Northwest Aerospace News June | July 2022 — Issue No. 27 | Page 38

Another employee , ABW ’ s General Manager , Scott Schute , said , “ He ’ s done well with the company … he listens to the people around him .” Schute manages 14 direct reports , which are all department managers . He started his career as a mechanical engineer and has worked in management with projects , fabrication , quality , and operations , and is now general manager over the 20 years he ’ s been with the company .

Their other division , co-owned by Anderson and Brian Wiehle , president of Puget Sound Coatings , is in Seattle . Like ABW , Puget Sound Coatings has a massive facility at 80,000 square feet on five acres ( in business for 75 years ). They were purchased five years ago by ABW Technologies .
Looking at the images on the website , the facilities are both robust and offer project flexibility . Wiehle said , “ I like the diversity ; we have a huge facility that accommodates larger projects than most coating shops . It makes us unique — five acres , 80,000 square feet for industrial coatings and sandblasting ; ( we are the ) largest in the region .”
Schute also shared that besides the people , he likes the diversity of the work . He said he sees joy in “ the different industries we work in , always changing environment of different customers and projects . I love the challenges ; I love seeing things coming together . I started my engineering career behind the computer , drawings , and calculations .” He likes to see how the project evolves and the final product they ship to the customer .
The customers include commercial aerospace , space , other industries , and the federal government . For the federally funded projects , Anderson said they are doing work in the clean-up effort with nuclear waste and sites involved with the Manhattan Project .
Aerospace tooling with class 1 welds masked .
While they saw a slowdown in aerospace and oil and gas over the past two years , the nuclear work sustains . Anderson said , “ When those other industries are not thriving , you can always count on the government to spend a certain amount of money . But it is a much different approach . With Boeing and other customers , the question is ‘ How fast can you get it done ?”
“ Rapid turnaround is typical for RFQs in the Aerospace world , ” Anderson said . “ You can receive an RFQ on a Monday that is due Friday and if we ’ re successful , the work proceeds immediately . When it comes to work that is funded by the federal government , you can spend months and months , if not years , pursuing and executing the work . Depending on the customer and scope of work , these projects are often accompanied by more overhead and more risk ,” he added .
Also , tongue and cheek , “ It ’ s very administratively heavy ; for every pound of steel that ships out of here , a pound of paper goes with it .”
Their staff must also be able to adapt to a variety of projects , all with different requirements . For many regional companies , if they are dedicated explicitly to aerospace , they have learned the game ’ s rules . For a company like ABW Technologies , the staff must be able to adapt to different requirements for each industry in which they produce a product .
Schute said that with the recent downturn in aerospace — there had been much expertise in the industry — people are moving to different plants and bringing their aerospace protocols with them . He said it has led to a homogenization of knowledge from aerospace into other areas .
The movement of people and knowledge may also lead to innovations . Schute said one of those innovations is cold spray technology which supports the bonding of dissimilar materials . “ Recently , ABW has begun expanding our services portfolio to include cold spray technology , which is an additive manufacturing process . We are very excited to bring this system to market .