Tim Satterfield calls himself “more of a visionary than anything.”
NuWeld Inc. the welding, engineering and fabrication company he owns and operates in Williamsport’s Industrial Park, perhaps represents the vision he had many years ago when he started it out of his garage in Trout Run.
“I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve been here 25 years,” he said.
Satterfield built his company up to being one of the area’s larger employers.
It’s a plant, he noted, that provides good, family-sustaining jobs.
“If you want to learn to weld, you’ve come to the right place,” he said.
The company also employs engineers, drafts persons, inspectors and managers.
Mostly, NuWeld serves the nuclear and power industries, but the natural gas industry has helped keep the company busy in recent years.
Satterfield led a tour of a small group of people through the plant Friday, showing them different sizes of piping.
“We are a full-scale operation,” he said.
Williamsport has been a good place for him to relocate and build the company. He feels the work ethic of the population is solid.
“We are pleased to be here,” he said.
Most recently, the company hired about a dozen people and, Satterfield said, some expansion could follow.
The plant runs two shifts of workers, including welders who can earn up to $34 per hour.
Those are the kind of worker wages city Mayor Gabriel Campana likes to hear about. The mayor was part of the tour getting a close-up look of the company. Also there was Jason Fitzgerald, of PennStrategies, which serves as a special economic consultant to the city.
“There is opportunity here,” Campana said. “You don’t need a four-year education to do well in Williamsport.”
Satterfield noted that the company works with both domestic and foreign clients.
“We fabricate for Russia, Peru, Mexico,” he said.
A recent project included building a nuclear canal seat plate for Duke Power.
“We just got done with a big bridge project in New York,” he added.
The company has been fortunate, he said, to have had good customers.
Some of the jobs can be highly technical, but Satterfield said he has the personnel in place and good management to see the jobs through successfully.
And, safety at the plant, he said, is a top priority. A company slogan reads: “We live by the 4 Rs: Recognize, Report, Remain Safe, Return Home.”
All welding is done by certified welders who must follow strict procedures.
“We are very careful with the welding materials,” he said.
He pointed to an area where welders are required to check in and out their materials and tools.
Specialized welding capabilities include plasma arc, automatic and orbital welding.
Running a company of NuWeld’s size, he said, is challenging.
Bringing in new work is among the most difficult aspects of the operation, although Satterfield acknowledges that those in need of NuWeld’s services often can find the company.
Ensuring that all the machinery and operations are running efficiently is yet another challenge.
“We keep $5 to $6 million of inventory at all times,” he said.
Satterfield grew up poor in the mountains of North Carolina. It was, he said, a life of hard work and long days on a tobacco farm.
“I knew I wasn’t going to go to college,” he said.
He recalled working the fields while walking behind a plow horse. One might say, the seeds of toil, of getting the job done, were planted for NuWeld years ago in the hills of the Tar Heel State, far from Williamsport.
Satterfield’s wife, Marilyn, who serves as executive vice president, conceded that the family-owned business becomes part of one’s every waking hour.
But she said she can’t help but think a higher power has had something to do with the company’s success.
“We are Christian-based here,” Marilyn said. “We like to help people out.”