New London Fabrication opens
Company continues history of growth
By John Faucher
When Ben Besaw, owner of Waupaca Metal Fab, eyed an expansion for his growing company he saw an opportunity in New London.
In June 2020, despite the ongoing pandemic and some economic uncertainties, Besaw took a leap of faith and purchased the former Neumetal facility located at 809 County Trunk S in New London.
The future of the then corporately owned Neumetal was uncertain at the time.
Besaw purchased the business and renamed it New London Fabrication LLC.
“We went ahead with the expansion here in New London and were able to hire all of the employees that were available,” said Besaw.
Existing employees kept their seniority, benefits and vacation time.
“In the trades-talent-based industry, employee retention is a key to developing a good customer base because, your customers know what they can expect for quality and who is working on their product,” Besaw said.
He knows firsthand the importance of investing in people.
Besaw’s organic approach to running a business shows in the steady growth at Waupaca Metal Fab since its opening in 2015.
When Besaw and his partners first started Waupaca Metal Fab, the company began with two employees. It has since grown to more than 20 employees and they’ve added major upgrades to machinery.
“All of the money invested into this company goes back into the company and back into the people that work here,” said Besaw.
“We have a very ambitious and talented workforce in Waupaca. That’s why we’ve been able to expand as quickly as we have.”
About Waupaca Metal Fab
Waupaca Metal Fab started out building incinerators, components and weldments for machine shops.
When Besaw purchased his partner’s share in 2018, the company was beginning to expand their niche into the agriculture industry.
“We are now heavily steeped in the ag industry,” said Besaw.
They quickly gained a reputation for quality and customer satisfaction in the feed and seed mill structural fabrication industry.
In addition to steady workforce additions, Waupaca Metal Fab recently added a 72-inch by 240-inch high-definition plasma table with fifth access capabilities and an additional larger break press in their 12,500 square foot facility at 195 Wendt Drive.
Expansion at New London
Besaw said the 34,000 sq. foot facility at New London has kept busy since July.
They recently secured a five year contract with a large customer involved in the design, engineering and building of low and medium voltage power generation and distribution equipment.
“The next five years look pretty good,” said Besaw.
“We feel like we’ve found two good divisions of the economic structure that are strong and we’re trying to build on some of those alliances we’ve made in those two industries,” he said.
“We’re pretty new to the scene but we’ve made a pretty big impact so far based on our customer focus and attention to quality.”
Besaw said customer service is a core factor at both the New London and Waupaca operations.
“If it’s urgent to our customer, it’s urgent to us. We’re not afraid of staying late and getting the job done,” said Besaw.
Since July, New London Fabrication has installed a new state of the art Safan all-electric press brake.
“When we looked into replacing one of the old press brakes we looked at efficiency, repeatability and safety,” he said.
They also added another laser table to the New London facility to help increase production of their precise sheet metal cutting, forming and welding capacity.
Besaw said each of the two facilities in Waupaca and New London has certain specialties and contain their own unique dynamic.
The New London location will specialize more in manufacturer support.
“With our expanded capabilities we’re hoping to provide services for many of the local companies here and provide that hometown service for them again,” said Besaw.
One of the things that made New London attractive for their latest expansion was the existing industry here, he said.
“Knowing the community, having family here and growing up in the area helped a lot too,” he said. “Part of it was almost personal. I didn’t want to see this facility sit vacant, or turn into anything but a fab shop.”
Besaw said, “My heart is here.”
Besaw thinks the employees in New London enjoyed that transition from a corporate environment back to a locally owned and family oriented fab shop.
He’s already eyeing up the next expansion hopes for 2021.
“The next expansion that I’d want to do is definitely in the coating division, so we can offer that to our customers as well,” said Besaw.
Currently, they source out industrial painting and coating services.
“We’d like to become a one-stop shop and bring that revenue back to New London,” said Besaw. “The best thing we can do for our communities and Wisconsin’s economy is to continually prove to the country that the Midwest is the best place to come for manufacturing.”