THOMASTON — Although many believe that manufacturing is vanishing in the United States, Ward Leonard Electric Co. President Michael Clute says manufacturing is still alive and well, especially in towns along the banks of the Naugatuck River.
“It’s very important that we get it out there that manufacturing is still vital,” Clute said. “Manufacturers are looking for highly skilled employees.”
At Ward Leonard, advanced computer skills are among a growing list of abilities important in the manufacturing world.
So much goes into building motors that can run without a hiccup while a submarine dives deep into the ocean, said Yoram Shahar, vice president of operations.
Machinists, welders and electricians have to be the best at what they do to build Ward Leonard products, he said.
Ward Leonard designs motors, relays, contactors, controllers, communications controllers and specialized electronic switches and instruments, according to information supplied by the Watertown Road manufacturing company.
Common and uncommon products are in stock or can be made quickly from parts at the Thomaston facility, where the company assembles and shock-tests its products.
The high-stress environments of military, marine, petroleum exploration, mining and heavy industrial applications demand robust, unfailing products from the Thomaston plant.
Ward Leonard has been working with demanding clients for more than 100 years, moving quickly to adapt new technologies for new requirements and providing service without match.
The company, which employs about 160 workers, has been in Thomaston for more than a decade.
As the company expands from government-based manufacturing into commercial markets, the number of highly-skilled employees needed will continue to grow.
“These people are super-skilled and super important,” Thomaston First Selectman Ed Mone said. “[Companies like Ward Leonard] are our lifeblood.”
Chief Financial Officer Rocco Ferraro said Ward Leonard is always looking into technical schools for students who are passionate about manufacturing to fill new roles at the company.
Clute said he and his employees are proud of what they do in Thomaston and the manufacturing being done in the United States.
“Let’s not forget about it,” he said. “Let’s support it.”
Special to The Express