LIMA — No one at American Trim wears a cape, but the company moves metal faster than a speeding bullet.
The Lima-based company’s future includes high velocity metal forming, digital printing and partnering with higher education and industry, American Trim Research and Development Director Steve Hatkevich said.
The company’s research includes major steps forward in how fuel cells for vehicles are manufactured.
“We’re flowing metal at the speed of a bullet,” Hatkevich said. Something just below the speed of sound. When I do that, materials flow like liquid and and we’re able to do incredible things with it.”
Hatkevich addressed a crowd of about 450 Friday for Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting and breakfast at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.
Henry Hawk Sr., along with sons Leo, Henry Jr. and William, started what would become American Trim in 1948 as a tool and die shop, and by 1951 the company was manufacturing appliance components and became known as Superior Metal Products. In 1996, through a partnership with Alcoa, American Trim was born, Hatkevich said.
Today, the company is owned by a third generation of the Hawk family and has nine locations, including one in Mexico.
“We’ve come from 15 employees to today over 1,000,” Hatkevich said. “Sidney is our largest facility, 500,000 square feet — about the size of the mall. But the important thing to remember is the leadership, ownership and headquarters remains in Lima.”
Between components such as dials and door handles, and decorative finishes on cell phones and dash boards, Hatkevich said, “I can say with a high degree of confidence, you probably touch something every day that was made by American Trim.”
Also at the breakfast, chamber Board of Trustees Chairman Keith Eiden shared the group’s goals for 2014:
• Partner with other agencies and groups to develop the county’s workforce
• Enhance and promote a new marketing website for the community, www.WeAreLimaAllenCounty.com
• Enhance legislative, grassroots and public policy efforts
• Engage and mentor young professionals as they take on more leadership roles in the community
• Partner with others to enhance the city’s downtown and entrances.
The chamber also awarded its Ambassador of the Year award to Michele Knoch-Hicks, who works in sales for Holiday Inn and Suites. Knoch-Hicks urged people to use their chamber memberships for more than themselves, and to use them to meet people and make connections in the community. Bill Lamont and Mike Powell were finalists for the award.
Citizens National Bank, Rhodes State College, Sheakley, Swartz Contracting & Emergency Services, Quick As A Wink Printing Co., St. Rita’s Medical Center and MetoKote sponsored the event and award. Time Warner Cable, American Trim, AEP Ohio, The Union Bank, The Ohio State University Lima, Rieck Services and Sidney Electric are corporate sponsors.