by Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC
Each year, I try to dedicate at least three of my articles to spotlight manufacturing companies across our 13 counties of northwest PA. I visit so many manufacturers that are doing incredible and interesting work with meaningful history and fascinating stories that it’s truly hard to narrow down to a few. It wasn’t that long ago, September to be precise, when I wrote about a couple of manufacturers in Mercer county, so it was easy to find my way back to that area to tell another story. Afterall, all roads lead to and go through Mercer County, as our good partner, Penn Northwest, proudly proclaims.
In my manufacturing spotlight this month is a rock star in the world of heavy metal. No, I’m not talking about a rock star or music from the late 60s and early 70s. I’m talking about a local manufacturer of overhead cranes that enables other heavy metals manufacturers to move their big and heavy parts and products through their manufacturing line from one end of their facilities to the other end. It’s fascinating to watch an overhead crane in operation in a manufacturing facility and think about how critically important that crane operation is to the manufacturing process and to that business.
G.W. Becker Inc., a family-owned company in Hermitage, PA., knows this better than anyone. From its humble start in 1980, the company has grown from a local overhead crane parts supplier to a recognized industry leader offering a full spectrum of overhead crane related products and services throughout North America. During my recent visit, I had a chance to spend some time with Chris Becker. Chris shared how his father, George, took his industry experience and passion for manufacturing and started his own machine shop from their family home. Chris reflected on his time as a 12-year-old when he would come home from school and his father would have parts ready for him to work on. Today, George and Chris continue to work closely as the company’s CEO and President, respectively.
In 2000, the company transitioned from service to manufacturing their own products. Since that time, the company has experienced significant growth. A larger manufacturing building was acquired in 2007, a second building in 2014, and a building expansion project that further increased capacity in 2019. Today, the company has 70 employees. I asked Chris what was in their secret sauce to realize such significant growth and success and I listened intently. The vision for the company is to be the single source provider of overhead crane products and services for all its customers. From inspection, design, engineering, and manufacturing to installation, training, asset management, and beyond. The company strives to function as an extension of its customer’s business focusing on solving problems and delivering custom solutions. I love it! And of course, as Chris went on to emphasize, this requires skilled, talented, and loyal employees that deliver highly personalized service. I could feel the pride Chris has in his team. Another key ingredient in G.W. Becker’s secret sauce is their commitment and involvement in their community and industry associations. Chris leads the way by being very involved in meaningful things outside of work and truly enjoys helping, mentoring, and supporting others.
Keep rocking Chris, George, and the entire team at G.W. Becker Inc. What you do, and how well you do it, is a heavy lift, but it is so meaningful not only to the success of your company and community, but also to the manufacturing industry.