Wilbert W. Williams, President, Williams-Bayer Industries

Wilbert WilliamsFinalist, Manufacturing

Founded by Wilbert Williams in 2001, Williams- Bayer Industries Inc. is an automotive supplier that makes CNC bent tubing, catalytic converter shells, metal stampings, component assemblies, suspension bushings, and stamped, staked and welded assemblies. Williams, who was born in Jamaica and earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, worked for Chrysler for 16 years before forming Williams-Bayer.

Williams-Bayer Industries survived the recession and the resulting downturn in the automotive market in 2009 and 2010 largely due to the rarity of suppliers offering a 6-inch CNC tube bender with integral cutoff and because of the company’s ability to differentiate itself from its competition and maintain a strong customer focus.

Williams-Bayer Industries has about 50 employees, and Williams says he views them as members of his extended family. In addition to providing its workers with medical insurance, competitive wages, profit-sharing plans and tuition reimbursement for courses relevant to the business, the company also shows concern for employees by taking various special measures. These include adjusting its standard workweek to four 10-hour days to help minimize the impact of rising gas prices on workers.

Williams believes his company’s sustained growth and profitability depends on three variables: continuing to do what it does well within its core competencies, complementing those processes with similar high-margin processes and divesting from processes that have low margins.

Williams-Bayer Industries also plans to grow by acquiring friendly competitors with strategic and complementary product lines. The company intends to acquire firms that have different customer bases to help broaden its reach into nonautomotive sectors, thereby diversifying and insulating itself from future downturns in the automotive industry.

HOW TO REACH: Williams-Bayer Industries Inc., www.williamsbayer.com