Whitcraft Group named ‘Monday Manufacturer’

By:  Scott Whipple
The Bristol Press

EASTFORD — Whitcraft Group, an Eastford-based supplier of formed, fabricated and precision machined components and assemblies, has been named U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy’s “Monday Manufacturer.”
In 1998, co-owners Colin Cooper and Jeff Paul acquired the company and have since expanded the operation. Whitcraft now operates out of three different facilities located in Eastford, Plainville and Farmington. The company also provides a range of products and services to the aerospace and power generation industries, such as high-pressure sheet metal forming and customized hydro forming, as well as bracket assemblies and retaining rings.

Whitcraft’s parts and components are used on some of the most advanced aerospace systems in the world. It supplies customers in more than a dozen different countries in North America, Europe and Asia. Many of its products are used by other Connecticut manufacturers, namely Pratt & Whitney on its F135 and PurePower engine families, by Sikorsky on its Blackhawk helicopters, and by United Technologies Aerospace Systems on air management systems for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

With the help of 450 highly skilled Connecticut workers, Whitcraft has become known for quality and cost-effective products, and the company has been experiencing rapid growth. In February, Whitcraft announced that it had secured a 10-year $234 million contract with Pratt & Whitney; this contract enabled Whitcraft to hire 30 new staff workers and brought its annual revenues to nearly $100 million.

“This is a significant milestone for [us],” said Cooper, a New Britain native. “Companies all over the world are competing to be suppliers to this game-changing engine program. Pratt & Whitney has demonstrated the PurePower engine technology’s dependability and robustness with more than 14,000 hours of testing, including more than 2,600 hours of flight testing and 27,000 cycles of testing.”

Cooper said all three company facilities will play critical roles in fulfilling Whitcraft’s obligations under this contract.

“During my visit to Whitcraft’s Eastford facility, it became clear to me that Jeff and Colin understand the value that their workers bring to the table,” said Murphy. “They take in pride in their Connecticut roots and invest time and resources into helping our state’s veterans and young students launch careers in manufacturing.”

The Democratic Senator said he was proud that “Connecticut is home to such a community-conscious company. It’s good for their workers, their business, and our state — and I’ll do everything I can to support their efforts back in Washington.”

Paul said Whitcraft companies are in Connecticut because of the access to a highly skilled workforce and its central location relative to its largest customers in North America and Western Europe.

“The aerospace industry’s emphasis on perfect quality, on-time delivery and low prices established in a competitive global market impose relentless pressure for companies to continuously improve their performance,” he said. “The Connecticut River Valley’s industrial history has provided a pool of talent; we further develop that talent by partnering with regional educational institutions like Ellis Tech, Quinebaug Valley Community College [in Danielson], Middlesex Community College, Asnuntuck Community College, Central Connecticut State University and University of Connecticut. This ‘pipeline’ of talent will fuel the Whitcraft Group’s growth for many years to come.”