Congressman Tom Reed is not using his congressional recess to relax. As part of his schedule, Reed visited REM-tronics in Dunkirk Tuesday.
Reed was escorted through the facility, which manufactures products for the aerospace, space, military and medical industries, by Controller Ron Towers, Director of Continual Improvement Sandra Mullen and Manufacturing Leader Rosanne Genovese.
Reed was also joined by legislator and county executive candidate Vince Horrigan. Horrigan said he may be familiar with some of the parts REM-tronics manufactures for military aircraft because he flew M16's in the U.S. Airforce.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Congressman Tom Reed (center back) examines a product manufactured at REM-tronics as County Legislator and County Executive Candidate Vince Horrigan (right) and Director of Continual Improvement Sandra Mullen look on. Also pictured is Robin Sack inspecting the products before shipment.
Towers began the tour by explaining how the company came to its Dunkirk facility.
"The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency was instrumental in getting us here," he said, explaining the company had to gut the old facility and move from its Silver Creek facility piece by peice.
"We had to move up cell by cell because we couldn't stop production for our customers," Mullen explained.
Towers said the family-owned company has been around for 40 plus years in Chautauqua County and makes products for many companies including Boeing, GE and Moog.
He explained the company looked at its current facility shortly after Petri's left in the 1970s, but did not want to deal with the mold and flour left behind.
Reed and Horrigan were shown workers assembling and inspecting products as well as the equipment and materials used to make the products.
They were also shown a new medical technology by Vice President and General Manager Matt Karalunas which can help people with cancer.
"Fascinating," Horrigan commented.
Workers were gathered and Reed told them ask any questions or voice any concerns. One worker said she is concerned with foreign labor taking American jobs.
Towers ended the tour by saying the expansion to the facility has allowed it to increase the number of workers from 56 to 80 and counting.
He also observed the company is lucky to be in the area where the electricity needed for the operation of the facility is readily available, but the repowering of NRG is still critical.
"I am 100 percent behind the repowering of NRG. I think the Public Service Commission is only looking at the short-term. We will need that power when we start building in Western New York. It is an imminent threat that needs to be addressed and we are on it," he said.
Finishing the tour, Reed observed the larger number of women employees at the facility and its success in establishing roots in the community.
"We are home from Washington and we want to talk to the front lines of U.S. manufacturing. We did the Purina tour. We wanted to come back and this is a great example of a great company, relocating and planting its roots in Chautauqua County showing people it can be done and replicating this across the district," Reed said of the purpose of his visit.