Problem Solvers to the Core
Aero Metals has a history of solving problems and an entrepreneurial personality that’s always looking to tackle the next one.
"What does our history mean to you? The entrepreneurial spirit on which founder Jim Fleming began building Aero Metals in 1961 has always been a part of our culture and a compass in our hiring process.
Quite simply, you get more than one of the industry’s most experienced resources. You get a team with a genuine enthusiasm for the science of investment casting, and the discovery of how it can solve your unique production issue."
–Bob Stowell, President & CEO
Found in 1961 and headquartered in LaPorte, Indiana (USA), Aero Metals Inc. was started by James W. Fleming. Jim was a toolmaker by trade and worked at a large aerospace foundry in LaPorte. On his off hours, he decided to start an engineering firm from his basement and began drafting tool and mold designs and consulting on products for manufacturing. Jim quickly became known as a very hard working and innovative designer which encouraged him to open a tool and mold making facility in a small garage around 1964.
Aero Metals first purchase order for a metal casting was in 1968 which precipitated his move from his basement to a 6000 sq. ft. Quonset hut in Kingsbury, just outside of LaPorte. In 1972, he moved the tool and mold making operation to Kingsbury – and the business began to grow at a steady pace. As Jim took on new orders he also needed to increase his labor force and it came apparent Aero Metals needed a bigger building, thus the move towards the center of LaPorte to Darlington Street in 1980. Now the company had room to grow.
Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, business was increasing at a rapid pace, but the industries technology was not, so Jim and his team of engineers began to design and manufacturer proprietary processing equipment to improve production times and increase quality. There were enormous strides being taken from one end of the process to the other: robotics were introduced to improve part quality and reduce employee injury; the installation of their own designed and built wax machines and a wax reclamation system to aid in injection time and quality; and, designing and building three multi-station degating and rotary machining centers to further increase capacity and provide a better casting to the customer. They continued to add on to the Darlington facility three more times until the used up every square foot of that property and could no longer expand.
In 2005, Aero Metals moved again but this time only down the street to a 175,000 sq. ft. facility Mr. Fleming invested in several years prior. Jim saw the future of the company and he was not going to allow square footage to keep the company from expanding to meet the customer’s needs. With the expansion came an investment into the budding industry for Aero Metals, the aerospace industry. And, in particular, the processing beryllium copper cast parts in an environmentally safe room protecting the employee from dust created by grinding and sand blasting the parts. This investment would make Aero Metals the largest investment caster of beryllium copper parts in North America.
To the credit of the leadership at Aero Metals and the diverse customer base that expanded over a multitude of industries, Aero Metals was growing at a strong pace and even though the economy was expanding and contracting with every election cycle or unforeseen national economic tragedy. In the summer 2010, the company mourned the loss of its leader and founder, Mr. Fleming. The company’s management had been preparing for this unfortunate event and in August, 2010, Bob Stowell, former Vice President and step-son, succeeded Mr. Fleming removing any uncertainties for the future of Aero Metals Inc. and its ownership.
Understanding the philosophies and entrepreneurial spirit Mr. Fleming left behind has not been lost on the company’s leadership team. The investments in people, equipment, and new technologies are still going strong today. Aero Metals believes healthy employees produce exceptional quality parts for the customer. The goal is to provide a quality product to help our customer build quality products form their customer. Aero Metals understands it all starts with the customer – to help them succeed means we succeed.