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Publication Date: 07/1/2009
Archive >  July 2009 Issue >  Electronic Mfg. Services > 

Cirtronics: 30 Years and Still Growing
Precision hand-assembly is an important part of critical medical products.

This September, Cirtronics Corporation will celebrate its 30-year anniversary in turnkey electronic manufacturing services (EMS), and a good 30 years it has been. The company also spent this year expanding its manufacturing facility in Milford, New Hampshire, even during these hard economic times.

The expansion added 75,000 square feet, taken on at the beginning of 2009 as space added to the production floor, and the facility now totals 175,000 square feet. The extra space will accommodate the expected future growth of the company as well as the growth of its existing customer base — companies requiring services from material procurement and PC board assembly to mechanical assembly, full product integration and test. Cirtronics has maintained steady growth and now occupies almost the entirety of the Milford Technology Center in Milford, New Hampshire.

Not So Typical
Cirtronics is not the typical turnkey contract manufacturer. 30 years ago, the company started with a woman and a new philosophy that a company's people are the key to its growth and profitability. Gerardine Ferlins, President and majority shareholder, founded the company in 1979 and has, with the help of her team, grown it to a successful electronics manufacturing firm with $46-million in sales for 2008. Ferlins has a BA in Sociology and actually began her career as a medical social worker and a teacher. A later position at Worcester Controls got her interested in the manufacturing business environment, and after moving through the ranks with inside sales, purchasing, production and program management, she was given an opportunity to start a new manufacturing organization for Worcester Controls' president, Bob McCray, when he sold his company in the late 1970s.

With this new endeavor, Ferlins discovered a way to provide the service of populating circuit boards for Whistler radar detectors while McCray's new product was in development. McCray supported Ferlins' decision to provide the service in the interim, even though his success and experience was in product research and development. "She was right and I was wrong and I couldn't be happier," said McCray, referring to Ferlins' ignoring his advice and starting a service-oriented company instead of developing a product. He now joins her each day at his office within the Cirtronics building and is extremely happy for the success of his long-time friend. Ferlins knew that a company's people can create great things if given the opportunity. She built the company on a foundation of integrity with the belief that the human element is the most valuable asset of an organization. To this day, Cirtronics' missions stay true to strong involvement in the community, environment and overall social responsibility. The company promises to always serve six constituents — its employees, the environment, its customers, the corporation, the community and its suppliers. The company's mission statement is: To Serve and Continuously Improve under the "Do Unto Others" Philosophy.
Individual bench testing.

The corporation, and Ferlins personally, are involved in many projects and organizations that advocate social responsibility and corporate mentoring in New England. Employees are encouraged to volunteer with company time, and Cirtronics has created committees that are dedicated to different sectors of philanthropy such as the environment and the community.

In 2002, Ferlins transitioned the corporation to an ESOP (employee stock ownership program) with the employees now owning approximately 40 percent of the company. This stems from her belief that those who have worked hard to build the company with her should also share in the rewards of its success.

No Job Titles
Cirtronics grows stronger each year due to the dedication of its employee owners who don't have titles except "Employee Owner." This flat managerial structure operates on systems management rather than the micro-management favored in some companies. Typical workplace management structures imply rigidity; the goal at Cirtronics is to maintain flexibility and thinking outside the box.

More than being a full-service contract manufacturer that provides SMT, Through-Hole and Hybrid PCB Assembly, Cirtronics relies on the strengths of its people and empowers them in decision-making processes. This unique way of running the business seems to work well. After three decades, the company has grown significantly each year and has been a stable, quality employer for New England. Quality people return quality results and the type of assembly work that Cirtronics provides can't easily be sent overseas. The company's niche is turnkey manufacturing of low-to-medium-volume products that are complex and quality-sensitive. The company is ISO 9001:2000 certified and has a reputation in the industry of "They do what they say they will do." "When all of your employees are also owners, it's only natural that they make quality and customer service their top priorities," noted Paula Papineau, who has worked at Cirtronics for approximately 20 years in sales and marketing. "We're unique and customers notice and appreciate it right away," she added.

Choose from the Menu
Customers can use some or all of the company's turnkey services as well as the direct ship and local delivery capabilities. The utmost care is taken with every product, making Cirtronics a great manufacturing choice for even the most sensitive requirements. The company's focus markets are typically in the areas of medical, security, industrial, communications and high-tech. The company most often seeks out projects that improve the quality of life such as mammography screening equipment, heart bypass/replacement equipment and homeland security products. "We believe that our track record of success in the contract manufacturing industry comes from truly partnering with companies as their manufacturing arm," says Papineau. "Our expansion shows our stability, and we're prepared to handle new customers that are looking for quality workmanship as well as a solid partnership."

During the expansion, the production floor was separated into two distinct areas for leaded and RoHS manufacturing, and further lean manufacturing practices were also put into place. "We're excited to expand and streamline our production floor areas such as SMT and test as well as our box-build area. Cirtronics is prepared for growth as the economy starts turning around," said Gerardine Ferlins, the company's president. "Our business remains resilient even in hard economic times, and that is a testament to the precision of our work and the efforts put forth by our employees in the areas of quality and customer service. Our success really has come from our involvement in the community and our reputation for excellence."

After 30 years, Cirtronics is still a woman-owned company that focuses on the human element and knows that its people are its best assets. "Gerardine knew that if you grow a company's people, they will hoist you up on their shoulders and carry you on to greater things than you ever envisioned," says McCray. He, along with Ferlins and all of the Cirtronics employees are very proud of what the company is today.

Contact: Cirtronics Corporation, 528 Route 13 South, Milford, NH 03055 603-249-9190 fax: 603-249-9192 E-mail: Web:

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