Join us as we speak with BMS President, Tina Bracone and General Manager Joshua Puzycki about the history, development, and future of BMS Aerospace.
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Now on this episode, I am excited to be joined by Tina Bracone, who is the president of BMS Aerospace, formally Bracone Metal Spinning. BMS, see what they did there? I've also got the General Manager of BMS, Joshua Puzychi. BMS has a rich history in Connecticut, and I'm looking forward to finding out a little bit more about the guys.
So Tina and Joshua, welcome to Meet the Manufacturers.
Claire, thank you so much for having us on today. We're looking forward to this.
Awesome. Well, listen, it's great to make your acquaintance. Tina. I'm gonna start with you if I may, cuz you've got the hot seat and the big job. Tell me a little bit about the history of the company and the products that you make.
We started out as a metal spinning company, started in a garage like all good company origin stories. My, my father started the company 40 years ago and now we are a full service fabrication facility. We have two sites and we focus on turbine engine components that service the aerospace. Industrial gas turbine and commercial sectors, so you've got quite a bit of responsibility there.
If you're putting anything in an airplane, I wanna know that you are a precision outfit, of course. Doing quite a bit of flying myself. Tell me a little bit about the equipment that you have on the shop floor and a little bit about your staff. Tell me a little bit about that. We have welding departments, so we have welding equipment.
We have a sheet metal department, so we have all different fabrication equipment presses, metal spinning, and we have two machining departments because what we do is we have non-conventional machining, and that spans wire, e d m, sinker e d m, and small hole drilling. And then we do conventional machining.
We're standard milling, turning tool and dye making. Then we have a laser department where we have both five axis and flat laser. We have 65 staff. We're up to 65 between our two facilities, we have a great group of people. We really pride ourselves on our culture and work on it. Quite frankly. We run an accountability model and we have a really good team.
We do. So we're happy. Josh and I were speaking last night before this and saying, goodness, can you remember a little over 10 years ago when we were down to nine people? And, and now we're up to 65.
Wow, that is incredible. You say you've got two sites. There's one in Southington, isn't there? Where's the other one?
They're both in Southington.
Fabulous. 65 employees. That must keep you super busy, that's for sure. I always found that management was a bit like herding cats. It was quite complicated. So tell me how you ended up in the hot seat, if I may, Tina, tell me about your career to date
How did you arrive at this role? Was it always the plan to run this sort of business?
So it certainly was not always the plan. This is obviously a family business and I worked there throughout, you know, in the summers, throughout college, all that good stuff. I took, I came home for. I had done the bookkeeping there.
I came home for a summer and then I never left and just started taking over different things, rotated into a vice president role, rotated into the president role. All before My father passed away a few years ago, but did that all prior and really was given a gift because I got to lead with him there. Right.
I got to fall in the early parts of, of anyone's career, especially in a leadership role. You, you, you mess up quite a bit, right? You take some missteps and I got to do it with him still there, you know? As a safety net. So it was, it was such a gift to let me make those decisions while, while he was alive and I'm, I'm sure it was, now that I've been doing this for a while, I'm sure it was very hard for him to do.
It really is difficult. You wanna step in and correct and overcorrect all the time. So it must have been great having that there as sort of stabilizes, it's like a, a trike for being the president of the family business. Yeah,
it certainly was. And you know, We've been at it for a while. My role has clearly evolved as the company has grown, and I evolve with it, quite frankly.
We pivot with it. We wanna grow, and I need to grow as a person and grow as a leader to be able to sustain that.
Absolutely. Joshua, then come on. Tell me a little bit about yourself. How did you end up as the general manager? How long you been with the company? Tell me everything about Joshua.
When Paul passed away and there was a void kind in the, that production general manager role, Tina offered me the position of general manager and I took it.
And obviously you've been growing and learning a lot ever since then, but I've enjoyed my time at B M S. I've learned a lot and I've been given so many opportunities and it's been a great company
to work for. What's your favorite bit of any day? What does an average day look like and what would you say are some of your favorite things that you have to take responsibility for Josh?
