Horst Engineering president and CEO Scott Livingston could be excused for breathing a huge sigh of relief at the ribbon cutting for the family-owned aerospace manufacturer's new East Hartford facility.
“It’s been a winding road with expansions and contractions, business cycles,” Livingston said at the Oct. 12 ceremony. “There have been lots of twists and turns."
Founded by Livingston's grandfather Harry “Horst” Livingston, Horst Engineering is celebrating its 75th anniversary while expanding operations during an incredibly difficult and challenging period.
Pandemic-related challenges, including supply chain issues that are disrupting business operations across the country and the globe, dogged renovation of the 100,000 square-foot warehouse Horst acquired in 2019.
“My children heard about this project at the dinner table, much like I heard about it at the dinner table,” Livingston told a crowd of public officials and business leaders.
“That’s what it is like being part of an entrepreneurial family.”
Horst now employs about 90 people in East Hartford and has grown into a highly regarded manufacturer of precision parts for the aerospace sector—including nearby Pratt & Whitney—and capital equipment, medical device, naval/marine, and power generation industries.
The new facility is an advanced manufacturing showcase, featuring natural light and open spaces and an array of high-tech machines and equipment.
“We are excited to deepen our local ties,” said Livingston.
"I am pleased today that we can showcase our operations to folks so they can see that manufacturing is high-tech, sophisticated, and rewarding.
“With an aerospace industry moving up from pandemic doldrums, I am optimistic that we will be able to accelerate our operations in the months ahead."
Livingston said Horst wants to expand its workforce and—as with the rest of the manufacturing sector—continues to navigate the labor shortage, including through partnerships with Goodwin College and Manchester Community College.
"We are looking to hire workers in multiple roles at the company,” he said. “Recruiting skilled workers has always been a challenge.
“As in the past, we look to the state’s technical schools for continuing progress in development of the talent needed to support advanced manufacturing industries, including aerospace in our region."
U.S. Representative John Larson (D-CT1), state Sen. Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), Rep. Jason Rojas (D-East Hartford), Connecticut chief manufacturing officer Colin Cooper, and CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima were among the guests at the ribbon cutting.
"Scott Livingston and the Horst Engineering team exemplify the innovative, can-do spirit of Connecticut manufacturing," DiPentima said.
"Expanding operations and opening a new facility during this time is truly an incredible feat."