Sunday Apr 06 2008
Titanic ambitions for manufacturer
By: Jenna Nielsen Journal Staff Writer
Three-year-old Auburn firm earning millions, growing
Titan Gilroy is aggressive. And while his days as a professional boxer may have something to do with it, his aggression these days is all business. I'm so aggressive that I didn't really fit in with any other company, Gilroy said. Now that I am on my own, we are doing things the way they need to be done. The owner of Auburn's new manufacturing company, Titan Engineering, started out small ” with two employees and a building less than half the size of the one he is now across from the Coherent buildings at the Airport Industrial Park. Today, the high-end CNC (computer numerically controlled) machining company has grown to include nearly 40 employees, and Gilroy plans on hiring about 20 more this year. The Auburn-based company produces titanium, fiberglass, plastic and aluminum parts used in outer space by NASA, deep into the ocean for remotely operated drilling machines, and also makes parts used in water-desalination machines, tattoo guns, paint ball guns and more. A lot of people will say machining is dead, Gilroy said. But right now is the perfect time. Instead of complaining about it, we are solving people's problems with manufacturing costs. The company recently moved from its smaller office in the Lake of the Pines to three buildings totaling roughly 30,000 square feet in Auburn. And Gilroy and his wife Gina Gilroy, who works closely with him, are already looking at buildings across the street. They also plan on building the company to include more than 200 employees in the next few years. And with gross sales creeping up by roughly a million dollars a year since Titan first started three years ago, he is likely on track. During the first year, the business grossed $1. In 2007, it grossed $3 million. And Gilroy said he is already on track to gross roughly $6 million this year. We get to see each other and we both have a role in the company, Gina Gilroy said of working with her husband. This is our lives and we love what we do. And we take it very seriously. Walking into the clean, tightly-run building that houses Titan Engineering, the culture of the business is clear. Signs motivating employees can be found on virtually every wall, encouraging workers to Hit it Hard, and that Only God himself is greater. This is a mental thing ” everybody wants to get big and has dreams of getting big, but they get caught up in the small stuff, Gilroy said. Guys are timid. And if I can teach these guys and get them in a mental state to hit it hard and go for it and have confidence, then that is where efficiency comes from. Gilroy said there are many keys to his success. What other machines do in eight minutes, Titan Engineering's do in one. Most machines run about 100 inches per minute, Gilroy said of the tool used to measure how quickly the machine is running or producing. Ours run 830 inches per minute, on super speed machines. Instead of refusing to run difficult, expensive jobs, Titan not only does them, but uses the jobs to their advantage by becoming quicker and more efficient by continually running them. Titanium is an expensive and difficult product to produce, Gilroy said. But working with it has only made the employees more comfortable with it, and faster at manufacturing it. We've gotten so good at running difficult jobs, Gilroy said. No one else wants them, but we are doing them every day. Through the volume of work we are doing, the bigger we get, the better. Rather than hiring employees to work 40 hours a week, Gilroy employs weekend shifters so he is running machines 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are running all day long, Gilroy said. By splitting overhead, we can lower our costs and pass that on to the customer. Employees mean more to the business than sales and profits, he said. And an obsession with quality is No. 1. If I have 38 employees, I have 38 families that I am taking care of, Gilroy said. And I can talk and give you words all day, but if I don't put out a quality product, it's all done. Gilroy's first employee, Denise Osewalt, is still with him today. He expects a lot but he is also very giving, Osewalt said. He is really family oriented and it shows here every day. Gilroy said since he has moved to Auburn, business has continued to grow. I was the night shift, Gilroy said. I programmed all these machines ” it was just me in the beginning. I started out with a couple employees and now we are just booming. And he doesn't see slowing down anytime soon as an option. We just keep growing, Gilroy said. It all goes back to just being aggressive. The Journal's Jenna Nielsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this story at auburnjournal.com.