So, I love identifying issues and resolving problems. It's, you know, obviously we have. There's really tough ones that keep you up at night, but then when you get to a resolution or design a process and it works, I find that really exciting. I like making things. I like seeing things start to finish. So anytime there's an issue on the floor, we like to get our team together and get hands on with it and come up with a resolution that everyone agrees on and will work.
And seeing that from start to finish is probably my favorite part of being in manufacturing.
Josh is cutting himself short. He, he's a brilliant engineer and put himself through engineering school while he was working full-time, so,
oh, I love it when somebody doesn't blow their own trumpet, but their boss is here to do it for them.
Go on Josh.
Oh, well thank you, Tina. Yeah, I got involved in the process design and tool design back in the late two thousands and started doing that while I was still doing the quality manager role. And I think my position in QC really helped me, you know, see the issues that can really occur with a part.
And I think anyone who wants to, you know, get into tool designer or process design should do a tour in quality. Cuz you see everything that can go wrong with the process and the outcome at the end. And I only think it makes you a better designer and a better engineer at the
end of the day. And also good news for people.
Who are perhaps listening to this podcast and thinking, oh, what am I gonna do? What? What does my future hold? Should I go into manufacturing? You know, it's something that comes up time and time again, is about workforce development in Connecticut. How do we get skilled people in, or how do we train our young people to take over these jobs to secure, I guess the future of our rich heritage in Connecticut of manufacturing?
Tina, when you are looking to recruit or yourself, Joshua, what attributes are you looking for when a resume hits your desk? You know, you're talking about coming into the company with little or no skills within the industry environment, in the manufacturing sector, I should say. What do you look for? What?
What are those key attributes that you know, perhaps you can't learn in a classroom that you are looking for in a resume? Tina? We hire
for all sorts of roles. The roles are suggesting are, you know, with a limited skillset within the manufacturing industry, and we don't see that as a downfall. We actually see that as an opportunity to train people the way we expect things to be done at our organization.
But honestly, we look for someone who has, Josh and I both look at different things. I'm just gonna give it to you. I want somebody who's kind of worked a crappy job who's had the problem solve. If you're gonna be on the floor, if you've done some sort of manual labor, that's great if you're gonna be in the office.
If you've been a waitress, if you've worked in retail, if you've done a customer service, heavy job, all those things, to me, you gain a pretty good skillset, a attention to detail, and B, your skin is a little bit thicker. You know how to handle people. Cause it takes all kinds, quite frankly, you know, with a group of 65, it, you just, you learn that it takes all kinds, just like in a family.
And, and then, and then
we go from there. You're right actually, aren't you? Like some of those life skills and experiences, those, they call them soft skills, are actually imperative. They're absolutely imperative in what you have got the opportunity to do, particularly in a business like bms, is you're gonna be able to mold them and shape them into the the professionals that you're gonna need for the future.
Joshua, what can you tell me about the trade schools locally or the, the education behind manufacturing in Connecticut? What do you look for?
20 years ago when I got involved in manufacturing, they had just started bringing back, like reintroducing these programs to schools and bringing the tension to younger.
Generations, and I think they're doing an excellent job with that. I've been over to the community colleges and met the students when they have their jobs, and I think that they're getting better. I think that we're starting to see a little more better skilled, younger kids coming out of these schools at this point, but at.
Bms, you know, we in the last decade, because there's been, you know, a transition in the workforce in Connecticut where it's getting harder and harder to find labor. I, I'm with Tina and the fact that, you know, I'm just looking for someone who's willing to work hard shows initiative and the openness to learn new things because it's hard to find someone in the skillsets that we need.
And so we've decided and implemented and created training programs at bms, and I'm not. Against taking anyone from an entry level. Um, I understand that the skillsets aren't always there and you know, we're gonna have to train these guys, and I think on the job training is really the best way to learn things.
