At 60 years old, David Crick is building his eighth startup business.
Despite the announced closing last week of GE Power's factory where Crick began his career four decades ago, the Chattanooga engineer said he still sees plenty of opportunity for growth in supplying precision parts for the power industry and other manufacturers. So last June, Crick started American Mechanized Technology and has already invested more than $2.5 million in building and production equipment to perform computerized milling, 3-D printing and other customized metal work for a variety of businesses.
"I get bored easily if I don't have something to do," he quipped last week during an open house in his 11,000-square-foot facility on Belle Arbor Avenue.
The company began production in February with five full-time and a part-time worker. Crick expects to have at least 20 workers within two years.
"I really anticipate outgrowing this footprint in the next few years," he said.
The venture is the first for Crick to start by himself. But he has previously been involved in the startup of seven other businesses.
In 1994, Crick helped started Intech Inc., and he and his partners were involved in a half dozen other startups, three of which were sold in 2008 to Babcock & Wilcox, which consolidated those operations as B&W Intech in the former East Tech facility in the Centre South Riverport. Another business, Hydro Power Services, sold to Toshiba in 2006. The other businesses were shut down or consolidated with the other surviving businesses.
Crick is building his new business on three markets — imports of stamped metal products, precision machining of parts and ultimately roll form machines that help other manufacturers make their products.
"It's a three-legged stool that takes each leg to stand," he said. "A lot machine shops have closed down. But with the precision of our products, and the timely delivery we can guarantee, along with the diversity of the businesses were are in, I'm very confident about the future."
Crick said he plans to soon build AMCA-certified laboratories for his business to conduct fire and smoke, flow and vibration and acoustical testing for industrial heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment. The new lab facilities may be built adjacent to his production plant on the 6-acre site Crick owns
"Most of those labs are still in the north and while the industry has moved south, the labs have not," he said.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or 423-757-6340.