Q: Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself (personally and professionally)?
A: I am a Professional Engineer with a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Maine. I have owned and managed Patriot Foundry & Castings for the last 9 years. I am involved in the American Foundry Society and the Small Business Association of New England. I have a wonderful family and a great group of friends. I have been coaching my three children’s basketball teams for the past 11 seasons. I love sports, photography, skiing, hiking, travelling and the great outdoors.
Q: How did you get started in the foundry business?
A: I fell in love with foundry work in 8th grade Industrial Arts class when I cast a knight’s head for my father. Later in life, I was an engineering consultant. I was consulting to Alcoa and was around their operations when it reignited the “fire”. My wife and I started looking for a manufacturing business to buy. This led to the foundry purchase in May of 2008.
Q: Can you describe your customers / what type of customers do you have?
A: Our customers cover a wide range of industries and sizes. Our biggest customers are multi-billion dollar conglomerates.
Our castings are used by the US Department of Defense, and the packaging machinery, gears, pumps, marine, electronics, medical, aerospace, firefighting, and retail industries. These larger customers have a common trait in that they have many casting requirements. However, they do not need tens of thousands of any part at a given time. They require dozens to thousands of a particular part per year.
We also have small customers trying to get their businesses off the ground. For instance, a horse expert came in after surviving his foot being stuck in the stirrup and dragged upside for miles. He developed a safety release stirrup. We cast aluminum “open” stirrups and he adds a release mechanism and leather art work.
Q: What are some of your “keys to success” in building your customer base?
A: For us, it is truly understanding what the customer needs. If they just needed nonferrous castings, they can call anyone with a furnace. However, most of the castings we make must meet specific criteria in order for them to be used in a particular application. For our Department of Defense customers, it is reliability and strength. For our packaging machinery customers, the castings must be free of porosity for the creation of dies that make egg cartons, ice cream containers, drinking cups to name a few.
But it is not just about making quality castings, Debbi and I have over 50 years of combined engineering consulting expertise. We work with our customers in a very different way than your typical foundry. We are continuously exploring ways to save our customers money and solve their part development challenges.
Two examples of this are:
Q: Is there anything about your business that you feel makes it special?
A: We are an ISO-certified, woman-owned small business located in a HUB Zone. We are energy efficient, having been awarded the Department of Energy Award for our Energy Intensity reductions.
We like to think our relationship with our customers, treating them as if they are a part of our company, partnering with them to solve their challenges, sets us apart. However, there is more to the business than a place to work. We are growing and providing opportunities for people to make a good living in an economically challenged area.
Q: Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? In the next ten years?
A: Over the next year, we will be buying and integrating new equipment. Sand casting is hard work. We need to ease the burden on our employees. We are evaluating a variety of technologies to make the job less strenuous. This investment will make our business a place where a wider variety of people will be able to work. This will enable further growth. On the 5 to 10 year horizon, we see the foundry moving into a larger space. Additionally, with the advancements in 3D printing and robotics, we see both of these technologies being integrated into the work place.
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Chris Leuteritz, PE
Patriot Foundry & Castings
Cellphone +1 (617) 794-4060
Office Phone +1 (603) 934-3919
Fax +1 (603) 934-1251