That's how I learned
everything. I agree with Josh. I I really value that on the job training. To Josh's point, the state is getting better. We're really fortunate. We, we live where we live and we have a business where we have it because the state of Connecticut really has taken an initiative and is doing their best there.
And they take feedback. Really well, but it's just such a shortage that you have to be able to adapt. You have to look at what's happening and say, if we wanna survive and if we wanna grow, we need to be training people. We need to be offering more. And so I kind of, I know a lot of other people in Connecticut do the same thing.
And I, I kind of think manufacturing is a really cool thing cuz. You can start anywhere and have a career. You could be doing anything and you know, have a whole different life and a whole different career. And it's really cool to see how things are made, quite frankly, at the end of the day and be a part
One of the things I love about the industry and the role is physically something to see at the end of the day. Or at the end of the week or at the end of the month, you know, it's not pushing papers around a desk. You're actually gonna problem solve. You're gonna put your blood, sweat, and tears into it.
You're gonna create something physical that you can say, I made that. And I think for many people, that's a huge amount of satisfaction in that kind of process. Meet the manufacturer's podcast on behalf of Manufacturer. CT is created and produced by Red Rock Branding, red rock branding.com. If you are enjoying this episode, please subscribe to and share this podcast today.
Thinking about the pandemic that we have just kind of endured and got through, there's still kind of quite a lot of fallout from that. How did the pandemic affect you and the business and certainly how did it affect your customers? Cuz they must have been quite heavily hit during that time.
So the pandemic affected us in different ways.
One, obviously there is the whole aspect of people, you know, being scared and families and having to take time off work and working through the pandemic and all those good things associated with it. But I think a lot of people have talked about that too. Exhaustion, right? And I don't think we did it any differently.
We, we stayed open, we prepared, we cleaned, we did, we did all the things. We pivoted from a customer standpoint. We saw different things in different sectors. So we, our industrial gas turbine customers were bi very busy. Our aerospace customers were slower At the beginning, our defense customers were busy and then our defense customers slowed down.
It was a weird, weird situation cuz of the elections, which kind of almost always happens. But from a customer standpoint, I, the, the real difference. That I saw was that they had supply chain issues, just like we had supply chain issues. And so your schedule wasn't as held as well as it was prior, but we were internally, we worked on that.
So we used our resource planning. Normally we buy materials out. We typically, were doing a 60 day and we have a cushion. We were going out 280 days. Wow. To
secure our sales. Wow. There's certainly some big pivots going on there that's like ballerina pivots. That is Tina. Okey dokey. Question for both of you.
I'm gonna start with you Josh, if I may. What advice would you give to somebody looking to explore a career in manufacturing? This could be somebody returning to the workforce. This could be somebody fresh out of school. Why should someone explore a career in manufacturing? What has it given you, I guess, as a person?
Kyle, like I was saying earlier, I think if you enjoy seeing things made, you have something at the end of the day that you can hold onto. It's tangible. You can see it, you can feel it. You can start to finish, watch it go from a piece of raw material to an engine component in an aircraft that interests you, then it's absolutely the career to go into every day is different.
You're not gonna come in, like you said, and push papers every day. You, there's always a new challenge and there's always something new that you're gonna learn. Because the industry and the technologies are constantly changing and things are just getting better. So if you're looking for an ever-changing industry, Then this is where you should be, in my opinion.
Beautifully put. I mean, beautifully put that, that could be the sound bite for this podcast, I think, in all honesty, Josh, I think that's beautifully put. Question for you, Tina, if I may. When you look back on your career, obviously it was a family run business. Are you happy with your choices? Has it given you everything that you hoped it would or has it delivered more?
You know, when I look back, I certainly see how much we've done, how much growth the company was, nothing like it is now. When I took over, and not to say it wasn't taken, you know, as far as it could go in, in a period of time. You know, the company started in the garage and it was grown and, and a lot of things were done prior to my tenure here, but when I look back, it, it doesn't even look like the same place.
