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Rochester Top 100: Automotive work drives the firm's growth

Rochester Business Journal
March 4, 2016


(Photo by Kimberly McKinzie)

An increase in automotive sales, coupled with changing technology used in vehicle engines, has helped drive growth at Abtex Corp.

The firm designs and manufactures application-specific abrasive nylon deburring brushes and automated deburring systems. Abtex brushes remove the sharp edges, which can end up in a vehicle’s transmission, from metal parts. Some 80 percent of Abtex’s products are used in the automotive industry.

Abtex is located in Dresden, Yates County, roughly 50 miles southeast of Rochester.

The majority of its customers are based in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The firm, however, is seeing an increase in business from the southern United States, where foreign automotive makers have been opening plants.

In addition, Abtex sells globally, with customers in Canada, China, Europe, Japan and Mexico.

“For a little company, we have a pretty wide-ranging reach,” President Mark Fultz said.

Fultz, of Pittsford, joined the business in 1993 with his focus on increasing the company’s sales. He purchased the company in 2005.

Having the majority of its customers in the automotive business makes Abtex heavily dependent on new car sales, which hurt the business during the last recession when sales were sluggish, Fultz said.

A better economic climate of late, however, has meant a resurgence in new car sales, which is helping to drive growth for both Abtex and its customers, he said.

New engine designs that focus on greater fuel efficiency also are leading to more work at the firm, Fultz said.

“We are really benefiting not only from an increase in auto sales but also from engineers designing for fuel economy,” Fultz said.

Abtex saw an 11 percent increase in its sales in 2015. Fultz is projecting year-over-year revenue growth of some 10 percent this year.

Employment is growing as well. The business now has 32 workers, and Fultz expects to add more positions this year, increasing employment by some 10 percent.

To accommodate the growth, Abtex recently underwent an expansion at its 20,000-square-foot site, a move that increased its brush manufacturing operation by 75 percent.

The biggest challenge for the firm is its ability to find opportunities in a niche industry, Fultz said.

“Our products are either needed or they aren’t,” he said.

There is a continuous effort on the company’s part to increase the number of markets it serves. In addition to automotive, Abtex’s products can be used in industries such as aerospace, military, industrial, medical, metal finishing and woodworking. 

The firm’s reputation for high-quality work and on-time delivery, coupled with an in-depth website and numerous trade show visits, have helped Abtex remain at the forefront of the industry, Fultz said.

A skilled workforce also helps the business succeed, he added. The firm draws employees from Watkins Glen, Schuyler County, to Seneca Falls, Seneca County.

Butler Brothers in Maine has been a distributor for Abtex for more than 25 years.

Kathy Butler, account manager/vice president at the firm, said Fultz sets himself and his company apart from the competition through his knowledge of the industry, ability to keep up-to-date with trends and professionalism.

Butler describes Fultz as a hands-on partner who goes above and beyond what is expected to assist the customer. Abtex supplies the products, and the staff works on the products’ design as well, she said.

“Mark gets that service and commitment are still very important to customers,” Butler said.

The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. The 2016 Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 2. For more information, go to greaterrochesterchamber.com.

Abtex Corp.
Designs and manufactures application-specific abrasive nylon deburring brushes and automated deburring systems.
Year founded: 1980
2015 ranking: 45
Top executive: Mark Fultz, president
Current employment: 32
Headquarters: Dresden, Yates County
Website: abtex.com

3/4/2016 (c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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