Outsourced manufacturing is the process of hiring a team of people outside of a company to assemble parts or to build an entire product. While there are many reasons why companies do this, some of the primary reasons for outsourcing are:
Financial. Assets can be reduced or eliminated and cash flow increased. When a business outsources a part of its production line to a third-party manufacturing company in a different location, it often sees a significant decrease in production costs.
Strategic optimization. Owners can focus on their core mission and the allocation of their operations in a more profitable manner. They do not need to make an investment in the fixed costs of production.
Supply chain management. Suppliers who are leaders in their specific industries can be selected, and individual businesses do not have to develop their own internal infrastructure.
Flexibility. Business resources can be redirected to core operations.
IEC Holden, located at 51 Distribution Way, Plattsburgh, is a member of NAmTrans, the North American Center of Excellence for Transportation Equipment, an entity designed to organize and serve the large and growing cluster of more than 50 transportation equipment and aerospace companies across the North Country. The company manufactures electric motors and electric generators for freight locomotives, buses and ancillary power generation as well as gearboxes, cable forms and rectifier banks. It recently celebrated 10 years doing business in Plattsburgh.
IN BUSINESS SINCE 1909
Currently the largest outsourced manufacturer of electric motors in the United States and Africa, IEC Holden, whose parent company originated in Canada, has been privately held since 1909. A trusted partner of Fortune 500 industrials and disruptors, its global operation is located in Montreal, Fresnillo (Mexico), Johannesburg (South Africa), and Plattsburgh. Its diversified base in multiple geographic locations reduces supply risk. It is ISO 9001:2015 and IRIS (Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems) certified. With 350 employees globally, IEC Holden is able to help clients be champions of their industries.
DRAGO REPAS, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS IN PLATTSBURGH
A native of Etobicoke, Ontario, Drago Repas developed a keen interest in the engineering of locomotives in his youth. His educational background is in Mechanical Engineering and he has 25 years of manufacturing experience, including 15 years of experience in heavy rolling stock manufacturing with an emphasis on AC and DC traction motors, alternators and gearboxes. In addition to his education and work experience, Repas credits competitive athletics — downhill skiing in his youth — as well as the support, encouragement and challenges provided by his parents, friends and colleagues. Moving his family of four (wife, Tracy, and their children Cody and Ella) to the U.S. five years ago, Repas embraced the opportunity to manage IEC Holden’s Plattsburgh facility.
“I was looking for an opportunity for growth in my life and career,” explained Repas. “I was on the verge of going back to work for a past, great employer, when I was offered this position with IEC Holden. I welcomed the chance to become a leader in this elevated role. My wife enthusiastically supported the decision. We wanted to experience living in the U.S., challenge ourselves and give our children a chance to develop resiliency and courage. When we moved to the U.S., our children were 12 and 15. We appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit embedded in American culture and love living in the North Country.”
Describing his management style as a “serving leader”, Repas said the impact of this experience has been “profound”. A book he cites that has enriched his life is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Over 30 million copies of this book have been sold worldwide since its publication in 1936, making it one of the best-selling books of all time. Its principles of listening, beginning with praise and appreciation, calling out others mistakes indirectly, and starting with discussing one’s own mistakes has informed Repas’ management style.
What skills does he look for in an employee? “I look for the ‘wanna’,” answered Repas, “someone with drive, motivation and a competitive spirit who also has a commitment to honesty and integrity. There is a bit of an art to this job as well as skill. Employees must be respectful, loyal, good communicators, and want to learn. Class and trustworthiness are also key. We have a great company culture that is built on trust.”
THE PLATTSBURGH TEAM
Fully cognizant of the contributions of all, and in keeping with IEC Holden’s “Culture Manifesto” that everyone is a leader, Repas credits his team for its success.
Joanne Doody – Human Resources Manager North America, located in Plattsburgh. A certified Human Resources Professional, Doody is responsible for all matters related to IEC Holden’s “most precious resource”, as she refers to employees, as well as maintaining the company’s culture of trust.
Terry VanWeort – Supervisor. The first employee hired in Plattsburgh, VanWeort has been with IEC Holden for over 10 years. Beginning in the role of Lead Hand, he moved into supervision three years ago and is responsible for the safety of IEC Holden employees and the quality and on-time delivery of products to customers.
Adam Pethick – Engineering Manager. Pethick has 18 years of electrical rotating machine experience including manufacturing Engineering, Program Management and Traction Motor design, and has been with IEC Holden for over five years. He is accountable for Manufacturing Engineering for both the Plattsburgh and Montreal facilities.
Michael Donahoe – Quality Manager. Bringing more than 15 years of experience in Quality, Donahoe has been with IEC Holden for more than five years. He is responsible for Manufacturing and Supplier Quality for both the Plattsburgh
and Montreal facilities.
Nick Dupell – Materials and Logistics Manager North America, located in Plattsburgh. In the supply chain world for eight years, he is a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) and has been with the company for four years. He leads teams that are responsible for all transit to and from the facilities as well as IEC Holden’s supply chain after the sourcing phase.
IEC Holden currently employs 80 people in Plattsburgh, 38% are women—an impressive ratio in manufacturing.
Looking down the road to the next year to five years, Repas hopes to contribute significantly to the effort to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. and North America, and out of Asia. In addition, he hopes to take advantage of the electric vehicle (EV) market as well as aftermarket service and maintenance for electric vehicles and rail transit.
“Our hope is for IEC Holden to be known as the Foxconn to the electric motor industry,” disclosed Repas. (Foxconn is Apple’s longest-running manufacturing partner. While Apple designs and sells the iPhone, it does not manufacture its components. Instead, it uses manufacturers from around the world.) With its strong leadership, extraordinary vision, expertise, and commitment to integrity and excellence, it would not be surprising to find that IEC Holden in Plattsburgh will do the same for the electrical motor and generator industry in the United States.
51 Distribution Way
Plattsburgh, NY 12901