$375K loan via MassDevelopment helps Fleet Machine grow

February 28, 2024 : Gloucester Daily Times, Ethan Forman

Fleet Machine Co. Inc. of Gloucester is gearing up for growth thanks to a $375,000 equipment loan from the CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund administered by MassDevelopment.

The loan, enhanced with an export guarantee, was made to the AS9100-certified advanced manufacturing company at 1 Kondelin Road that specializes in precision machining for the aerospace and defense industries.

The company has used the money to acquire a new advanced manufacturing cell from Hass Automation Inc., according to MassDevelopment and a tour of the manufacturing facility on Monday.

“The new cell features four computer numerical control … turning and mill/turn centers equipped with multi-axis milling, bar feeders, and other ancillary features to meet increasing demand for its products,” MassDevelopment said.

The company expects to create three full-time and two-part-time jobs over the next three years.

“Massachusetts has a dynamic manufacturing sector that supports many of the world’s leading industries,” said Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao, who chairs MassDevelopment’s board of directors. “We’re thrilled to offer flexible financing to Fleet Machine, empowering them to expand their facility and contribute to job growth in our workforce.”

Fleet Machine General Manager Josh Pregent said the business employees about 18 workers. He said one reason the company has made such a significant investment in growing its capacity is to create room for future growth with new customers. An opportunity with one of its defense contractors allowed the company to expand its production with them.

“We at Fleet are proud of our partnership with MassDevelopment and our shared mission to foster high-paying jobs in Massachusetts through innovation in manufacturing and automation,” Fleet Machine Co. President Jack McGourty said in a prepared statement.

“Our commitment to providing industry-leading expertise and service is unwavering. The introduction of our new advanced machining cell marks a significant milestone, propelling our growth as a vital defense supplier,” he said. “This technology ensures we continue to deliver peerless service to our valued customers across aerospace, medical, semiconductor, robotics, and other high-tech sectors.”

McGourty thanked MassDevelopment for its ongoing support, calling it “an exceptional partner in this endeavor” with the agency’s expertise playing a crucial role in the company’s growth.

“Fleet Machine’s continued success in Gloucester demonstrates that manufacturers are growing and thriving in Massachusetts,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera, the former mayor of Lawrence. “This new equipment will help the company meet demand and continue to create high-quality manufacturing jobs, attracting global clients and stimulating the regional economy.”

The company, which Pregent said was formerly on Parker Street in Gloucester, was founded in 2010 to create a more efficient manufacturing model by fusing advanced machine tools, automation, and custom software.

“This financing means so much to our community and I am thrilled to see the investment in this local company,” Mayor Greg Verga said. “Fleet Machine Company provides meaningful employment to so many of Gloucester’s residents and this financing will enable them to continue to successfully operate in Gloucester while creating more job opportunities.”

Fleet Machine employee Luke Zwemke of Gloucester said he started working at the company as part of a coop program while attending Gloucester High School. The 2013 Gloucester High graduate said he has been with the company ever since.

“Love it,” Zwemke said of his job.

The company has worked in the past with MassDevelopment to greatly expand on its ability to supply parts for such things as aircraft engines, satellites and rockets, Pregent said.

According to MassDevelopment, in December 2021, the business used a $284,000 equipment loan, enhanced with an export guarantee, to buy four new CNC machines and associated tooling.

In June 2021, it used a $510,000 equipment loan to buy a new 5-axis multi-tasking center.

Fleet Machine bought its first 4-axis horizontal machining center in 2016 with the help of a $225,000 equipment loan from the agency that increased the financing in 2017 to support the purchase of a second machine.