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Rochester Top 100: WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY

The Rochester area may be the base for most firms on this year’s Rochester Top 100 list, but the world is the market for others.

Some who do business globally have done so since their company’s inception, while others entered the worldwide market as a way to grow their business.

John DeLuca, international sales manager for Liberty Pumps Inc., said the Bergen, Genesee County, company had thought about going global for several years before it took the leap but held off for two chief reasons.

The first was that company leaders did not believe they had the critical mass that warranted the decision. The second reason was the lack of expertise the firm had with customers from around the globe.

Liberty Pumps excelled at the North American pump business but was unfamiliar with efforts outside of that, DeLuca explained. Liberty Pumps manufactures sump, sewage and effluent pumps for the professional trade market.

The firm ranked 36th on the most recent Rochester Business Journal list of manufacturers.

Five years ago, however, they were ready to make the switch, with DeLuca and his background in global medical device sales on board.

The transition has paid off.

Including sales to Canadian customers, international business now makes up some 23 percent of Liberty Pump’s annual sales, he said. The firm ships to more than 30 countries.

“There’s been remarkable growth here,” DeLuca said.

The company has distributors in Europe and China and has been increasing business in South America, too. DeLuca said Liberty Pumps could add sales and service locations outside the country at some point and one day see a joint venture with an international firm.

The company relied on support from state and federal agencies, including support from the Empire State Development Corp. and the Department of Commerce, to grow its international business, he said.

DeLuca expects international business to continue to grow, predicting the North American market eventually will plateau and increase the need for global customers.

In addition to growing the company’s revenue stream, doing business globally is helping the company technologically because it gives the engineers exposure to markets in other countries and lets them bring those practices to Liberty Pumps, DeLuca explained.

“They are learning more technology and applications by seeing how things are done around the world,” he said.

Fritz Ruebeck, president of Classic Automation LLC, said 50 percent of his firm’s business comes from international orders.

He was selling globally from the start.

“It’s the nature of our business,” Ruebeck said. “We need that global reach.”

Classic Automation provides parts, products and services to users of installed control systems and drives.

Ruebeck, a former vice president of global service for control system parts at ABB Ltd., started the firm in 2003 at his Webster home. Classic Automation was selling to large, international firms immediately.

Today, the company sells to customers in 80 countries.

The Rochester-area market alone would not provide a large enough customer base for Classic Automation, Ruebeck explained. For example, the company can have thousands of used circuit boards on hand, more than a local customer base could use.

In 2013, the company moved into 41,000 square feet of space on Salt Road in Webster from a smaller location in the city. All 36 employees work at the one site.

And while the Rochester area constitutes only a small part of Classic Automation’s business, Ruebeck said the skilled workforce is a big reason to locate here.

“There’s a strong knowledge base here,” Ruebeck said.

Michael Nuccitelli, president and CEO of Perinton-based Parlec Inc., said his firm has had an operation in China since 2002. Parlec employs 30 workers there, and the site contributes roughly 30 percent of the company’s revenues.

Parlec manufactures proprietary tool and tool-measuring products. Its products are used in computerized manufacturing equipment that cuts metal. Products include boring tools, tool holders and presetters used in various industries, including aerospace.

Parlec ranked 42nd on the most recent Rochester Business Journal list of manufacturers.

Nuccitelli—a 2015 inductee into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame along with his business partner, Ronald Ricotta, CEO of Century Mold Co. Inc.—said Parlec is looking to expand further in 2016 with a site in India. As they were with China, Nuccitelli said Parlec was drawn to India because of market opportunities.

But while Parlec has customers in Europe and South Korea, the majority of its business comes from customers in North America and China.

Nuccitelli said some barriers, including language and business regulations that can vary by country, have caused Parlec to focus on targeted geographic locations rather than broader, global growth.

Parlec is also focused on manufacturing locally, even as it eyes global expansion. The decision allows the firm to control high-technology product development at its home base, he said.

The company does have a plan in place to increase its global presence over the next three to five years, he said, but plans do not include immediate widespread geographic expansion.

“We like to do one thing at a time and do it well, rather than do a little bit in a lot of places,” Nuccitelli said. “We want to develop our team and work to get a solid market position.”

10/30/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email [email protected]

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