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Cirtronics Corp.: Bringing Ideas to Life From Concept through Reclamation
Cirtronics Corp. (Cirtronics) believes in its people more than most companies. The New Hampshire-based contract manufacturer has remained grounded in teamwork, trust, courage, integrity and a commitment to customers solidified by employee ownership since its founding by Gerardine Ferlins in 1979.
Today, the employee-owned company continues to invest in all areas of highly complex, expertise-oriented contract manufactured products, including material management, physical manufacturing and engineering to quality. Cirtronics’ extensive engineering, production, account management and supply chain management teams provide flexible support, from a customer’s initial product vision through to full production.
Expertise Makes the Difference
For a woman to establish her own business in the 1970s was quite a feat, but Gerardine utilized her background in teaching and sociology to bring a different perspective to the new company. “Gerardine recognized an opportunity in printed circuit board assembly [PCBA],” recalls Gregg Mozdy, vice president of business development of Cirtronics. “She saw a gap in the industry that begged for a manufacturer that could provide more than just working products, but the service and problem-solving skills to match. She’s always had a passion for people; she believes in the ability of an expert staff to exceed customer expectations.”
While many large-scale manufacturers pump out high volumes of product annually, Cirtronics remains focused on mid-volume, complex products that require both depth of skill, time, energy and a wide range of knowledge. “We might not be producing millions of products a year, but our goal is to provide a level of service unmatched by the larger contract manufacturers in the industry,” explains Gregg. “Our attention to detail and range of expertise set us apart.”
A Collaborative Culture
Gerardine continues to foster a collaborative culture at Cirtronics. “We believe a strong culture of emotionally invested team members provides our competitive edge,” says George Mandragouras, CFO of Cirtronics. “Therefore, an employee stock ownership plan [ESOP] was a natural progression for our company.”
In 2002 Cirtronics adopted its ESOP program, furthering the company’s team-oriented philosophy. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the vice president or a service representative, you come together to make decisions,” adds George. “All 150 of us work together to find solutions.”
Today Cirtronics’ employees own approximately 40 percent of the company. “Our culture is the most important, sustainable aspect of what we do here; it helps us believe in what we do,” reveals George. “Our vision is that a corporation can extend beyond itself to its employees, customers, suppliers, environment and the community.”
According to Gregg, the ESOP program has a direct correlation to Cirtronics’ outstanding customer service. “It’s important to connect the dots between the work we do for our clients and the sense of ownership our employees have,” Gregg adds. “The sense of purpose our team has lends itself well to exceeding our customer’s demanding expectations.”
Cirtronics helps customers determine if a product is cost-effective to create thorough in-depth design-for-manufacturability analyses. “We ensure that the original design allows for manufacturing at a reasonable cost,” details Gregg.
Cirtronics performs this type of analysis for clients throughout New England – mainly in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island – through a 175,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. “As our sphere of influence grows, we’re attracting customers with specific, technical needs from all over the country,” admits Gregg. “We’re expanding our reach outside of New England and into New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and even California.”
This level of growth is due to Cirtronics’ ability, as the company provides custom electronic contract manufacturing for prototypes, printed circuit boards (PCBs), electrical and electromechanical system assembly, as well as test services and logistics. Additionally, Cirtronics operates within multiple markets, including medical and health tech, military, aerospace, security, industrial, semiconductor, clean tech, communications and other emerging technologies.
Cirtronics shortens the time-consuming cycle that is product development by engaging design teams in the initial stages. “We recognize the value in capturing manufacturability and testability issues early on, prior to building a product,” explains George. “It just doesn’t make sense to waste valuable time and resources creating mistakes.”
Above and Beyond
In addition to the successful launch of products into the marketplace, Cirtronics helps to ease the logistical burden on customers by navigating numerous challenges involving demand acceleration, inventory risk mitigation, product lifecycle support, disaster recovery plans and competitive after-market pressures. “Our customers rely on us to sweat the details and make the process efficient,” shares George. “They look to us for creative solutions to complex issues. When you’re building for security and medical device companies developing products for cardiac imaging equipment, organ transplant systems and explosives detection equipment, challenges abound. Our flexibility and problem-solving expertise benefit everyone.”
The company has also expanded into robotic solutions and health fitness technologies, which helps combat the effects of the economic downturn. “Diversification into new markets continues to be a critical piece of our growth strategy,” reveals Gregg.
Gregg admits building trusted interpersonal relationships with clients over the years has allowed Cirtronics to build upon the company’s early successes with customers. “Because it takes a lot of time and resources to learn how to produce new products, growing with existing customers into new programs is key,” Gregg says. “Extending our strong internal relationships into our interaction with clients helps build respect and trust.”
After 16 years with Cirtronics, George believes in the Cirtronics difference. “We realized an opportunity to go completely turnkey back in 1997,” says George. “It became more compelling for customers to shift their entire assembly to Cirtronics, rather than just PCBA assembly; our full-service skill set now rivals much larger competitor’s offerings.”
According to George, employee ownership and company culture set Cirtronics apart from its competitors. “The average Cirtronics employee has been with the company for about 14 years,” George reveals. “We have people who are highly trained and skilled at what they do: this is more valuable to us than the revenue they help generate each day. The ESOP program isn’t just something we’ve adopted; it’s who we are as a company. I think our country would be in much better shape if more companies went ESOP; then, we’d be rowing in the same direction rather than in circles.”
Since 1979 Cirtronics has sought to spread a collaborative spirit throughout the company and the communities it serves. The Cirtronics team provides a bright example of how an ESOP program can elevate an organization within a competitive marketplace. Cirtronics Corp. continues to innovate, helping customers accelerate from concept to production and eventually, reclamation.
For more information about Cirtronics Corp., please visit: www.cirtronics.com.