(The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's PA Proud blog recently spoke with Matric Group President and CEO Rick Turner to learn how our growing, innovative EMS company utilized the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority [PIDA] program to invest in its future with upgraded machinery and job training. PIDA provides low-interest loans and lines of credit to businesses that commit to creating and retaining full-time jobs, and for the development of industrial parks and multi-tenant facilities.)
An EMS Company Keeping Up With Emerging Tech
Electronics continue to be a part of everyone’s lives in ways we couldn’t have dreamed about 10-15 years ago. From the evolution of cellphones to Amazon’s game-changing Alexa, the challenge of today’s electronic designer is to keep up. Fortunately for us, leaping out in front of new advancements allows Matric Group to quickly adapt to the lightning speed progression of innovation, ultimately positioning us ahead of the competition.
As the world of electronics evolved, Matric Group evolved along with it, adding new clients and projects to the roster every week. When I first realized the company was growing at an exponentially quick pace, I began to seek ways in which I could minimize my investment while growing the business. And that’s when we started taking advantage of loan programs through the state’s Department of Community of Economic Development (DCED). Throughout our operating history, we’ve applied for and utilized five PIDA loans.
To be approved for a PIDA loan, a company must create and/or retain jobs. We specifically used the Machinery and Equipment (M&E) portion of the program which is designed to help with equipment upgrades. In some cases, if a business upgrades their machinery, that could mean layoffs due to increased efficiency. But for Matric Group, advanced equipment allowed us to increase our capabilities, leading to more service offerings and job opportunities. Receiving those funds from the PIDA program meant cementing our stance as a leader in the manufacturing industry in Pennsylvania, while maintaining a competitive workforce comparable to that of electronic powerhouses Japan and China.
One Step at a Time
From job training to building expansion, PIDA loans have helped us grow in the state while reducing investments and providing jobs for associates.
We used our first PIDA loan to fund an acquisition and expansion in 1995. The loan allowed us to purchase and renovate an abandoned elementary school, which is where the company is located today. Over the next couple of years, we secured three more loans to build additional manufacturing space, leading up to our existing 80,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility. We also purchased new machinery and equipment and started job training for employees.
In today’s highly electronic world, it’s critical to stay abreast of technological advancements that are available in the industry. To meet the demands and remain competitive, we recently applied for another loan to help secure the latest state-of-the-art equipment. Last fall, we completed a $1.4 million capital equipment investment for the installation of a surface mount technology line, consisting of 13 new machines that can place smaller parts into devices with lightning-quick speed and enhanced precision and accuracy. Now, the company has the capacity to place over 70,000 parts an hour, in hopes of reaching new levels of efficiency and customer satisfaction. And since the new line was installed, we’ve created 75 jobs.
Shaping Future Minds
We absolutely love our location here in Pennsylvania. We enjoy access to 50 percent of the country’s population and major highways. While most of our clients are based in the state, we’re still within 5.5 hours from cities in New York and Ohio. Growing and operating in Seneca means providing jobs for skilled and dedicated workforce. The people that are working at the company are the lifeblood of our business — they are the heart and souls of the company. We choose to remain in Pennsylvania because of their skill set and work ethic.
That’s exactly what the industry needs to continue to thrive -- folks who are ready and willing to do the job with passion. And that comes from an early age, too. We have regular visits by technical and high schools with science and electronic interests. We offer tours and provide information to students who are aspiring to join the business we’re in. By doing this, we’re greatly impacting the community in a positive way, and we’ll continue to do that. From sponsoring junior achievement programs to nationally competitive robotics teams, we’ll always be involved in shaping the next generation of aspiring innovators.
Overall, the PIDA program has helped us to gain competitive advantage in the global electronics industry. We’ve paid off four out of the five loans ahead of schedule; I believe in every instance that’s attributed to our continued development. As we expand and stay involved in groundbreaking discoveries and technological advancements, we’ll continue to utilize DCED resources. This new chapter is very exciting for us, and we’re so thankful that we get to share the moment with our fellow Pennsylvanians.
(Rick Turner has been the president and primary owner of Matric Group for 24 years. Prior to acquiring the company, Turner was President of Falconer Glass Industries.)
(Follow Matric Group on Facebook or LinkedIn for more info. Learn more about the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority program by visiting the DCED website. If you are interested in expanding or relocating your business in Pennsylvania, start the conversation with the Governor’s Action Team. Stay up to date on all Pennsylvania company news by following the DCED on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook and by signing up for its monthly e-newsletter.)