Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Innovation in Madison County

“Our president, Carsten Juchheim, had enough of trying to operate in an expensive place like Philadelphia and moved Jumo here a couple of years ago.” Sales Manager Robin Talukdar explained how the American division of a global German company moved their operations to upstate NY.

“Carsten started our US operations about 10 years ago when he moved to this country. His grandfather started the business in 1946 when he left East Germany and walked across the border to Fulda, Germany and started to make thermometers, which were a specialty in his region of East Germany. Today, we’ve got 1,700 employees and sell temperature related products all over the world.”

Another company that Peter Cann took me to tour was Ferris, a Briggs & Stratton division that makes commercial lawn mowers. Jerry Dawes, VP of Finance, explained the origins of the company, “Jesse Ferris and William Uebler set up a company in 1909 to exploit the milking machine that Uebler invented.”

The company moved into an old high school built in 1928, transforming it over the past eight years into a world class manufacturing center. The building has grown from an original 120,000 sf to over 215,000 sf in 2007. Sales have grown from just over $10 million in 1998 when they made the move to over $100 million today.

How the company has recycled and transformed this old school was amazing. The old gymnasium is used as a showroom.

Madison County also is home to Copesetic, an industrial design and engineering proto-type show and Dielectric Laboratories, a producer of ceramic components.

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