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LI manufacturer bucks trend

Leonard Rosenbaum, founder of CVD in Ronkonkoma

Leonard Rosenbaum, founder of CVD in Ronkonkoma Photo Credit: Daniel Goodrich, 2010

Even a losing category has its winners.

Long Island’s manufacturing sector had 1,100 fewer jobs in September than September 2009, according to a state Labor Department report issued Thursday. And the sector has shed jobs throughout the recession. Despite that bleak news, some companies in the category have been hiring, in some cases big time.

One is CVD Equipment Corp., a Ronkonkoma high-tech manufacturing company that has been hiring the past few months and plans to add an additional 20 to 40 employees to its current staff of 140 in the next six months, said its president and chief executive, Leonard Rosenbaum.

The company appears to be a textbook case of what business experts have long said Long Island manufacturers need to do to compete not just locally but globally: To be in businesses with high-tech and green components.

Those are key to CVD’s businesses. The company manufactures a variety of equipment such as machines that put coatings on solar panels and on the wings of new-generation jets to make them stronger and lighter.

“We’re in high-tech areas that are going to be your technology of tomorrow,” Rosenbaum said.

The positions the company wants to fill include mechanical, electrical and software engineers and machinists.

Rosenbaum said the company has a competitive advantage because it doesn’t mass produce but rather specializes, something that local economists has also said was key to local manufacturing companies’ survival.

“We don’t build a hundred of anything,” he said. “We build five, 10, 15, most of it for every specialized orders,” Rosenbaum said.

And he stressed that the company handles its production in-house, which includes a facility in upstate Saugerties. Most of its customers are Fortune 500 companies and are concerned about protecting their intellectual property when a number of parties are involved in filling their orders, Rosenbaum said. He said they don't have that concern with his company.

“We don’t need to go outside of our own plant for too many things,” he said. “That helps us to be extremely competitive in the world.”

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