Aldine Metal Products CEO Celebrating 80 Years Of Advanced Manufacturing
Newtown resident and third generation CEO of Aldine Metal Products Rodd Blessey knows that a lot of knowledge and practical know-how has gone into the successful development of products and parts the company manufactures for its national and international group of clients.
But one thing he does not know as he and his father, Richard, celebrate the company's 80th year of business is the origin of the Aldine's name.
"Neither my father or I ever bothered to ask my grandfather about where the name came from," Rodd Blessey toldÃÂ The Newtown BeeÃÂ during a recent visit to the plant, located on Route 7 just north of the Brookfield/New Milford line.
So while the company name remains something of a mystery, it is no mystery that the Blessey family has manufactured a reputation for delivering exceptionally well-machined products on time and on spec.
Aldine Metal Products' continued success is evidenced by its many contracts, including a few with clients and government agencies going back to the early days of the company, when it had its humble beginnings under founder Robert Blessey in Brooklyn, New York back in 1938.
"Back in those first few years, virtually everything my grandfather and his workers made was for the military," Mr Blessey said. "Some of their earliest products were ship furniture for Navy vessels."
It did not take long for Aldine's reputation to grow, however, and soon the company was expanding into a wide line of commercial metal products, outgrowing its New York location and spurring a move to Brookfield, Connecticut in 1955.
"The company just kept growing and growing in Brookfield," Mr Blessey said. "Eventually, we ran out of room there, so we started looking for more space. That led us to our present location here in New Milford in 2007."
Even today, Mr Blessey is poised to take over neighboring space in the building he shares with several other small businesses.
"Since we relocated here, we've added about 5,000 square feet of space, and we're about to expand into 7,000 more," he said.
Quality Not Quantity
The secret of the company's progress, Mr Blessey said, has long been making and nurturing long-term relationships with a manageable number of key clients, versus trying to adopt a quantity-driven approach.
"We've done well partnering with key clients," he said. "And we found as they grew, we grew, and we took a measured approach as far as adding on new projects and new clients.
"Our team now and always has been amazing," Mr Blessey said of his Aldine staff. "They are the ones who have paved the way for our success. At the same time, our products have always been top quality, competitively priced - even against foreign competitors."
That stellar workforce and commitment to quality and service have earned Aldine long and mutually fruitful business relationships with brands as globally recognizable as Pitney Bowes, Sealed Air, and Accutrol.
From a consumer standpoint, anyone who has ever received a mail order package from the likes of Amazon has likely touched something that was generated from parts that Aldine manufactured. The company creates the parts for the machines that pump air into the bladder bags that cushion sensitive and delicate shipments or that offset the extra space inside over-sized packing boxes.
"We almost always supply our clients with a finished product or piece of a product that we typically work with them on from custom specifications to precise fabrication," Mr Blessey said.
"We're never just a bidder on these jobs, though. We work side by side with our clients' teams from concept to design to manufacturing to delivery to ensure they get the best product at the lowest cost."
The Blessey family also worked with another Newtown neighbor, Dr Joseph F. Engelberger, an American physicist, engineer, and businessman, known globally as the "Father of Robotics." Aldine worked closely with the renowned scientist when he designed a prototype V robot that went to work plying the halls at Danbury Hospital back in 1988.
Yes, We're Hiring!
Today, along with serving the company's client base, Mr Blessey is also working on maintaining and building a growing employee base at Aldine.
"I recently hired three great guys out of the Advanced manufacturing class at Naugatuck Valley Community College," he said. "These guys are in their very early 20s, and they're making a high hourly wage with plenty of overtime opportunity, great benefits, and a generous retirement plan.
"They're probably making more than almost any of their peers who are just finishing college, two or three times what they could make in a routine office, retail, or service job, and they get to work in a clean, friendly, family-oriented environment," he added. "The problem is, I could use ten more of them."
Mr Blessey sings a similar songÃÂ as a chorus of peers in advanced manufacturing companies large and small across the state, which on any given day see as many as 3,000-plus job slots go unfilled.
"If you are a young person out there who wants to work or someone returning to or making a career change and you would consider going through one of the state's manufacturing training programs, we want to talk to you," Mr Blessey said before heading back into the shop to pitch in on completing the day's planned production schedule.
Learn more about the state's advanced manufacturing training opportunities at ct.edu/makeithere.
And learn more about Aldine Metal Proiducts Corp at aldinemetal.com.
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