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Precision Profiles makes and designs custom stainless steel products

By Liz Margolis ’09

After working 25 years in sales and marketing at General Electric, Donald Richwine ’73 acquired Precision Profiles two years ago. It took a big leap of faith to jump from working for a company to owning and running one.

“You trust that your engineering, sales and marketing, and finance experience will carry you through. After two years, I’m now wondering why I did not leap sooner.”

Based in Titusville, Pa., the manufacturing company makes and designs custom stainless steel products for the heavy industrial and power generation markets. Some of the company’s main clients include General Electric, Northrop Grumman, Siemens, and Dresser-Rand, the prime producers of land-based steam generation as well as nuclear-powered ships.

Richwine enjoys owning his own business because he is able to control its growth and likes setting the company’s direction.

“Having my own company has been something I wanted to do ever since graduation from Lafayette,” he says. “Working for other companies provided me with excellent experiences and responsibilities as well as the opportunity for leadership and accomplishment. However, nothing gets more personal than owning a manufacturing company where you are ultimately responsible for all aspects of the business including the welfare of your employees.”

As president and CEO, Richwine says his main challenge is finding ways to differentiate his products.

“That is a matter of demonstrating to our customers how our proprietary process creates a greater value and lower cost to their production,” he says.

He also works to find market niches to maximize sales and profits and minimize competition.

He notes that Precision Profiles has grown by saturating its markets with new product offerings and gaining new customers. Buying new manufacturing equipment has enabled him to bring more production in-house and minimize costs.

A mechanical engineering graduate, Richwine says his Lafayette education made for an easy transition to the working world after graduating.

“The difference I found between myself and others who had the same degree from other institutions was how well-prepared I was to attack and solve problems as a mechanical engineer,” he says.

Richwine was deeply impacted by the mechanical engineering department faculty, particularly Frank Zimmerman. He maintains his relationship with the College by coming back to campus for sporting events and staying in contact with his fraternity brothers.

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