YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Brilex Industries Inc., established by brothers Alex and Brian Benyo in 1996 with just three employees, a 5,000-square foot building “and some Valley grit,” celebrated its 25th year in business in 2021, says Steve Davinsizer, president.
The company is a contract manufacturer that operates three plants in Youngstown. It provides fabrication, machining, assembly, roll forming and rebuilding services.
“Following a year of significantly reduced activity due to COVID-19, our market segments really heated up in 2021,” the company president says. “We had a very strong year of bookings with new work from many long-term customers, as well as new customers. In addition to expanding further into our traditional industry sectors, we also expanded our footprint in several new and exciting markets.”
Among the new markets that show great growth potential for Brilex is a subsector of aerospace and work for the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Navy, Davinsizer says.
Brilex is slated to start production for two major projects – a new, cutting-edge product in the timber industry and a series of turntables in the under water cable industry, he adds.
Last year, Brilex invested in welding units, a robotic weld cell, vertical machining center and a smaller lathe.
“The main challenges we faced in 2021 were navigating around personnel absences from COVID-19 and the need for new hires,” says Davinsizer. “While the absences and quarantines we experienced definitely put a strain on our operations, we worked through it and continue to do so.”
Cross-training was conducted within the company’s departments so that multiple employees could carry out similar functions and duties and avoid disruptions, he explains.
“Whether it was due to a lack of available human capital or a downturn strategy, many of our customers were dealing with reduced staff levels as they came out of 2020. So they relied heavily on Brilex to help fill the voids,” Davinsizer says.
To help customers, Brilex reviewed and improved project documents and implemented strategies to optimally procure materials such as steel plate and coil, minimizing the cost impact for customers “in one of the most volatile pricing markets in history,” he says. “Despite the challenges we faced in 2021, we never had to halt our operations and we are very proud of the fact that we have been here to support our customers and their projects day after day.”