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Top 100: A key investment molded the firm's future

Rochester Business Journal
October 4, 2013

A commitment to quality and the customer at Empire Precision Plastics Inc. has led to a 56 percent increase in the firm's annual sales since 2009.
Neal Elli, president and CEO, said factors such as investment in new technology and a recent acquisition that expanded its capabilities have helped grow the business.
The company's prosperity, however, ultimately comes from its employees, he said.
"They have fueled our success," Elli said.
The firm, founded in 1992, has grown from an injection molder to become a full-service systems manager providing product development, prototyping and component assembly, as well as injection molding services.
Around the time of the 2008 global recession, Empire Precision invested heavily in new equipment, a move that expanded its offerings.
One area of investment was in scientific injection molding. The move helped grow business in the medical market, working on non-invasive medical equipment such as pipettes and minimally invasive surgical supplies, including stapler components for laparoscopic surgeries.
"We wouldn't have been able to do any of that work without the investment," Elli said.
Roughly 15 percent of the company's business comes from customers in New York. Other customers are stretched out along the East Coast as far as Florida and extend west to Washington state. Empire Precision also does business internationally, working with customers in regions such as Asia and the Caribbean.
In addition to health care, Empire Precision serves the industrial, optics and military-aerospace markets.
Elli said Empire Precision focuses on developing relationships with customers, not simply supplying a service.
"We are growing best with partners who see us as part of their manufacturing process," he said.
One such firm is North Carolina-based Prima Tech USA, a provider of animal health products.
The companies have been doing business together for more than five years, said Mitchell Rivenbark, Prima Tech's operations manager.
He praised Empire Precision's ability to deliver high-quality parts and provide top-notch engineering support. Rivenbark sees Empire Precision as an extension of his business.
"We talk every day, the same way I talk to others at my company," Rivenbark said. "It works almost flawlessly."
The focus on customers has helped expand sales and staff growth at Empire Precision.
Annual revenues in 2012 were $9.8 million, up from $9.2 million in 2011 and $7.7 million in 2010.
Elli expects growth to come from a resurgence in the domestic manufacturing market; a challenge will be continuing to wrestle with rising health insurance costs.
The company employed 72 people in 2012, up from 66 workers in 2011 and 57 employees in 2010. It currently has 75 workers.
The firm's employment was boosted last year with the acquisition of Rochester-based Lightwave Enterprises Inc., a provider of polymer optics. The deal expanded Empire Precision's capabilities in the optics arena and opened up new opportunities in markets including biomedical and lighting.
Elli is looking to add workers in areas that include sales, injection mold building and manufacturing and optics processes at the firm's 42,500-square-foot facility on Lee Road.
Continuing to find skilled workers who are a good fit with a company that places a value on drive, integrity and technology is an on-going process, he said.
"When you align those core values with the right people, it's hard to hold us back," Elli said.

10/4/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email


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