In 2022 our writers fanned out across Texas to showcase manufacturing leaders and companies shaping its future. Here’s our list of favorites from the year – and yours, in the Reader’s Choice Best of 2022.
San Antonio’s Cox Manufacturing and Greenville’s Quik-Latch Products top the lists.
Cox Manufacturing (San Antonio)
For the thousands of commuters who pass Bill Cox’s unassuming factory every day on San Antonio’s 1604 loop, not much thought is likely given to what happens between the walls.
If they only knew.
Cox has built one of Texas’ most impressive fabrication facilities: a phalanx of 100 or so CNC machines — many brand new — churning out a million-plus parts per week for a slew of customers including DOD contractors, and all connected by a home-grown, proprietary software system.
With demand booming from reshoring and other factors favoring American fabricators, the future looks bright for Cox and other standout SA fabricators like M2 Global and Precision Group in this industrious town.
Read the Cox story here: https://companyweek.com/articl…
Full Throttle Machine Works (Corpus Christi)
Oil and gas flow through Texas manufacturing like a wellhead, so it’s easy to find compelling stories to tell, and none more so than Lauren Tipps’ Full Throttle Machine works.
Tipps may be an improbable progenitor of her family’s oil and gas legacy, but the work of her company to remanufacture and repair gate valves would be respected by peers in any era, including the 2 a.m. phone calls she fields to keep Texas oil and gas companies producing.
Texas manufacturing needs more Lauren Tipps. Read her story here: https://companyweek.com/articl…
re:3D Inc. (Houston)
Manufacturing also needs change agents, and the vanguard crashing the sector with additive manufacturing innovations qualify.
Samantha Snables and co-founder Matthew Fielder’s approach is to manufacture 3D printers able to use diverse feedstocks, meaning users across the globe can print products and components from material native to where they live — or according to their circumstances. It’s the ultimate democratization of the means of production.
It’s certain that Snables et al will also raise the collective capabilities of a sector careening toward full-on 3D printing in complex industrial production environments.
Power to the people.
Read Snables’ story here: https://companyweek.com/articl…
American Precision Engineering (Pflugerville)
Daniel Hester is part of another key manufacturing constituency – young, motivated professionals with engineering backgrounds who view the sector through a technology lens.
He launched his first manufacturing company in his native California, but his move to Austin to serve Texas’ growing sector also came with a change in philosophy. “That (California company) was a fabrication company that got the work that we did because we also did engineering,” Hester explains in the interview. “Here, we’re trying to be more of an engineering company that gets the work we do because we also manufacture on site. It’s looking at the same coin from the other side.”
It also brings innovations like robotic welding into play — innovations that promise to transform Texas manufacturing.
Read Hester’s story here: https://companyweek.com/articl…
One Source Manufacturing (Leander)
Kevin Shipley — or VP Tim Schnieder, my tour guide — would love to show you what’s made in the OSM facility in manufacturing-minded Leander but well, they can’t. Among the goods is proprietary stuff from a growing roster of blue-chip aerospace companies.
It’s inspiring, nonetheless, to be on the production floor. Though lacking a visual or full-on description, we trust the work being done here is helping reset the bar for regional precision fabrication — but more, for what major OEMs and contractors can expect from an increasingly uptooled cadre of Texas suppliers.
Read the One Source Manufacturing story here: https://companyweek.com/articl…
Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods (Fredericksburg)
Manufacturing’s most compelling stories are often in food and beverage, where tasteful enthusiasts parlay a passion into a thriving business. It’s a leap of faith that makes America’s small business economy so vital.
Estella Wieser’s fabulous company started this way: in the early 1960’s, her family couldn’t get enough of her jams and jellies. Her son Mark made a business out of it, and the rest is, well, history, and Fredericksburg and all of Texas are the better for it.
Read the Fischer & Wieser story here: https://companyweek.com/articl…
Weige Knives (Austin)
Aren’t we all suckers for an anvil and hammer? And inveterate fans of artisans who transform metal and iron into works of art?
Travis Weige admits he wasn’t a knife enthusiast before committing full-time to the trade, but more a tinkerer. “I’ve always been able to build things, fix things, and I was raised in a mechanic’s shop, so I’ve had some mechanical ability,” he says in the interview.
Today Weige has transformed his knack for making things into a coveted Texas brand. It’s a journey that’s becoming familiar across multiple product and industry sectors in America’s reimagined economy.
Read Weige’s story here: https://companyweek.com/articl…
Hand Drawn Pressing (Addison)
In Addison, an intrepid group of musicians and business enthusiasts led by Dustin Blocker and Alex Cushing are turning back the clock by pressing new vinyl records. The numbers are head-spinning — Blocker’s technicians will press two million units or so this year, no small feat in a market that consumers had once left behind.
Not anymore. “Can you imagine making a product everybody wants, but you can’t get the machinery to make more of it? That’s exactly where we’re at,” Blocker says in the interview. “That’s from the majors to the big indies. They want so much more than we can produce.”
The challenge seems a minor nuisance: expansion is the cards as Texas is now home to another music — and manufacturing — icon.
Read the Hand Drawn story here: https://companyweek.com/articl…
Real Ale Brewing (Blanco)
The Texas craft beverage sector rivals any in America. With more liberal operating guidelines than other craft meccas like Colorado, entrepreneurs like Blanco’s Brad Farbstein are more or less free to innovate — with seltzers and spirits, for example — to expand and grow.
Farbstein’s done just that, and today Real Ale operates on 25 acres with a little over 100,000 square feet under cover, powered by investments in production equipment that would be the envy of any manufacturing operation.
Read Farbstein’s story here: https://companyweek.com/articl…
Reader’s Choice | Top 10 Profiles Texas
Great minds think alike. Several of our Editor’s Choice features are also among our readers’ favorites — evidenced by page views — this year.
Angela Rose is Executive Editor of CompanyWeek. If you think your manufacturing company would make a great feature, let her know at email@example.com.