By Angela Rose | Sep 11, 2017
Precision sheet metal fabication
Industry: Contract Manufacturing
Products: Precision sheet metal fabrication
When Wilcoxson's father, Gary, started the contract precision sheet metal manufacturing company 35 years ago in the family's small garage, he may not have imagined it would grow into a business with $1 million in annual revenue -- but that's exactly what happened. While Gary did not get to see the evolution for himself -- passing on in 1990 -- his wife and the company's president, Lea Davis, and son have been there to guide it every step of the way.
"He created quite the legacy in those eight years," says Wicoxson. "When my father passed, my mom decided to keep the business in the family and continue to run it. Then, in 1995, she was diagnosed with Shaver's disease."
Also known as bauxite fibrosis, the condition made it necessary for Davis to take a step back from the business. "She could no longer come into the shop because her body couldn't deal with the metal dust that is produced there," Wilcoxson explains. "Fortunately, she had a great team to take over and help her run the company remotely."
Wilcoxson came on board in 2004 to fill the general manager role. The company purchased its current 12,000-square-foot shop in east Longmont 10 years ago and now serve customers across the U.S. in a variety of industries.
"One of our largest [markets] is the medical device industry," Wilcoxson says. "That makes up about 55 percent of what we do." He and his team manufacture the framework, covers, and doors for laboratory blood cell splitting machines and other medical equipment. He estimates another 20 percent of their jobs are for the oil and gas industry, including framework, bracketry, and covers for gas chromatographs.
"We've also made custom countertops for liquor stores and all other kinds of things from components for scientific instruments to automotive parts. If you name it, we can make it," he adds.
Whenever possible, the company sources materials locally. "If we're ordering a special material, we may not be able to," Wilcoxson says. "But most of the time, we order from a couple different suppliers in Denver."
Wilcoxson says employyes also take pride in the attention to detail they bring to every project. "We have a quality system in place to ensure parts are made to the print of the customer before they ever leave our shop," he states.
Challenges: Keeping up with continuous innovation, "It can be challenging to meet the constantly changing needs of our customers," Wilcoxson says. "In the medical device industry, for example, every day there is an email about something new."
Opportunities: Wilcoxson would like to grow the company's customer base within big Colorado industries such as aerospace and oil and gas. He also sees prototyping as a way to maximize his share of the market. "We get a fair amount of calls from people looking for quick-turn jobs," he says. "Those are always promising, because you get paid for completing the project quickly, but they can also throw a wrench into day-to-day operations." He predicts moderate revenue growth for his company over last year.
Needs: "We need to purchase a laser," Wilcoxson says. "It will give us a different way to cut out material to make different parts, and that's definitely one of our larger needs."
He also says he'd like to build some relationships with potential employees. "It's always good to know some people for the future. While it can be tough to find qualified personnel, we usually hire for personality and trainability. Yes, you should have some good skills in the line of work, but if you have the right mindset for the hands-on stuff we do, you can be trained to do it."