALEX ABATE | DAR Sports Writer
As a former baseball standout at Malden and Three Rivers, Darrin Travers worked to manufacture runs on a regular basis. More than 15 years later, he is still into manufacturing runs but it has nothing to do with the diamond.
Travers is the president/owner of L & M Manufacturing in Fisk, a company that produces metal stampings that are sold to various companies.
Travers, who graduated from Malden in 1989, bought the company in February 2003 after having numerous jobs in the industry. Travers said his job is tough but loves the fact that he is his own boss.
"I really like that well," Travers said. "I am in control of my own destiny. All my customers are my bosses now, that's who I report to."
The company has been able to increase sales every year that Travers has owned it but even so, when Travers bought the company, it was a hard decision for he and his family.
"It was one of the biggest decisions I've made in my life," Travers said. "I knew the opportunity was there and knew there was potential and I could obtain some from other companies in the area but it was a big financial risk."
Travers' wife, Tammy, and their two children, Tyler and Victoria, have always provided encouragement through the years.
"(Tammy) has always let the business decisions come through me," Travers said. "She said, 'if you think you can do it, I am ready to try it with you.'"
After taking over, Travers tried to stay positive and didn't put much thought into the idea of his business venture not working out.
"You had that thought in the back of your mind, but I always knew, with the contacts I had, and ability, I knew I could make it work," Travers said. "It wasn't a question of if it would work (but) it was when we are going to be able to turn the ship."
When Travers took over the company, there was an immediate positive turnaround began, Steve Cliff, production manager for L & M said.
"We were pretty slow and lacking in technology," Cliff said. "Him coming on board has really turned things around, him coming in with new technology."
It didn't surprise Dave Jarvis, Travers' college coach at Three Rivers, the he has been successful in his career field.
"His character values give him a great foundation to work from," Jarvis said. "He always had good work ethic in the weight room and in practices and games. He could get down and get after it and work hard."
Travers works well with his colleagues and is easy to work with, Cliff said.
"He is very open-door," Cliff said. "You can go to him with anything, business or personal."
Travers first got into the manufacturing business when he was at Arkansas State and had an internship working for L.A. Darling. He always kept working towards his goals.
"Just going to school, I wanted to go into business," Travers said. "I always dreamed of running my own company and working for myself."
At Three Rivers, Travers batted .346 as a sophomore with 22 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. During his freshman season, he hit .301 with five home runs and 31 RBIs. Travers played mostly center field for the Raiders but pitched on occasion. He had a career pitching mark of 4-2 and recorded 37 strikeouts in 36 innings while logging an earned run average of 2.73.
"He had good speed and was a good tools player," Jarvis said. "He could make things happen with the tools he was given."
Travers' positive attitude stood out to Jarvis when he coached him for two seasons at the junior college level.
"I always felt like he had a positive outlook on life," Jarvis said. "That sets well in the game of baseball, if you stay the course and keep a positive mentality, it increases your odds of success a great deal. He always demonstrated that type of perseverance I thought as a young player too."
Along with playing baseball in college and high school, he played basketball and football, getting two varsity letters on the court and one with the pigskin. Even though he is out of sports now, there is a great correlation to Travers' current position and the ones he held throughout high school and college.
"One of the main things (in sports) is discipline and focus and what it takes to get the job done," Travers said. "In business, you have to put in time and dedication and it takes hard work to be successful. It is the same thing in basketball, baseball or football."
Although Travers is proud of his accomplishments to this point, he is always looking for ways to improve.
"You never really can be satisfied," Travers said. "When you become complacent, you are afraid will come along and ruin it. You are either moving forward or backward, there is no way to sit still."