Making Ripples

Finish Thompson’s hometown, Erie, Pennsylvania, has a rich manufacturing history. Having risen to regional then national prominence in the early 20th century from its large concentration of iron and steel manufacturing, Erie later became a national leader in plastic manufacturing, a reputation that it still enjoys today. Despite the many past successes Erie has had with the manufacturing sector, more recently it has highlighted Erie’s failures and stagnation. The last 30 years saw a number of high-profile, multinational, industrial companies leave the area. And this past spring, the last Fortune 500 manufacturer with a significant presence in Erie warned of an imminent substantial layoff that many see as a sign of more trouble to come in the marriage between the city and the company. For obvious reasons, the gradual waning of manufacturing is concerning for our community.

There are many reasons for Finish Thompson associates to be proud of our 60-plus years in business and the achievement of doubling revenue in just the past five years. Near the top of the list is the fact that with growth comes manufacturing job creation. Since 2008, Finish Thompson’s total number of employees has increased by 50%. While this may be a drop in Erie’s jobs bucket, it’s nevertheless created a ripple to be proud of. And with our goals to continue to grow approximately 20% annually, it’s a ripple that should get bigger, bringing new jobs opportunities with it. We’re proud to be providing some shelter against prevailing economic trends in this part of the country.

There have been some additions to the Finish Thompson team this year. In the plant, David Orsini has been of service in many different areas of operation, from plastic molding to welding and fabrication. Jeremy Torok recently joined our second shift where he operates CNC equipment. Tim Shogren is a fresh graduate of Penn State Behrend and joined FTI as a Product and Design Engineer. Sergio Avila joined FTI in January to serve as FTI’s Regional Sales Manager for Latin America.

This past April Finish Thompson held its 2013 Regional Conference in beautiful Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We had the pleasure of hosting distribution partners from all over the Americas, including Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Chile. As titillating as the presentations and hand-on trainings were, the real fun came during the final night as the conga line moved from the dance floor and into the fountain. When asked by resort management to get everyone out of the fountain, FTI’s previously bilingual sales team could only say, “No hablo.” Be on the lookout for details of next year’s Regional Conference, where we’ll be making ripples in Marrakech, Morocco.

~by Casey Bowes, President & CEO