But here's what I will also say. When I look around, I think, man, we got a lot of work to do. We still got a lot of work to do. I'm not done yet. So
that kind of brings me onto my next question. Is there any big current new project you are working on? New pieces of equipment that you're looking to acquire?
What's just around the corner for you guys?
So we, our second site is a, was a recent acquisition just about a year ago. So we brought on all those. Processes. E wire, E D M sync or E D M, small hole drilling and the laser. And we invested in an additional laser for that facility. So we're just kind of wrapping up on that.
We currently have a couple presses on their way in. Josh has been looking at 3D printers for doing tool design for the presses. I actually think that the engineering team is gonna make a final decision on which one we're going with. In the next couple weeks, we've been looking at different expansion presses to bring in house and we actually have an appointment to go look at a different oven.
We've been working on bringing in the heat tree ovens for a few years. We chose to buy a laser instead of the heat tree oven at the last turn from a process standpoint, and now we're ba we're back to bringing in that special process only. Unfortunately, as with all equipment right now, the lead time I'm getting a new one is a very long time.
So now we're looking at. Rebuilding an existing one, which has been a challenge. And I think Josh might wanna expand upon that is, is getting equipment has been a challenge.
Yeah, so really with the two different sites, you know, we have the sheet metal forming and fabrication facility, and then we have the non-conventional machining facility.
And you know, Tina had mentioned that we're looking into right now some additive manufacturing technologies because. At the non-con conventional machining facility, the, the biggest thing there is we're just doing part of the product for the, for our customer. We're a stop along the way to their completed product.
And the biggest thing for them with us is lead time. And one of the longest lead times at the moment is tooling up. And so right now we're actually running today on the laser 3D printed fixture that's holding apart for aerospace. And we're testing out the limitations of this technology to see if we can.
Utilize it to fixture up in our, in that facility because it would take our lead time from six to eight weeks on a new product down to one week. And I think that'll be set us apart in terms of the industry. And now at the other fac, our sea metal forming facility, we're always looking for new ways to improve our repeatability.
And we're doing that by bringing more advanced presses of looking into hydro perform technologies. Being a sheet metal fabrication facility, we're. Very interested in getting an oven on board, but all these processes require development and so we gotta do it in a staggered way that allows us to grow with the company and be successful at 'em.
We can't take 'em all on at once. Right. So it just would be too much. That's what we're constantly looking for is ways to improve our repeatability, especially at the fabrication facility. You know, we're doing stackups and things are meeting up to each other, and it's very critical that we hold things so that we can hold tolerances in a consistent manner so that we can, you know, put these things together in a timely fashion and correctly.
Yeah, of course. Claire kind of stacking on what you were saying is, you know, you fly in a lot of airplanes, right? So you wanna know that people building them are investing in their, in their facilities and in their equipment and in their
processes. Absolutely. And growing, which is fabulous. You know, this can only be a good thing for not just the end user of perhaps me sat in an airplane flying somewhere over the Atlantic, but for your staff and for your clients, the ripple effect is absolutely huge.
And it sounds to me like you've got quite a large development program in place A and it's exciting times, guys, it sounds really exciting. You know, there's not a sense of being stagnant. There seems to be a, a nice growth pattern here, which is really exciting to hear. Really exciting to hear, especially when we're having a, a difficult economic time in many areas.
Okay. Time for you to get your crystal ball out. Tina and Josh, I want you both to give me your predictions. Tell me your predictions about the future of manufacturing and particularly doing business in the state of Connecticut. How do you see the future of manufacturing in Connecticut?
I'm sure you know Connecticut is an expensive state to do business in an expensive state to manufacturing, and so those are large ponds to being in Connecticut.
It also has high electricity costs. Connecticut stuff to do business in is the bottom line. But Connecticut invests in manufacturing, right? So Connecticut is helping us build the pipeline of. Of workforce development in Connecticut, which is massive and there is a just a huge, huge amount of people who do.
Aerospace manufacturing in Connecticut and, and just, we're part of another group, aerospace components manufacturers, and I don't know how, what our numbers are at now, but last I checked it was like 150 different manufacturers in, in Connecticut and Massachusetts. So that is our subcontract base. So I.
