Keeping any business afloat during a recession takes no small effort. But consistently increasing its worth, building on an already solid client foundation, and maintaining quality employees and their pay-scales are efforts to be admired.
Barbara Manzi, owner and President of Manzi Metals in the Airport Industrial Park, has proven time and again that she is no ordinary business woman. She has built a multi-million dollar business, with the help of her son and devoted employees, and has kept it thriving for 23 years in Hernando County.
That is quite a track record for any business, let alone a local raw metal supplier that is both minority and woman-owned.
Consider that Barbara Manzi is tiny in size, with an infectious smile and demeanor that warms up to everyone. But make no mistake. She is a viable force in a small package, leaving no detail left to chance.
Even the design of the building on Flight Path Drive, its interior and exterior décor, had a purpose. From green hued flooring that Manzi said helps impassion the sensation of making money to huge wall framings of the space shuttle Columbia to the strategic placement of office furnishings, Barbara Manzi had her hand in every detail.
"The layout is my layout," she said. "And my son did all the etching. He had great vision." Barbara Manzi originally partnered with her son when the business was opened in 1993. He has since gone on to pursue other ventures.
The structure speaks quality and professionalism. Even the offices, which were planned by Barbara Manzi, had a fundamental purpose.
Manzi Metals has inhabited three different locations, all on Flight Path Drive, before settling into their new innovative building in the early 2000s. Theirs was one of the earliest buildings constructed in the park.
It is fitting, Manzi said, because the company works with the Aerospace and Energy and the Department of Defense, supplying raw materials. Some of these materials go into top secret entities.
"We are about 100 percent quality and lean," said Manzi, who built her foundation on 100 percent quality and safety. The company's resume is crammed with high-profiled client contracts from Rolls Royce, the Department of Defense, and other prime companies within the Aerospace and Energy industries.
A deep rooted dedication to detail and a dynamic team are the main ingredients that make the Manzi Metal story such a success. Often indentified as the county's best kept secret, Manzi Metals employs some of the best in the industry.
Like Linda Hoffer, General Manager, who holds a Master's degree in Engineering and Richard Ernst, the Quality Assurance Manager, who is also a retired rocket scientist.
Ernst attended a job fair, looking for an opportunity to teach, when he met Barbara Manzi.
Hoffer and Ernst brought a level of professionalism that analyzed what had already been accomplished, what they described as "a very quality system", which is required within the Aerospace Industry.
Ernst designed a swim lane flow chart system that tracks the company's complete progress. "When we do business with companies like Rolls Royce and Boeing, they come in here and they see something they are used to," Ernst said. "They haven't only been exposed to this type of approach, but they have used it. So we can talk on a very level basis."
Manzi has developed special divisions within her company where Eric Baker is an 8-year veteran specializing in Aerospace and Energy purchasing of raw materials. Baker is a specialist working with companies such as Dresser-Rand.
Monty Caraballo is a 20 year Navy Veteran who joined Manzi four years ago. "I didn't know anything about metals," Carabello said. But his experience helped launch his position as a specialist in DOD Contracting in Aerospace.
"I specialize in all the contracting with the Department of Defense," he added. "Some of the material we sell actually goes overseas."
Carabello's connections to the military make his efforts multi-faceted. "It's very important to me because I've been on both sides," he said. The materials have to be right. "It's important because it's going to our troops."
Both gentlemen are certified Quality Assurance inspectors.
The entire team acts as a support system for each other, grounding Manzi's amazing success with quality performance in their individual fields. Dottie White, the newest sales representative, completes the sales floor. Angie Chancalay is the Accounting Manager. And Donna Cline recently came on board as Barbara Manzi's personal assistant.
The Manzi Metals success story has been documented in many publications, spotlighting a strong-willed, multi-talented and detail-driven leader. And while Barbara Manzi is well aware of her dynamic contributions to its phenomenal success, she is quick to acknowledge it is a team effort.
A combination, she said, of many factors working toward an unprecedented commitment to quality and safety, the company's fundamental promise. In fact, Rolls Royce recently signed a five year contract with Manzi Metals, prompted by the degree of trust they have maintained throughout their lengthy relationship.
Barbara Manzi sees a positive future.
"I would say to the entrepreneurs out there that the future looks bright. Concentrate on quality, competitive pricing and service to your customers," Manzi said. "The recession is over. We need to band together and help our employees out the best we can."
In the end, it is the quality of the team, and the track record of the entity, that together defines success.
Name: Manzi Metals
Address: 15293 Flight path Drive, Brooksville
Telephone: (352) 799-8211