Brand RI Second Quarter 2014 : Page 1

Design pilgrim screw Feature will work For FooD Formally introduced katrina Diel For more information on Pilgrim Screw, visit tough as nails “These kinds of machines, if you take care of them, last for generations,” says Pilgrim Screw CEO and President, Geoffrey Grove, over the generator-like din resonating through the factory. The machines, many of which are forty or fifty years old, are cutting and threading screws — lots and lots of them. The machines may not have changed much, but the applications for Pilgrim’s products have. In the ’30s, Grove’s grandfather, Frederick T. Sahakian, was manufacturing jewelry components in the basement of his East Providence home. As the ’40s neared, he began making his own screws for that jewelry, and, during the war, he made them for Uncle Sam. Although Pilgrim has since manufactured screws for Bulova watches and Lionel trains, Grove says 98 percent of its business is tied to the aerospace and defense industries — think Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed-Martin and the Mars rover, to name a few. In 1996, the company patented PiLok: a fastening system used on exterior panels of Sikorsky S-92 helicopters. In 2008 Pilgrim invested a million dollars in its Sprague Street factory to add a new room and fill it with more machines. “Then 2009 came,” says Grove of the year Cessna reduced its workforce by half. Boeing and Air-bus slowed down, too, he says. Pilgrim felt the blow but, by initiating a WorkShare program, it was able to keep all thirty-two of its Rhode Island employees. The average tenure here is thirty years, says Grove, adding, “We’re just now hiring the next generation.” — Jennifer Steffy Swanson Michael Cevoli BRAND RI l SECOND QUARTER 2014 101

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