Being here has a lot of positives as well. I don't think manufacturing is going away in Connecticut. I I really don't. I, the state has invested in it and from our standpoint we're growing and a lot of our colleagues and a lot of people around us are growing as well and really doubling down and investing.
And a lot of the OEMs are investing in the supply chain that's in Connecticut. So What
about yourself, Josh? Anything to add? I
think manufacturing in the Connecticut won't be aerospace alley here, route Highway 91. Isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I think over the next decade or so, you'll continue to see consolidation though between the smaller companies being bought up by larger ones, but I was just hundred percent small.
Literally the, the other day where I was talking to someone in the Midwest and they're, we're talking about supply chain vendors and he's like, well, it must be nice to be in Connecticut cuz you can literally throw a rock and hit someone that can do a process that you need. So, like Tina was saying, there's such a robust supply chain here in Connecticut and Massachusetts and this whole New England area that I think that's gonna continue to promote manufacturing in this state cuz it's so easy to get, you know, your coatings, your heat treats, all that done.
If you have a problem with one vendor, more than likely there's someone else that can do that process as well. It's really makes, you know, supply chain a lot
easier to manage very much so. And supply chain is something that was, was on. The hottest topic as we came out of Covid, of course, you know, and the reassuring efforts in the United States and in Connecticut particularly have been, have been well documented guys, last couple of questions for you, if I may.
What do you like to do to unwind? When you're not working or thinking about your next 3D invention, Joshua, what do you like to do to unwind and relax? Cuz we are very lucky to live in the beautiful state of Connecticut.
I have two young kids, so that's fun to watch them play their sports and hang out with them.
I, I also like to garden, so I have a large garden in my backyard, so I'm just getting into that again, receding and. You know the last 10 years me and Tina have been working so much that used to be into working out, but that kind of got away from me. So recently I've been trying to get back into that and lose some weight.
So really that's what I do in my free time.
Come then. Big boss. What do you do Tina?
I like to exercise. I like to spend time with my family. I like to spend time outdoors. Like you said, Connecticut is a beautiful area. There's a lot of hiking trails and yeah, we have young kids, both of us, so. You know, the perils of having young children.
I just spend a lot of time with them and I love it. But that's my don't You don't
have, you don't have any spare time? I don't any spare. That's basically what it comes down season I'm in right now. There is none, Tina. That's the Tina.
Tina doesn't have a lot of free time. I, that's tricky. Attest to that.
I love that.
So what do you like do in your spare time? We don't have any. That's basically the answer, guys. It's been such good fun meeting you today and getting to learn a little bit more about what you guys are doing in Southington and how the future's looking so, so bright. If people wanna get in touch with you, if they're in curious about the company and you guys yourselves, how can they reach out and carry on the conversation with you?
our website is a contact us. It goes straight. Actually, Josh and I both get the email if you reach out via our website and you could call either of us at our facility. We learned a lot from a lot of generous people throughout our careers and we are happy to talk to anyone who wants to talk about manufacturing and you know, pay
That is awesome. Are you guys on LinkedIn as well? Are you LinkedIn junkies?
I've been utilizing it more and more in the last few years cause it's a great place to connect with other people in the manufacturing industry and particularly in Connecticut with the groups that they have on there. And I've been utilizing it a lot lately for the additive manufacturing.
So excellent stuff. So check out the website. BMS aerospace.com is where you can find the guys. Do check 'em out online if you wish to carry on the conversation. But for now, Tina and Joshua, thank you so much for being a part of Meet the Manufacturers, brought to you by manufacturer ct.
Thank you very much for having me.
Thank you so much. It was such a
time. Thank you for taking the time to listen to this episode of Meet the Manufacturers brought to you by Manufacture ct. If you would like to find out more about Manufacture CT. Or you would like to join the organization, visit the website, manufacture ct.org. This podcast is sponsored by Cone Resnick Advisory Assurance Tax.
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