Family-owned companies have been the backbone of the Hudson Valley for decades; helping to provide economic growth to many communities. Pawling Corporation in Wassaic, New York is no exception. HV MFG sat down with President and CEO Jason Smith to discuss the company. Pawling cooperation which was formally known as Pawling Rubber, was founded in 1945 by Smith’s grandfather. He had returned home from serving in the Navy and got an idea to start making rubber gaskets. Smith explains how his grandfather began selling compression seals for military ammunition cases. By the 1950’s the company had acquired Presray Corporation which specialized in making technical lifting devices that used inflatable rubber seals.
Smith’s father became the second generation to work in the company. By the 1970’s, Pawling had four main businesses which comprised of extrusion, mixing, architectural products, and Presray. Smith gives a lot of credit to his farther and uncle who helped the businesses achieve around $60 million in sales by the late 1990’s. Smith became the third generation to take on the family business and oversaw the split of Pawling into two separate companies; Pawling Engineered Products and Pawling Corporation. The former of which is overseen by is cousin Craig Busby and his brother-in-law John Rickert. They specialize in making gaskets and various other seals for the nuclear, aerospace, and life sciences sectors. Smith currently runs Pawling Corporation which took over the old Borden Condensed Milk Factory in the town of Wassaic. Pawling Corporation is split into two divisions with one focusing on architectural products such as impact protection systems and another (Presray) focusing on constructing water/air tight doors and barriers.
Smith knows that being a leader means having the ability to look ahead and predict how the company will evolve in the future. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in history at Boston University and later got his MBA at Pace University. Smith mentioned to HV MFG that concentrating on Marketing was extremely useful as he was able to apply it to the business. Data and facts help Smith make informed decisions about where to take the company next. In fact, some decisions have led to positive results including the decision to focus on customer service and an inside sales program to market new products. In addition, Smith emphasized how he tried to gather as much information as possible before making any important company decisions while also taking responsibility when things don’t go as planned. These strong leadership qualities, have helped Pawling continue to grow into the successful business it is today. Going forward, Smith hopes to spread the word about manufacturing and the crucial role it plays in the local Hudson Valley Economy.
Click here to read the full interview between Pawling Corporation CEO Jason Smith and HV MFG.