Darrel & Carolyn Gillespie - Founders

Celebrating 32 years of Commitment to Our Community & Beyond 

Universal Machine & Tool Company was formed by Darrel and Carolyn Gillespie in 1988, initially as a small machine shop making repair parts for local industry. In 1991, the expanding business was relocated to the present location in Brookside Industrial Park in Kingsport, Tennessee. From a start with a small lathe and milling machine operated by Darrel in a garage, many pieces of larger and more sophisticated CNC machinery have been added. Today the original Brookside Lane building has been more than doubled in size to over 63,000 sq. ft., with 30 employees serving a large local and regional market.

Building on Darrel’s background in printing and bookbinding, Universal Machine first focused on producing machine parts for that industry. As our reputation grew, orders began to develop in other fields. Decades later our customer list now spans most major local industries. Darrel and Carolyn's commitment continues to result in growth, success and continual upgrades to our facility capabilities.

More than 30 years after our humble beginnings, UMT maintains its reputation as a precision machine shop, producing complex, critical tolerance parts in carbon steel, stainless steel and more exotic materials. We are a family owned and operated business built on the philosophy of high quality and low price, where you can still deal directly with the owner and receive exceptional customer service.

Mobirise Mobirise

[est. 1988]

Darrel Gillespie
CEO / Founder

With a formal background in accounting, Darrel spent many years employed in purchasing as a buyer for mechanical and electrical supplies prior to operating in a maintenance environment for more than a decade. These cumulative past experiences serve him well as CEO and founder of Universal Machine & Tool Inc. 

Darrel is a native of the Town of Nickelsville, located in Scott County, VA.  He regularly engages in pursuits of philanthropy with friends and strangers alike.

Married with two daughters, Darrel loves and values family. He travels every chance he gets and is a military veteran having served six years with the U.S. Army. 

[est. 1998]

Stephanie Strode
Vice President

Stephanie graduated from Sullivan North High School in 1991 and from East Tennessee State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology in 1996. She went on to complete a Master of Science degree in social work from the University of Tennessee in 2001. She serves as Vice President at UMT and currently works as a Social Worker with the Veteran’s Administration at the V.A. Mountain Home in Johnson City, TN.

Stephanie was born and raised in Kingsport and currently lives with her husband Chris and three children, Carter, Riley and Emily in Johnson City. She enjoys spending her free time traveling with her family.   

[est. 2006]

Julia Hill
Secretary / Office Mgr.

Julia came to Universal Machine in 2006, bringing with her a collective ten years of experience in a business management environment. She previously held positions in accounting and processing with Medex Lab & spent four years as office manager for The Therapy Center. As UMT’s chief accounting executive and office manager Julia is a reliable administrator devoted to the success of her customers and employees alike. 

A native of Kingsport,  she graduated from Sullivan North High School & attended ETSU and NSTCC. She has been married for 19 years to Brian Hill, and has attended Friendship Chapel Church for two decades. Together with her husband, she enjoys skiing, hiking and traveling at every given opportunity. 

[est. 1998]

Shane McDavid
Shop Foreman

With 22-years experience at UMT, Shane possesses a varied background. He attended VA Tech and MECC. His uncanny ability to interpret customer prints and transcribe them into CNC programming for machining centers, Water-Jet, EDM and CMM, as well as operate the equipment to machine the parts, is not a trait easily found in today’s machining markets. He is well versed with Autocad, Gibbs CAM, OMAX Make and Layout and Calypso.

Shane, his wife Lindsey and their two children currently reside in Nicklesville. He enjoys 4-wheeler riding, the outdoors and spending time with his two daughters. His family attends Uplift Church and one of his many hobbies is guitar playing.   

[est. 2002]

Wayne Smith

Experienced as an Engineering/Maintenance manager for approximately 30-years, Wayne came onboard with Universal Machine & Tool in 2002. While his background is in Mechanical Engineering, Wayne has the capability of working across the boundaries of the varied disciplines faced daily in the performance and contribution to a well-managed and operated machining and fabricating facility.

Wayne is married and he and his wife have two daughters; one a Mechanical Engineer and one a Corporate Chef, and in his private life he enjoys interacting with his grandchildren, playing bass guitar in his church band, vegetable gardening and community service volunteering.    

[est. 1998]

Samuel Pierson
CAD/CAM Technician

Fresh out of college Sam came to UMT in 1995, after graduating with a degree in Applied Science from NSTCC. With more than 25 years experience in multiple CAM programs for vertical machine centers and lathes, Sam is highly skilled in design, programming, set-up and machining of both solid model and 2-dimensional parts. Additionally he has years of experience in reverse engineering, using traditional tools as well as standard and portable CMM, the latest being Faro Arm coupled with Design Works for Inventor.

Sam is a native of Kingsport, has never been married and has one daughter Zori Ember Pierson. He thoroughly enjoys being a dad and has a long list of hobbies that include playing a multitude of musical instruments, guitar repair drawing, painting and all things outdoors.

[est. 2012]

Barbara Quillen

Barbara came to Universal Machine & Tool in 2012, bringing with her a lifetime of blended skills that include data entry, accounting, inventory control, organizational management, customer service coordination and creative design. Graced with a sunny disposition and a passion for multi-tasking, she is the first face you see when you enter our facility and is eager to help in any capacity her capabilities allow.

Barbara has three children and lives in Gate City, VA. She spends her time away from work enjoying her family, performing volunteer services in the community and playing guitar.


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