Fall 2019 Catalyst
Nestled beside the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County sits the small town of Columbia, Pennsylvania. With a centralized location to Lancaster, York and Harrisburg, as well as close proximity to major Northeast cities, Columbia is a perfect location for businesses wanting easy access to markets up and down the East Coast.
On the other side of the country is the California Metal-X company, commonly known as CMX. Founded in 1979 by husband and wife team Tim and Karen Strelitz, CMX manufactures copper-based alloys for foundries and mills worldwide. But their work doesn’t stop there. The company also specializes in innovation and alloys that cross industry lines.
Enter CmxSA — a partnership between CMX and SA Recycling — whose story is one of perseverance in the face of adversity. A once booming industry, the metal industry went from having approximately 60 companies manufacturing copper based alloys at the end of the 1970’s, to just five in operation today, thanks to much of production moving offshore.
Calling their company a “green and sustainable company that puts our team first,” Tim Strelitz is proud to say that “We have what I call ‘dirt under the nails.’ We are first generation founders. We survived and grew due to our ability to adjust quickly to ever-changing circumstances — which enabled us to grow while the industry around us collapsed.”
It was the shortage of manufacturers in the production of copper based alloys that first brought Strelitz to Columbia, PA.
“California now has fewer foundries and almost no mills,” Strelitz added. “Pennsylvania puts us in the heart of the manufacturing renaissance just now beginning in our country.”
In the spring of 2019, it was announced that CmxSA would be newly operating a shuttered plant in Columbia, which had closed its doors in 2018. The company currently employs 19 people, with the goal of expanding their workforce in the future. The coming years will be active for CmxSA. Significant work has already been made to modernize and update the facility, ensuring increased efficiency. Over the next decade, the company aims to become one of the leading providers of high quality copper based alloys for foundry and mill industries in North America.
And while Pennsylvania is on the other side of the country from CmxSA’s California headquarters, Strelitz has found working in the Keystone State to be an enjoyable change.
“Our experience in Pennsylvania has been terrific,” he said. “The city of Columbia has welcomed us and has actively been there when we have reached out to them. The team we have assembled from the experienced plant supervisors is stellar. We are very excited about our team, the city, the county, the regulators, the good people of Lancaster County and our company’s future growth in the region.”
Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.