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The LVEDC Interview: National Magnetics

By LVEDC Staff on January 7, 2014

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you haven’t heard of National Magnetics you’re in for a real treat. For years this Bethlehem-based company has provided innovative and cost-saving solutions to their clients throughout a gamut of business sectors without compromising quality. Last year NM made a bold move by expanding operations at its 51,800-square-foot facility by almost 29,000 square feet. LVEDC was able to obtain PIDA funding to make the $1.9 million project a reality.  Thanks to influx of cash, the company is retaining their 81 employees and has plans to hire more. We were able to catch up with Executive Vice President Abby Oberbeck for the details about NM.

LVEDC: What is something most people would not know about the technical ceramics manufacturing business?

Abby Oberbeck: Most people would be surprised by how varied the uses are for our products. Our parts are in blood testing kits, catheters, oil and gas drilling equipment, cars, jet engines, cellular base stations, particle accelerators and water meters.

LVEDC: How did National Magnetics get its start?

Abby Oberbeck: Paul Oberbeck, our president’s father, purchased the foundation of our company, National Moldite, in 1977.  The company was originally located in Newark, N.J., but was moved here in 1991.  National Moldite started in the mid-1940s making powdered iron cores for inductors. Since 1977 we have grown organically and also through acquisitions of competitors and/or related ceramic manufacturers.

LVEDC: What are some of the industries National Magnetics works with and who are some of your customers?

Abby Oberbeck: Our customers are in almost every industry segment: agricultural, hi-tech electronics, automotive, aerospace, medical and defense, to name a few. Our customers range from small start-ups to Fortune 100 corporations.  We approach every customer in the same way:  we will do everything we can to meet their needs and exceed their expectations.

LVEDC: What prompted National Magnetics to expand its operations?

Abby Oberbeck: For certain product lines we have been operating at capacity for some time and over the years our plant has become quite congested. We did not want to jeopardize our customer deliveries or their confidence in our ability to be a reliable supplier so we needed a plan for expansion. Related to this, we have noticed larger customers considering moving operations back to the U.S. from overseas. We believe the U.S. economy has to grow sooner or later and we want to be positioned to take advantage of that growth and any opportunities that may arise as a result.

LVEDC: What does the Lehigh Valley mean to National Magnetics – and you personally?

Abby Oberbeck: We are lucky to have great employees, many of whom have been with us for 20-plus years. We have had opportunities to expand our manufacturing overseas, but had no desire to do so. We are proud to manufacture our products here in the Lehigh Valley with local workers. We are excited for the opportunity to increase our footprint in the local community by providing good local jobs. The Lehigh Valley, and specifically the LVEDC, has been great to us as a company, offering us support in a multitude of ways: low cost financing, access to resources and contacts to facilitate our growth.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This feature was written by Stacy Wescoe and originally appeared in the Jan. 6 issue of Lehigh Valley Business. The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. is[...]

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