What started as a one-man business in a small backyard garage nearly 30 years ago has grown into one of Delaware’s leading manufacturers: Miller Metal Fabrication.
Miller Metal holds a unique position in its industry as a full-service metal fabrication company. Unlike most metal fabricators, Miller Metal provides “turn-key” solutions for its customers, as it designs, cuts, bends, welds, assembles and ships a wide inventory of metal components. Serving a large and diverse number of customers throughout the United States, the company specializes in highly sophisticated laser cutting, machining, forming, design engineering, welding and assembly services.
The company now employs nearly 100 people and offers a full range of manufacturing services for its diversified client base. Miller Metal has a substantial manufacturing presence in the mid-Atlantic, where it serves local, regional, national and several international clients in a variety of industries.
Miller has decided to embrace change again
During an Oct. 18 ceremony at his facility, Miller, with his CFO Mike Elehwany; Delaware Gov. John Carney; and members of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership staff, announced the metal fabrication company’s next major expansion. Located in Newton Business Park, just west of Route 13 on Route 404 in western Sussex County, Miller Metal plans to build a 60,000-square-foot industrial /office building on 8.5 acres adjacent to its current leased facility. The company expects to expand its workforce to 117 within three years.
“Miller Metal Fabrication’s decision to expand their operations and build a new facility in Bridgeville is great news for Sussex County and for Delaware,” said Gov. John Carney. “This expansion will create new jobs, and it reaffirms that Delaware is the ideal place for businesses to grow.”
Miller Metal Fabrication is investing almost $7 million in its new facility, including acquisition, construction and fit-out costs. The company has been awarded money from the Delaware Strategic Fund by the State Council on Development Finance: a Jobs Performance Grant of $57,350 and a Capital Expenditure Grant of $207,900. Miller Metal previously received a Delaware Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund Grant of $313,000 toward construction of a new Route 404 entrance to Newton Business Park, which will encourage other businesses to develop at the site.
The company’s expansions
In 1993, Miller left his original backyard shop for a larger space in Harrington. Soon after, Miller Metal teamed with material handling solutions company, O.A. Newton & Son, to coexist at Newton’s headquarters in Bridgeville in Sussex County. In 2014, Miller Metal added a machine shop to its operation, where it has several high-tech milling machines. That year, the metal fabrication company started a rubber and hose division, Delmarva Rubber Co., at its Bridgeville location. Delmarva Rubber provides specialty rubber, gasket and hose products to the agriculture, manufacturing, public safety, chemical and food processing industries.
The company has more than 60 advanced pieces of equipment and one of the largest press brakes on the East Coast.
“Sussex County is excited at the prospect of adding better-paying jobs, thanks to Miller Metal Fabrication’s expansion plans and the approval of these grants,” said Sussex County Council President Michael H. Vincent. “Sussex County has a robust manufacturing sector, one that is thriving with many small and midsize businesses. This funding will ensure another local company stays hard at work creating products that we can proudly say are made . . . right here in Sussex County.”
Delaware’s manufacturing industry is also expanding
Like Miller Metal, the manufacturing industry in Delaware is growing – especially in the central and southern parts of the state. According to DPP President and CEO, Kurt Foreman, Delaware’s industry-leading companies, strategic location and robust infrastructure make the state one of the nation’s best for manufacturing and logistics.
Today, Delaware’s manufacturing sector is the state’s second-largest traded sector. Because of diverse companies such as Miller Metal Fabrication, manufacturing in Delaware spans many industries, including chemicals, advanced materials, agriculture, bioscience and more. Leadership in these industries has created deep supply chains that support the market entry and growth of new businesses.
Manufacturing in Delaware accounts for more than six percent of the state’s total output. In 2018 alone, the state’s manufacturing companies exported $4.48 billion in manufactured goods. Manufacturing companies flourishing in Delaware see its competitive advantage over other states. Whether incorporating in Delaware or expanding operations, businesses find Delaware to be an ideal location.
More than 27,000 Delawareans and their families rely on manufacturing for jobs and income. With a steady increase in manufacturing jobs in the state, Delaware and premier manufacturers such as Miller Metal are committed to the next generation of manufacturers, working with Delaware Technical Community College to educate employees to handle the rigors of 21st-century manufacturing.
Committed to prosperity in Delaware
Created in 2017, Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) is the nonprofit economic agency that leads the state’s efforts to attract, expand and retain businesses such as Miller Metal Fabrication. DPP builds a strong entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem and supports private employers to identify, recruit and develop talent in Delaware. The DPP team works with prospects to review potential sites, cost-of-living details and funding opportunities, including tax credits and incentives.
As the statewide resource for Delaware’s economic development efforts, DPP works with partners across the state to provide the best opportunities for business and recruitment. DPP’s board of directors represents a cross section of Delaware business leaders in the private and public sector.
Because of the efforts of agencies such as DPP, opportunities for manufacturing businesses are abundant in the First State. Rob Rider, CEO of O.A. Newton, DPP board member and Miller Metal business associate, offered high praise for entrepreneurial support in the First State.
“What state can you make a phone call and speak to your governor? What state can you run into every one of your legislators on a regular basis? What state can you call almost any one of the agencies and get immediate personal attention? . . . There is no better place to be in business than Delaware,” Rider explained.
Despite its international success, Miller Metal stays true to its Delaware roots.
Miller Metal has remained a family-owned business with the owner’s three sons- Martin III, Dave and Paul- filling management roles in the company. Miller Metal offers competitive wages, full benefit packages including 401k plan matching and subsidized health insurance. The company also offers on-site and remote technical training to its production workers.
“My employees are the key to our success,” Miller said during the ceremony. “Every one of them views the company as their own, and they take genuine pride in the fact that our success is largely due to their commitment to customer satisfaction.”