Caz: Marquardt in driver's seat

Marquardt is in the driver's seat

Upstate manufacturer has the business, needs more workers

By Willie Kiernan

Nestled along scenic Route 20 in the town of Nelson, Marquardt Switches has been a successful manufacturer for 25 years. While they used to predominantly produce switches for hand tools, appliances and computers, their recent focus towards the automotive industry has vaulted them into the future bringing about an urgent necessity for an increase of trained personnel. They have the jobs, but they need more workers to continue to grow.

After a $6 million infusion from their parent company in Germany, and establishing a presence in Detroit with a research and development office in Auburn Hills, Marquardt was able to sign contracts with Chrysler, BMW and Freightliner. The need for engineers and designers to be intimately attuned to the everyday assembly line activities and design alterations resulted in the Auburn Hills staff growing from five to more than twenty. The engineers send their designs from Michigan to Nelson where technicians build the machines to make the parts.

"What's awesome here is that we're designing and building our own assembly test equipment," said Kirk Wardell, Director of Operations. "We have these robots and we have pick and place machines that we never had before. Two years ago when I started, none of that existed. We put in this conductive flooring, we put in this equipment and we hired all these folks who know how to design, build and troubleshoot. And the technology gap that we've shrunk in the last two years is astronomical."

Opening in 1981, from a family business originating in Germany that has been expanding globally for 85 years, Marquardt now employs close to 300 workers and is looking for more. They need people who can interact with their machines and focus on details.

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