Local Company Celebrates 60 Years, Expansion Of Facility
CELORON — A local company is celebrating 60 years of business and the expansion of its facility in Celoron.
On Thursday, local officials gathered at Industrial Welding & Fabricating Co. to celebrate the milestone and witness the designing and fabrication of structural building components.
The business was established in 1956 by Frank Santucci and incorporated in 1980 by Fred Santucci. Gene and Susan Wilston purchased the company in 2008 with Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency assistance through a $500,000 Al Tech loan.
Today, the company continues to serve the construction and industrial markets locally, in Buffalo and Pittsburgh. IFW also serves the general public.
“I think 2008 was a great year for construction business. 2009 was a terrible year, so we hit a cliff and the good news is we survived and learned from it and I think it made us lean and efficient,” said Gene. “Since then, we’ve tried to improve technology we use and the skillset of employees we have.”
The company fabricates a number of products from mezzanines, catwalks and manufacturing structures for the industrial sector. They also service the residential market with handrails, stairs and arbors. IWF’s fabrication facility, located on Jackson Street in Celoron, also offers repairs for manufacturing equipment, truck beds, plows and boats.
The company employs 16 people. Susan manages general business functions including contract management, financial controls, strategic planning and human resources. On the other side, Gene provides engineering services as an estimator and project manager.
“Essentially, what happens is (Susan) runs operations with the plant manager and I deal with the field service crews and project management,” Gene said. “We complement our skills very well.”
Officials had the chance to get a glimpse into operations from the design, engineering and production of rails to the fabrication of a sign for a park in Warren County. The company is equipped with high-definition plasma cutting, punch press, and press brake to enable component manufacturing. Gene said they’ve fabricated products for 58 McDonald’s restaurants. The company is currently engaged in a project at a strip mall in Pittsburgh and Gene said roughly 60 percent of their business is conducted in the Buffalo area.
“We cover a big area,” Gene said. “All fabricating and structural work comes out of this facility and we have a great set of field crew. Some of our field crew is in Buffalo because we have so much work up there.”
Along with 60 years of business, IWF is breaking ground on a 3,600 square-foot steel service addition to its 12,000 square-foot shop. Susan said it’ll be used to service internal material needs as well as growing demand for steel sales to the general public.
IWF received proclamations celebrating 60 years of business from Assemblyman Andy Goodell, state Sen. Cathy Young’s Office, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed’s Office and the village of Celoron.