BY JOHN SEELMEYER
Michael Conger is rattling around by himself these days in an office building a couple of blocks from the Capitol Building in Carson City.
But if things go the way that Northwire Inc. expects, the office shortly will be filled with sales engineers who will be drumming up orders for the company headquartered at Osceola, Wisc.
And as the order book grows, the maker of sophisticated custom wire and cable products expects to open a manufacturing facility in Carson City that could employ about 50 people.
"We'll be able to create some really good jobs," says Conger, the president of Northwire who has relocated to Carson City to oversee development of the new operation.
His first order of business: Recruiting a cadre of about a half dozen sales engineers to begin calling on potential customers in industries ranging from medical supplier to aerospace manufacturers to government agencies.
The company, which currently operates at Santa Teresa, N.M., in addition to its Wisconsin headquarters, has been testing the markets in Nevada and California for the past couple of years.
The results, Conger said, were solid contributors to growth that landed Northwire Inc. and its $48 million in annual sales on the Inc. magazine list of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the nation.
Northwire works with its customers to create specialized wire and cable products that are used in applications such as electric vehicles, factory automation, and wind turbines.
It recently won a contract, for instance, to provide cabling for the new Boeing KC-46 tanker aircraft under development for the Air Force.
The company, Conger says, prides itself on fast turnarounds as quickly as five days to custom-design, manufacture and deliver some products.
Competitors can take months for the same work, he says.
The manufacturing operation that Northwire plans in Carson City will help it meet those aggressive manufacturing and delivery promises to its West Coast customers.
While the sales engineering office in Carson City ramps up, Conger says manufacturing of the orders its staff lands will be handled at the company's already-busy Wisconsin and New Mexico facilities.
The company, which has been working with Bruce Robertson and Jack Brower of the Carson City office of Sperry Van Ness, expects to locate in a 50,000 to 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.
The company's timetable calls for the manufacturing facility to be in operation within a couple of years.
But a decision will need to be made more quickly because orders for the plant's capital equipment typically require lead times of eight to 12 months.
The company was founded in 1972. Its current owner and chief executive officer, Katina Kravik, represents the third generation of family owners.