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Community Renewal Good Stories - Youngstown

RC Tax Incentives Pay Dividends for Youngstown Manufacturing Company

Youngstown, Ohio, RC

Having expanded operations four times in the 1990s, Fireline, Inc., was once again poised for growth. Expansion, however, had strained the company's cash flow and jeopardized the firm's ability to invest in a much-needed research and development program. Using tools available as a result of its RC designation, Youngstown, Ohio, was able to help this progressive company move forward.

Fireline, Inc., manufactures high-performance ceramic shapes used in a variety of molten metal applications. It is the preeminent supplier of melting liners and accessory shapes for the aerospace market of the investment casting industry. During the past decade, the company grew at an average annual rate of l0 percent. Such growth allowed it to expand its Andrews Avenue facility four different times. Fireline's growth, due largely to continuous efforts to improve product quality, came at a time when the aerospace industry was flagging.

In an effort to invest in the future, Fireline turned its attention recently to a new and innovative product line. In 2002 it formed a wholly owned subsidiary to develop new products and market them under the trademark TCON. The company has been working closely with the Engineering and Technology Department of Youngstown State University and has two engineering students learning and working on the TCON project.

A CRD allocation-worth nearly $800,000 over 10 years, as opposed to the standard 39 years-gave Fireline the cash flow necessary to begin investing in a research and development process and to design a pilot operation.

"The growth attained by Fireline is directly attributed to our continual investment in new products and new technology as well as our dedication to quality and customer service, and our willingness to invest in process equipment," said company founder Roger Jones. "This help from the city gave us the opportunity to invest in our future. We project near-term, TCON product revenues of $l.5 million, creating l2 new jobs."

In business for more than 37 years, Fireline started in a garage shop with just 2 employees. Today, the company boasts more than 70 employees with annual revenues approaching $9 million. "Fireline is a great example of a homegrown company that is respected among its peers and also is an excellent corporate citizen," said Dave Bozanich, city finance director, who worked with the company during the expansion.

"As the now-defunct steel industry was the bastion that allowed the city of Youngstown to rise to economic prominence at the turn of the 20th century, companies like Fireline are what will return a level of economic vibrancy to the community now and for the future," said Community Development Agency Director Jay Williams. "We hope to employ additional Renewal Community incentives to help us accomplish that."

For more information on the programs of the Youngstown RC, contact Economic Development Director Sharon Woodberry at (330) 744-1708.