When politicians talk about moving Detroit's manufacturing base from solely automotive oriented to a combination of auto, alternative energy, aerospace and defense, they probably have W Industries
The Detroit-based manufacturer depended on the automotive sector for about 100 percent of its work in 2005. Today automotive only accounts for 10 percent. The rest is in aerospace and defense, and W industries is planning to grow into the alternative energy manufacturing sector. It's all part of an aggressive manufacturing growth plan.
"We're very optimistic about future and hopeful other businesses in the city can do the same," says Edward Walker, president and CEO of W industries.
W Industries employs 360 people at its three campuses. Two of those are in Detroit on Hoover just south of 8 Mile and Helen and McNichols. Its third campus is in Romulus. The firm recently added 40-50 jobs in the last few months and expects to hire another 100 more by the end of the year.
Much of this growth is based on growth in aerospace, homeland security and defense manufacturing. W Industries makes about 100 components for the Stryker
(a military armored personnel carrier used in Iraq and Afghanistan). It also is looking to expand into the alternative energy sector, making parts for wind turbines. Those would include the carbon fiber molds for the blades and machining the hub for the turbines.
"Alternative energy has boundless opportunities," Walker says.
Source: Edward Walker, president and CEO of W industries
Writer: Jon Zemke