SOUTHINGTON - Having recently hired several young apprentices through state supported training programs, Arna Machine Company now wishes to expand.
Arna Machine, located at 95 Wooster Court, supplies the military with components for weapons and manufactures control systems for submarines. They also supply local spring makers with replacement parts for their machines and help to rebuild them.
Owner Stephen Shanahan said many of these machines have been in service 60 years and companies can’t easily afford to replace them. Young workers with the skills to repair them, he said, are hard to find.
“We’ve set up apprenticeships and internships with local universities,” said Shanahan. “We’ve brought in a lot of young people and the older folks who are still working here helped to train them. Because of the various cycles of the economy there are a lot of 65- to 70-year-old people in the manufacturing industry who can’t afford to retire. We’re fortunate to have them here because they have varied skill sets and can teach people a lot more than they’d get from an engineering degree program.
“Of those who have participated in our programs we’ve hired about 20 percent of them.”
Shanahan credited state Rep. Cara Pavalock-D’Amato, R-Bristol, for helping to support the manufacturing apprenticeship program that reimburses companies for “tuition, wages and performance compensation.”
Shanahan said Arna Machine Company, which will celebrate its “65th birthday” next year, is “on a good path” because of its acquisitions over the years, which have allowed the company to diversify.
The company was founded as Majestic Tool in 1953. Shanahan joined Arna Machine Company in 1996. The company acquired Sharpe Manufacturing in 1997 and moved to its current Wooster Court location in 1998.
The remaining shares for the company were purchased from the founder’s son in 1999. Several other acquisitions followed.
“We are going to expand,” said Shanahan. “I’ve been very happy with Justin Malley (economic development director) and the present mayor. We are financially in a place where we could see 20 percent growth a year for the next three to five years. We currently employ 26 people and we could expect to hire five to seven more people a year. We’re using 30,000 square feet out of our 55,000-square-foot building and we may acquire four more companies in the near future.”
For more information, call 860-583-0628 or visit arnamachine.com.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.