Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - 42

Global Metal Finishing
www.globalmetalfinishing.com / HQ: Roanoke, Va. / Tamea Franco, owner: "The men and
women that work for me know that I'm a great leader and they don't mind following a strong woman."

global metal finishing is
cutting waste and streamlining its operations to
achieve new certifications.

Reaching Higher

like its owner, global metal finishing is driven to
pursue the next level of quality. by tim o'connor
Success is often about being in
the right place at the right time. For
Tamea Franco, one night in the early
1990s changed the entire trajectory of
her career.
Operation Desert Storm had just
begun when representatives from defense contractor ITT Corp. showed
up at Franco's anodized aluminum
shop, East West DyeCom. They wanted to know whether Franco could anodize a casting for a shipment of night
vision goggles, a process that would
insulate the surface of the goggles and
protect them from electrical interference. The ITT reps showed up around
5 p.m. and needed the casting back by
10 p.m. to make their next shipment
to troops in the Middle East.
At first, Franco balked at the opportunity. She had spent the last several
42

manufacturing-today.com NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

years building East West DyeCom into
a producer of colored anodized aluminum for metal artists, an industry she
fell in love with during a stint working
in her uncle's watchmaking and jewelry shop after high school. Having lost
interest in community college, Franco
followed that passion and enrolled in
Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking. But when the advent of the quartz
wristwatch in the 1980s took much
of the mechanical craftsmanship out
of the trade she switched to jewelry
repairs and settings. She was self-employed and that gave her an opportunity to try and test new things.
Franco took cold connection classes, where she learned about anodizing
aluminum and met metal finishing
suppliers. Ready to make some money, she started East West DyeCom

South

with $1,300 and began anodizing and
dying almost any kind of aluminum
product she could find.
Still, military hardware was a whole
different field that required far more
precision than Franco was used to.
She told them she didn't have the
equipment to measure the thickness
of the coating, but ITT was in a jam
and East West DyeCom was the only
anodized aluminum shop near its
night vision and imaging office in Roanoke, Va. She decided to try. East West
DyeCom had the right acid solution
and current density, but determining
the thickness was all guesswork. She
was lucky that night: ITT accepted the
casting and it was on a plane to Israel
just a few hours later.
The experience was Franco's first
brush with the commercial side of the
industry but it sparked her interest.
Soon after, she started researching
mill specifications, attended classes
on specialty chemistry for anodizing
and hired people for a new division focused on commercial customers.

Establishing Market
For 15 years, Franco ran the colored
aluminum jewelry suppliers and commercial businesses side by side under
the DyeCom name. That ended six
years ago, when she purchased a new
facility and separated the commercial
side into a new company called Global
Metal Finishing to better manage the
communication styles and stricter
specifications of those customers. "I
was going crazy because engineers
require different things than artists,"
Franco says.
In the six years since it split off into
its own company, Global Metal Finishing has continued to grow its capabilities alongside its customer base. In
2016, the company achieved AS9100
certification, a quality management


http://www.globalmetalfinishing.com http://www.manufacturing-today.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017

Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - 1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - 3
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