Shakespeare & Company A Body of Water June-July 2024

Ducommun celebrates 175th anniversary

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By Marlene McTigue

Capital Region Independent Media

A ribbon was cut in honor of the 175th anniversary of the founding of Ducommun Aerostructures. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

COXSACKIE — A crowd of dignitaries assembled at Ducommun Aerostructures in Coxsackie recently to help celebrate, with company leadership and employees, the 175th anniversary of the company’s founding.

The company, well-known for their work on military projects like the Apache and Blackhawk helicopters, hosted a ribbon cutting and luncheon.

The group included Greene County Legislators Charlie Martinez, Ed Bloomer, Harry Lennon and Sherry True, as well as Greene County Deputy Administrator Warren Hart and members of the board of directors and staff of the Greene County Chamber of Commerce.

The program began with Rob Hasenkoph, Coxsackie Ducommun acting performance center’s director, giving a presentation on the company’s past, present and, as he explains it, its very bright looking future.

Hasenkoph spoke of the company’s founding by Charles Ducommun in 1849 as a watchmaking business in California. He noted that the company is still recognized as the longest operating company in California where the company’s headquarters and multiple performance centers, are located.

Hasenkoph spoke of the company’s long and storied past, including how it has survived major world events including the Civil War, the Great Depression, two World Wars, economic recessions and two global pandemics.

He also painted a picture of a company on the rise, particularly at the Coxsackie location. At present the company employs around 240 people. By the end of this year, they are hoping to reach 278, and are looking to add another 15% in 2025 and another 15% again in 2026. The future looks bright, he said.

Visitors took a tour around the Coxsackie facility. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Following the presentation, attendees gathered in front of the building to commemorate the landmark anniversary with a ribbon-cutting that was coordinated by the Greene County Chamber of Commerce. Attendees were then invited inside to don protective glasses and take an extensive tour of the inner workings of the facility. Due to the sensitive nature of the work being done, no photography was allowed.

Paul Bradt, senior operations manager, spoke of the growth he has seen in the years since he joined the team.

“We haven’t outgrown this campus yet but what we have done is, we have won the confidence of our customers so they come to us now for just about everything, from design all the way through manufacturing,” said Bradt.

“Getting awards from Sikorsky and Gulf Stream as Supplier of the Year has helped. As well as having the innovation and the technology that we have here,” he said.

Bradt also attributed the success of the Coxsackie performance center to the employees there.

“I’ve never worked with a staff that has shown more teamwork and that is really what has helped this site grow,” he said.

DynaBil Industries (the company’s predecessor in Coxsackie) co-founder Hugh Quigley attended the event and said he’s impressed with what Ducommun has accomplished in Coxsackie.  Quigley, along with his partner Mike Grosso, started this company in 1977.

“At first, I was the first and only employee,” said Quigley.  “We started at a little garage in Coxsackie. We started out making racks for trucks that delivered Wonderbread. We did it for 35 years and we were both successful because of each other. When the time came to sell, we started that sales process and were really selective. We chose Ducommun because they promised to keep the company here in Coxsackie when others weren’t prepared to make that promise.”

“The work being done here now is way more sophisticated than what we were doing,” Quigley said. “To put it into context, Rob (Hasenkoph) said they’re doing about $80 million in sales and when we sold, we were doing about $46 million, and they have the same amount of people we had.”

Greene County Deputy Administrator Warren Hart, Rob Hasenkoph and Greene County Legislator Harry Lennon at the anniversary celebration. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Many of the senior staff members who attended the presentation said they started out working for Quigley before the company was sold to Ducommun in 2008.

“When I looked around that room today to see all of these people thriving, I was so proud,” said Quigley. “And when we went out and toured the factory, it was so great to shake hands with them. This really is an American success story.”

According to Ducommun personnel, the company’s influence in the industry has been growing so much that they need to expand their employee base to a great extent and they are hoping those new employees will come from the community.

“We just need interest from young kids all the way up,” said Bradt. “If there are people out there that are looking to change careers or start their careers, whether you be right out of high school or right out of college and haven’t found the dream job you’re looking for.”

“I started 27 years ago and said this will be a temporary position for me. I was a team leader in the manufacturing facility, I was a welder by trade. So many of us that worked here for years,  have started out the beginning stages, entry level and have worked their way up,” Bradt added. “We have a lot of promotion from within for our people here. People work hard, they show that level of dedication and they get promoted and I’m not the only one. There are probably 30 other people here who share the same story.”

Greene County Deputy Administrator Warren Hart said he understands that with Greene County’s low unemployment rate, the county is essentially at full employment status, and it could be challenging for the company to find the employees they need,  but there are ways the county can help.

“Ducommun is an important employer here in Greene County,” said Hart. “Today we had a good discussion about how we can further help them address their workforce and training needs so we’ll be following up with Ducommun’s HR (human resources) people and the necessary people at the Workforce Development Board.”

After the tour, attendees were invited outside to a luncheon under a cathedral-style tent with company employees. Lunch was catered by Yanni’s Too restaurant of Coeymans.

If you are interested in employment opportunities at Ducommun, you can visit https://careers.ducommun.com/.

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