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August 15, 2012 / Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce

Okay Industries Celebrates 100 Years of Manufacturing!

BERLIN — Okay Industries showed New Britain and Berlin how to stage a centennial celebration.

On Tuesday, the medical engineering and manufacturing facility celebrated 100 years in business and its expansion into Berlin with a ribbon-cutting party for its employees. Gov. Dannel Malloy stopped by to praise Okay for its “great leadership, great ownership and great employees” that have made it a successful company.

“It’s not the government or the governor,” said Malloy. “It’s you, the people who work day in and day out, pay your taxes, raise your families and make great products that make Connecticut great.”

Okay President Jason Howey traced the company’s growth and accomplishments, and how it developed new strategies to meet changing market demands. Howey also credited Okay’s workers as the foundation for the company’s growth and success.

“By adding highly dedicated and talented people throughout the organization, the latest technology in engineering, quality and manufacturing, and an aggressive marketing strategy,” Howey said Okay has achieved “a reputation that stands second to none in the contract manufacturing industry.”

Responding to continued business growth and the need for increased capacity and additional capabilities, Okay Industries Inc. recently reported a 60 percent expansion in the United States, as well as its entry into the Latin American market. The move came in time to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary.

Okay’s 63,000-square-foot medical engineering and manufacturing facility consolidates and grows its medical components business in Berlin. The new facility complements the company’s 100,000-square-foot headquarters in New Britain.

Though certain economists have written obituaries for manufacturing in the state, Okay has defied naysayers by focusing on market needs and, as Donna Lasher, Okay’s vice president, notes, “building an infrastructure for flexibility and performance that will lay the foundation for our next hundred years of success.”

Nineteen-year-old Arthur Czachor and 40 other new hires could become building blocks in Connecticut’s manufacturing renaissance.

Czachor, a CNC operator and June graduate of New Britain High School, is still in learning mode. He graduated from a Neighborhood Assistance Act program that identifies innovative workers who have had positive internships at area companies.

Kathy Cabal, a human resources specialist, said Okay looks to hire “good people into a place where skills and growth potential are needed.  Arthur was dedicated and motivated to the program. Instructors thought highly of him; he’s viewed as someone who wants to grow in manufacturing. He’s going to school to become an engineer” while working for Okay.”

Berlin Mayor Adam Salina, happy to have Okay in Berlin, said he was excited when Howey and Lasher approached him about opening an additional site in town.

“In addition to having a new business here we now have a wonderful corporate leader within our community,” Salina said. “Okay has a strong history of community involvement; they put great value in their workforce. It’s nice to be sharing with New Britain; it seems appropriate that Okay has expanded into Berlin.”

This major new expansion also includes a 14,000-square-foot facility in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

“Work­ing closely with customers so that we understand both their manufacturing needs and their business needs is one of the keys to Okay’s superior output,” said Mario Chaves, a local manufacturing veteran who serves as general manager of Okay Industries Costa Rica, S.R.L. “Our Costa Rica operation will keep Okay engineering and expertise close to our customers who are growing here.”

Written by New Britain Herald, staff writer Scott Whipple.  Scott Whipple can be reached at (860) 225-4601, ext. 319, or swhipple@newbritainherald.com

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