As far back as I can remember, I have been a gearhead and totally interested in mechanical things. From being 2 years old in the fireplace with my bulldozer to enjoying dreaming and making pretend of having engines and go-karts and boats. Everything from chemistry sets, to electrical engineering sets, models, steam engines, I was into all of them. As I became old enough, my father (who was also a very talented craftsman in many arena’s), started teaching me many skills that to this day I continue to use. Whether it was mechanics, welding, blacksmithing, Gunsmithing, electrical, carpentry, I just sucked it all in.
I hated all 12 years of my school experience. The only subjects that could hold me where music, Shop and a psychology course that I really liked. The rest of all my classes we nothing but in my way to get out in the world and build things. All I wanted to do was build things and learn how things worked. I had go kart, mini bikes, boats, models of all kinds, and electronic equipment. I use the experience I gained from all of the experimenting, trial and error and just plain Yankee ingenuity almost every day of my life.
As I got older my desire to build bigger and faster things overwhelmed my abilities. This inspired me to get jobs where I could learn skills that would enable me to build anything I wanted to. My first job was a maintenance position at a local Factory where I used my mechanical electrical plumbing and carpentry skills for several months before I found a job in a machine shop. This shop took me in as an apprentice where they made light-measuring instruments for the National Bureau of Standards. This experience building very high-end Precision components taught me the finer skills of Machining.
After a few years of Machining experience at this establishment, I got into racing boats where I needed more experience building engines and machining race components. This led me to work for another company that did high-end engine building and engine component Machining.
After working there for a few years I found myself hungry for more and as I shared this desire to a friend of mine who owned his own business, he suggested that I start my own Machining business.
After deciding to start my own business I renovated a 20 by 20 garage by busting the old concrete floor out, insulating the walls pouring a new floor and putting in heat and a new electrical service which I was able to do all myself. This all happened November 1978.
I bought a few machines and set up shop where I was building custom parts for boats, motorcycles and homebuilt aircraft. I still to this day have all my original machines I started out with in my shop downstairs of the regular shop and I still use all that equipment to build all of my toys now. The only issue now is that with 33 employees and all the equipment, I am being squeezed out of my own shop!!!
One day I visited an older machine shop that was close by to see if he had any work for me. He had a job that he was having trouble with and asked if I had any ideas. I took the parts home that he was trying to make and came up with a process on how to make them in production. I went back to show the other machine shop owner, and he really liked what he saw. He told me that he didn’t want to do any production work so that if I wanted to contact the customer and do the work for them directly he was okay with that. At that point, I was on my way with my first commercial customer.
After that, word of mouth was my best sales tool in getting more work and eventually being able to buy a building and move and expand. I built the shop up to 7 employees working for various Aerospace and electronics companies doing well. In 1981 there was a huge lack in work where I was back down to myself and one part-timer. I was fixing lawn mowers snow blowers snowmobiles and got involved with a friend of mine with ultralight aircraft. They were having all kinds of trouble with the Power Systems and control systems of these ultralight aircraft. I designed a new power system and control system that work very well. The factory of these ultralight aircraft, got wind of what I was doing and offered me a job in their company as an engineer. At that point in my life I didn’t know what I really wanted to end up doing, so I took the job offer and moved to Western Massachusetts along with my machine shop. That job only lasted six to eight months before the company folded and I was faced with either going back into business or buying a motorhome and going across country to see when I could find.
My girlfriend at that time was finishing up College and we didn’t know what we really wanted to do. We had pretty much concluded that we wanted to just pack everything up that we owned into storage, buy a motor home, and travel the country for a year or two to see where we wanted to end up.
One afternoon I was going for a ride to look around the area as I always like to look at land and property. I came across this property that I’m at now but it was very foggy and I didn’t see the view of the valley and the pond. The very next day I took my girlfriend Jeanne to look at the place. It was a crystal-clear day where we came over the crest of the hill and saw the view and the pond. We instantly fell in love with the place even though it was under a foot and a half of snow in the middle of February.
The issue was, I didn’t have a job so I had to decide of how I was going to make a living, and the only way I knew how too, was to start the Machine Shop back up again. I rented a small space at the airport in Turners Falls, and dragged my Machinery out and set it up and started back in business. In 1985, I renovated the cow barn on the farm that we bought and brought my machine shop up to the farm into the newly renovated building. The barn was a 40 by 40 cow barn with a Hayloft. I have the Machinery downstairs and my office is in The Hayloft.
Since then the business has grown to over 30 employees, with several building renovations giving us a total of 8000 square feet a Manufacturing, and another 5000 ft. of office and support area.