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Manufacturing Change

A small manufacturing business in Ohio demonstrates how exports can strengthen the American economy.

“People come here and they stay,” Patricia Klavora said about the dedicated workforce at Valtronic, many of whom have been with the company since its inception 25 years ago.  Klavora, now Valtronic’s Marketing Communications Manager, started out as an outside small business consultant.  But after seven years of great experience working with the people of Valtronic, she decided to become one of them herself, joining the company as a full-time employee a little less than a year ago.

Klavora isn’t the only new member of the Valtronic corps; they have hired 33 employees since October 2010 – a 53-percent increase that now brings its total workforce to 95 people. Cramped for space, Valtronic is planning to double in size by expanding its facility to the lot next door so it can hire more people.

Valtronic is still a relatively small company in the manufacturing industry, but its quality products, highly-skilled employees and far-sighted leadership have allowed it to thrive during these difficult economic times.  “During the recession, we really opened up and ventured into new industries,” Klavora said. “We have a strong base of long-term customers, but we knew that, in order to grow, we had to diversify.”  And diversify it did.  Traditionally the majority of its customers were in one industry, but Valtronic now has business operations in several different sectors, from telecommunications and medical devices to renewable energy.  Its strong partnership with academic institutions, like the University of Toledo and Ohio State University, has also augmented its ability to diversify and expand quickly while maintaining its quality. 

Exports play a key role in Valtronic’s success as well.   For the last five years, it has been exporting electronic amplifiers that are used in MRI machines to India.  Recently, its business expanded to China, where it is selling electronic parts that go into train seats.  “We have top-notch, high-quality products that are not the cheapest on the market, and that’s what China wants,” Klavora said proudly.  “And the Chinese want us to make them here in America.”  With China’s railroad construction booming and the entire American manufacturing sector recovering, Valtronic is optimistic about its future.

“We are still a small, private company, but we take pride in what we make and who we are.   We believe in our products, and we know we can make more, sell more and grow more.” 

Ari Matusiak is Executive Director of the White House Business Council