By Liz Segrist
Liberty-based Sealevel plans to hire five people and invested $2.5 million to accommodate its facility expansion.
Sealevel unveiled its new circuit assembly line and expanded manufacturing facility during a Tuesday announcement by Sealevel executives, Pickens County Council and Alliance Pickens.
The hires will be for engineers and process control associates. The investment will be used toward facility equipment and innovations.
Sealevel houses its design, sales, support and manufacturing in a 48,000-square-foot facility at 2779 Greenville Highway in Liberty. The company planned in 2010 for a major expansion to accommodate future growth. In the last two years, Sealevel has hired 18 employees.
In 2011, the company expanded with 10,000 square feet of warehouse space, flexible manufacturing space and an in-house circuit assembly line. Of the investment, $500,000 was used for this addition, which included conductive tile flooring, HVAC, manufacturing and office space, a back-up generator and all electrical, IT and plumbing. The remaining $2 million went toward capital equipment.
The facility was filled within a year when the company decided to bring the manufacturing processes in-house after 25 years of outsourcing them.
“Although we have always designed, tested, sold and supported our products, for many years, other companies built them for us,” President Ben O’Hanlan said. “The recent recession and the tremendous growth for Sealevel that followed the recession highlighted the need to be in more control of our own destiny.”
The company said it faced challenges during the transition of maintaining quality and delivery expectations, learning new processes and hiring employees.
Last week, Sealevel finalized a new contract with a new customer for a computing product in the oil and gas industry. O’Hanlan sees room for growth in this industry and said that Sealevel would not have been able to compete for the contract without moving manufacturing in-house.
Sealevel has 300 standard products and a full line of custom solutions for the military, government, medical, broadcast communications and process control industries. The company manufactures equipment for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Sealevel is a family-owned company, which began with O’Hanlan’s father, Tom O’Hanlan, who serves as the CEO. Tom O’Hanlan formerly worked at the NCR Liberty plant in 1981 before he, along with his wife, Susan, decided to start the company in 1986.
Today, the privately held company has 64 employees and provides communication adapters for IBM PC and compatibles. It also serves as a government contractor, working closely with the military to develop products that specifically meet its requirements.