by: Kent Pierce
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Horst Engineering has officially opened a new manufacturing facility in East Hartford, marking the firm’s 75 anniversary in Connecticut.
As one of the leading contract manufacturers of precision machine components for aerospace, this reopening highlights the beginning of a comeback in the aerospace industry, spurring their diversification efforts.
Up until a few years ago, 141 Prestige Park Rd. was a badly lightly property, an eyesore for East Hartford. Horst made this property their new home. The company acquired and renovated a 100,566 square-foot former warehouse to accommodate state-of-the-art computer-aided manufacturing.
“A lot of what we are hearing today is about evolution. The evolution of a family. The evolution of a company. The evolution of a community” said State Rep. Jason Rojas.
Starting out as a business to sell typewriters parts, Horst stayed a family company over the years of ups and downs. Some employees stayed for decades, but it is largely in the Aerospace industry now, supplying companies like Pratt and Whitney.
But a few years ago, Horst felt pressure from customers to cut costs and moved some of the operations to Mexico.
“That trend has changed. There is still a demand for global suppliers” explained Scott Livingston, Horst Engineering CEO. “It’s just that now there’s a recognition that advanced manufacturing has a home in places like Connecticut.”
Largely because the state has taken an active role in training people for manufacturing jobs. That is a trend not even the setbacks of the pandemic could change.
“This factory was slated to be rebuilt prior to to the pandemic,” said Livingston. “We’ve been able to persevere through the difficulties, get the job done and now we are here to celebrate all of the manufacturing.”
The company recently closed operations in other states to focus o the expansion in Connecticut.
“Recruiting skilled workers has always been a challenge,” Livingston said. “As in the past, we look to the state’s technical schools for continuing progress in the development of the talent needed to support the advanced manufacturing industries, including aerospace, in our region. I am pleased that today we can showcase our operations so folks can see that manufacturing is high tech, sophisticated, and rewarding.”
Now, 90 employees work at the firm in East Hartford.
“Horst Engineering has been a tremendous business and a great community partner in the Town of East Hartford, dedicated to establishing a reputation of professionalism and reliability,” said East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc. “The new facility echoes that sentiment as they reinforce their commitment to the Town of East Hartford and the industries that they serve.”