William Baker, President and CEO, Irwin Car and Equipment

William Baker, President and CEO, Irwin Car and Equipment

FINALIST / MANUFACTURING

William Baker’s willingness to take risks in the face of uncertainty has propelled Irwin Car and Equipment into new niche markets, new product and service offerings, and ultimately, new revenue.

When President and CEO Baker bought the Irwin, Pa.-based engineering and manufacturing company 19 years ago, it was already well established as a key player in the state’s mining industry. Baker has built upon this foundation and expanded its capacity and product lines to include heavy-duty material handling equipment for the metals industry as well.

He’s led 13 product line acquisitions of synergistically related companies and product lines as well as added several distribution product lines. By diversifying services and expanding to seven niche-like business units, Baker ensured Irwin was stable when the recession hit.

His willingness to take risks continued to prevail despite this recession. Throughout 2008 and 2009, Baker invested in new CNC machinery and a high-tech quality and research and development laboratory. He also expanded the company’s Blairsville facility twice in three years.

The company’s ever-evolving capabilities ensure it meets the customer-specific needs of the industries it serves. In fact, Irwin manufactures about 80 percent of its industrial products in direct response to its customers’ needs.

Baker has ensured that Irwin is more than only a fabrication shop, bringing the weight of the company’s experience to bear on customers’ projects.

Baker’s investment in reassessing the company’s capabilities and infrastructure has put Irwin in a position for explosive growth as the economy picks up. The business finished 2011 with the highest sales revenue in its history and has had a record start in 2012. It employs 106 people, grown from seven when Baker first joined the company.

HOW TO REACH: Irwin Car and Equipment, www.irwincar.com

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