LancasterThrivingSummerFall2017 - 12
BUSINESS: BUSINESS PRIORITIES
NEXT GENERATION MACHINING
CHANGING THE PERCEPT
teve Fanning is doing business in space. Sort of.
Fanning is the operations manager at Flex-Cell
Precision, Inc., a CNC machining company that
manufactures medical, military and communications
products. Flex-Cell does work both directly for NASA and
indirectly, through other customers. He manufactures
satellite components and thinks he manufactured housings
for an electronic assembly that wound up on the Curiosity
Rover exploring Mars, according to feedback from one of
his customers involved with that mission.
When people drive by the company's facility on South Duke
Street, do they know that workers there are making products
that (possibly) span the solar system?
Fanning laughs. "People think we're a battery company."
12 | LANCASTERTHRIVING! | Summer/Fall2017
Flex-Cell is like many manufacturers in Lancaster County-
together, they employ thousands of workers, make cool stuff
for global clients, and they hide in plain sight.
"People say, 'We drive by that all the time, and we didn't
know what was happening in there,'" relates Susanna
Schaum, Fanning's assistant. And that can be a problem for
a high-tech industry looking to recruit a new generation of
Modern manufacturing "is not something young people-or
people in general-can picture," Schaum says while sitting
in the conference room of the company's bright, modern
headquarters. "They know what an electrician does, they
know what a plumber does, they know what a carpenter
does. You ask any of them, 'What does a machinist do?' and
their face goes blank."