Friday February 9, 2018

Wired For Success: UWT Continues to Build Momentum

Family owned business on Constantia thrives following setback
By Matthew Liptak

    United Wire Technologies plans on expanding this year, and its business is up 30 percent since a devastating fire in 2012.

    The fire that rampaged through their facility five years ago didn't stop the family business. United Wire procured the equipment they needed and then a space in Syracuse and never missed filling a contract.

    “We never missed a beat,” said co-owner Jim Ransom. “We had a period of time where it was critical. We had like three to five weeks to play [with].”

    The company rebuilt its presence back in Constantia where it had started in a newly refurbished building at 1804 state Route 49. It has worked out well.

    “We're much greener,” Ransom said. “We're pretty much energy efficient because, obviously, the building we put up this time was very highly insulated. We just built the whole building differently.”

    Ransom said he is much happier with the new place.

    “It's all on one floor,” he said. “The biggest thing is that we have more property. We have room for more expansion down the road if we need to. Even with this new expansion we could probably expand two and a half times if we had to.”

    The facility sits on about nine acres, and is expanding already. They've added 10,000 square feet to it, and plan to add four or five jobs by some time this, Ransom said.

    Presently United Wire Technologies employs 17 people. That number is expected to rise to 22.

    “This is very substantial growth for us,” Ransom said. “This is as much as we've ever grown. We plan to keep growing.”

    Ransom attributes the biggest part of their growth with the quality of their wire product and the pains they go to make it the best they can. But he also said the growth is from the growth of existing markets as well as the companies forays into new areas.

    “It's starting to come to fruition now,” he said. “We've gotten into the copper-clad steel, the copper-clad aluminums. That's a whole new market for us.”

    United Wire Technology is a niche company. It exploits a demand for smaller orders from companies around the world. They custom make the wire for orders ranging from one pound to 10,000 pounds. Their wire goes into products like guitar strings, zippers and springs, to name a few.

    Currently, it produces about 1 million pounds of wire a year, and sales are around $5 million. They have upwards of 200 clients, Jim Ransom said.

    The Ransom family started United Wire Technologies in 1938. James, 73, runs it with his sons Donald and Michael. He has seen quite a bit of change over the years.

    “I did a lot of business back in the 70's with Bethlehem Steel,” he said. “They're gone now. There used to be three or four hundred wire companies in the United States. Now I think you've got less than 100 that actually make wire like us.”

    Ransom said he loves working with his sons, with whom he says there is little or no conflict. He also cares about his employees. He said in running a family business you work 24/7 for both his family and theirs.

    “You have a great feeling toward your employees because you know they depend on you,” he said. “You're pushing for everybody. You're pushing for your family and you're pushing for their families.”

    Ransom said he has no plans to retire anytime soon. He, his sons, and the work force are a tight-knit group.

    “We're very close to our employees because the fact is we appreciate them,” he said. “We appreciate what they do. Everybody does their job. Everybody knows each other. It's just great.”

    United Wire Technologies is loyal to Constantia. They plan on hiring locals for the new positions if they can. They prefer to hire those without a background in the industry because it's easier to train the prospect on the state-of-art equipment they have at the facility.

    For United Wire Technologies, getting back on its feet, wasn't something they accomplished without help from the community.

    Jim Ransom took time to single out and commend the assistance of Mike Treadwell and David Dano from Operation Oswego County, the Oswego County designated economic agency.

    “They've been tremendous,” he said. “They have been there for us right from the get-go. From right after the fire we first talked to them and they helped us with financing some stuff, equipment. They've been very good.”

    As for the future of the company, Ransom is bullish. He sees bright horizons ahead for his family business.

    “The future of the company looks good,” he said. “I see more growth.”