Spring 2019 Catalyst
For 80 years, Ace Wire Spring & Form Co., Inc. has worked in the custom spring manufacturing industry. Since its beginning, Ace Wire Spring has been a family owned and operated business, always staying close to its roots in the community of McKees Rocks, right outside of Pittsburgh, PA.
The company was started by Joseph Vodvarka with a small coiling machine. Vodvarka worked hands-on in the upstairs room of his house, which was converted into a small office / shop to produce the garter springs needed at the time. This gave Vodvarka the opportunity to educate his family about all aspects of the spring manufacturing industry, while at the same time teaching them a valuable trade.
After some time, and slight expansions into other rooms of the house, the company had outgrown its first location. In 1955, Ace Wire Spring built its own facility right down the road from the Vodvarka home. Vodvarka and his children, Joey and Linda, continued to work and be involved with the family business while it grew by increasing customers and staff.
In 1976, Vodvarka’s daughter, Linda, and her husband Rich Froehlich, bought the company and kept Ace Wire Spring as a family owned and operated business. The Froehlichs have a strong belief in family and community and carry over that value into the Ace Wire Spring culture when doing business.
This mindset helped the company outgrow its location again, and in 1986, Ace Wire Spring built a new 55,000 sq. ft. facility. The new location was less than five minutes from the old office, still within the McKees Rocks area. Staying in the local community, where they and a large majority of Ace employees were based and had connections, was paramount in the decision making process of where to build. With this community feel and local ties, Ace Wire Spring employees were able to stay with the company for the long haul.
Family and community go hand in hand at Ace Wire Spring & Form. By hiring local, the company helps the community grow and experience prosperity.
Another way community plays a role in the culture at Ace is through its interaction with the next generation of manufacturers. Helping high school and college students see firsthand what manufacturing is about and the numerous career opportunities there are is something of great importance to Ace Wire Spring.
Another connection the company has to the community is with MFG DAY, a celebration within manufacturing that occurs annually on the first Friday of October. Ace Wire Spring has been a part of this celebration for six years, every time hosting between two and three groups of students from various local high schools and colleges to tour the company’s shop and see how springs and wire forms are made. Also, the students have the opportunity to talk to our craftsmen and shop foremen, asking questions about their career paths and what opportunities the manufacturing industry offers.
An additional way Ace Wire Spring helps the community is by sponsoring a local BotsIQ high school team. BotsIQ is more than a robot building and battle competition, it is a program that provides high school students with the hands-on experience of using their imagination and engineering skills to build and develop a working robot to compete in an annual competition. Ace Wire Spring is proud to have been a sponsor of the Clairton BotsIQ teams for seven years. Every year, members of the Clairton teams visit Ace to learn more about the manufacturing process, see the spring and wire form machines in action, talk with craftsmen for engineering advice and show off the robots they are in the process of building. Ace is happy to offer guidance to the students on building options and ideas, having their design engineers look over the robot building process and help out any way that they can. The BotsIQ program helps with building local leaders in the manufacturing industry by starting at the high school level, and Ace Wire Spring will always be there participating.
Ace Wire Spring & Form Co., Inc. continues to this day to be an industry leader in the manufacturing of compression, extension, torsion springs and wire forms. The company’s 80 years of experience is expanding into new machinery and the most up to date technology, allowing them to offer the widest variety of custom precision springs. Ace Wire Spring also continues to be a community leader, growing awareness of manufacturing career opportunities and reaching out to help grow the next generation of manufacturing.
John Higgins is marketing manager for Ace Wire Spring & Form Company, Inc.
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