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Mechtronics expands and consolidates

Mechtronics President Richard Fellinger is putting manufacturing and R&D staff under one roof in Beacon.

There was a touch of serendipity in the fact that Richard Fellinger met his visitors at the Duracell Battery display in the lobby of Mechtronics on Beacon’s Fishkill Avenue. The company president is supercharged by the expansion of his company’s manufacturing facility.

Nearly 70 percent complete, the expansion will add another 70,000 square feet of space to its 80,000 square feet and bring its Westchester County-based research and development and support staff under one roof.

Mechtronics designs stationary and interactive displays for companies around the world, including Proctor & Gamble, Merck, Kodak and Bausch & Lomb.

Dr. Scholl’s touch-screen orthotics kiosks, Duracell batteries units, a motion-sensor display for Gillette’s Fusion Proglide razors and Kodak’s “make your own prints” kiosks are just a few of the innovative point-of-purchase displays Mechtronics has designed and delivered to its clients.

Fellinger bought the then 45-year-old company in 1989 and moved it from Stamford, Conn., to White Plains. He bought the former Beacon Looms for his company’s manufacturing component. The fast-approaching consolidation of Mechtronics’ R&D and manufacturing will make the company all the more appealing to current and prospective clients, Fellinger said. “They will meet with our design team, R&D engineers and see our production, assembly and shipping operation all under one roof.”

Fellinger acknowledged there were offers from outside Dutchess when he talked about expanding, “but it made good economic sense for us to stay right here. The Dutchess County Economic Development Corp. didn’t pull any punches and told us exactly what we could expect and didn’t fail to deliver. County Executive Bill Steinhaus has been extremely supportive throughout the whole process.”

The point-of-purchase display industry is a highly competitive one, Fellinger said. Bringing the company’s administration, R&D and engineering staff and manufacturing components under one roof will make it all the more convenient for clients to meet with designers and researchers, visit the manufacturing facility and see how its product will be designed, tested and produced for the marketplace. Mechtronics will add two new bays to its existing three for its trucks to deliver goods.

The Dutchess County IDA worked with Mechtronics to finance the $5.2 million project by issuing tax-free bonds, exempting the company from paying tax on material and construction and giving Mechtronics a 10-year PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) on the new construction. “The current manufacturing space will continue to pay its full portion of its taxes,” said John MacEnroe, Dutchess County EDC president. “The PILOT is only applicable to the building’s addition.”

Mechtronics is working with M&T Bank since it made the decision to expand and started seeking financing. “They were willing to take a chance with us,” Fellinger said. “It is extremely tough to get financing these days, but M&T saw the value we had and had faith in us.”

With the project 70 percent completed, Mechtronics, whose employee numbers can surge from 100 to 300 depending on the number of display units it needs to  manufacture, is a plus for Dutchess’ workforce, said Steinhaus, who toured the facility Aug. 10 with MacEnroe and Charles North, president of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“Our lease is up on our space in Westchester in October; the timing is perfect because we know (Kirchhoff-Consigli Construction Management), our general contractor, will be on time – the building is scheduled to be ready by October 1st – and will be on  budget – that was why we chose them,” Fellinger said. “This plan has been in the works for two years, so it is no surprise for our staff.”

The beauty and practicality of Mechtronics’ expansion in Beacon, said Fellinger, was its close proximity to Interstate 84, which offers a direct connection to Stewart International Airport and to Interstate 87.

“Those factors, along with the help of the county executive and the DCEDC, made it the right move for us. Good highway infrastructure and the fact that Stewart is so close makes this the right place to be,” said Fellinger of his Fishkill Avenue site. “The economy may be going through a bad time, but this consolidation and expansion was the right time for us. It was a decision predicated on the future. Companies cannot afford to stop advertising their products and services, so even though we are not a ‘recession-proof business,’ companies recognize the need to keep their product in the public’s eye.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds great on paper. I would have been more impressed if those involved helping Mechtronics mandated the use of E-Verify. It does nothing for Dutchess County when the bulk of the 100-300 floor staff are illegal aliens with falsified documents. And wait until the homeowners on Prospect Street have all the trucks and traffic day and night.

  2. It should have been mandated that Mechtronics use E-verify. Especially when the EDC gave them breaks. They certainly aren’t looking out for the people’s best interest and if they claim they are, they are severely incompetent.

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