A Chester County Manufacturing Success Story: From Mechanic to Manufacturing President
Tom Walser, founder of CNC Manufacturing Inc. and owner of MTI Dental, began his interest in manufacturing as a Delaware County high school student working on cars. His natural interest and aptitude was enhanced as a machinist during his three years in the United States Navy.
After being discharged from the Navy in 1988, Tom began a summer internship as a machine tool operator for a small Delaware County firm. Tom originally planned to complete the summer internship and begin his engineering studies at PSU the following fall.
However, as circumstances changed, he decided to remain with the firm and gained valuable experience and responsibilities. After seven years at that firm, Tom left and worked for another Machine & Tool company as an Applications Engineer.
During his two years at that firm, Tom was able increase his mechanical skills and began to learn about sales and business side of manufacturing. These two experiences provided Tom with the skills and industry understanding to begin his own business.
In 1997, Tom started his own manufacturing business, CNC Manufacturing, Inc. in a small location in West Chester. The business began by making small parts for a variety of industries, including medical, aerospace, industrial, automotive, electronics and recreational sporting.
After seven years at that location, the business grew to where a larger location was needed. So, Tom moved his business to Kennett Square with 12 employees and seven machines. As a result of Tom’s commitment to quality products and on time performance, CNC Manufacturing outgrew its original facility in Kennett Square.
This industry leading company, with expertise in the precision machining of performance critical parts in diverse industries, including dental, defense and aerospace, needed a new space to accommodate existing and future growth opportunities.
Through his involvement with the Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware Counties (MACC/DC), Tom was familiar with the CCEDC and the multitude of services available to investors. As a result, Tom chose to utilize Seedcopa, another CCEDC initiative, to finance the relocation and expansion of his business.
With the assistance and guidance of the Seedcopa and CCEDC staff, and utilizing a 504 lean package, Tom was able to purchase a new 37,000 square foot headquarters near Coatesville.
Once the renovations to the facility were complete in 2014, his 34 employees and 17 automated and advanced manufacturing machines were ready to handle the increased demand for his services.
In 2015, Tom purchased and moved a second business, MTI Dental which was located in Lakewood, New Jersey, into the Coatesville facility. Tom’s company, CNC Manufacturing, had previously made parts for MTI Dental. The second business increased the overall staff to 46 and added additional precision manufacturing machines.
Successfully relocated in the new facility, CNC Manufacturing features some of the industries most technologically advanced machining and quality control equipment, which enables CNC Manufacturing to deliver precise parts with the tightest of tolerances.
As a result of these high standards, CNC Manufacturing, including sister companies: CNC Technology and MTI Dental, have earned the coveted DEKRA ISO 9001:2008 certification.
As Vice Chair of the Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware Counties (MACC/DC) Board of Directors, and an active supporter of the Alliance activities, Tom has also benefitted from the opportunities to meet other area manufacturers. Sharing ideas, industry changes and personnel needs are often discussed at the MACC/DC meetings and networking events.
As an example, Tom was able to secure a significant contract from another area manufacturer who was interested in securing a local manufacturer to produce precise parts that meet their unique specifications.
Through the Alliance, Tom has also shared personal experiences and other valuable information with MACC/DC members. As an active member of the Alliance, Tom has both benefitted from Alliance activities and the services and other Industry Partnerships available through the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC).