Lesleh Precision grows in new Rostraver home
Ron Helsel found himself in an enviable position for a small businessman.
Despite expanding his plant in Lower Speers, the 17,000-square-foot facility was simply too small.
“We couldn't move in there,” recalled the president of Lesleh Precision Inc., speaking while seated in his new expansive facility in the Rostraver Airport Industrial Park.
“We had so many people in there, we couldn't move,” he explained.
“We basically outgrew it.”
Helsel actually was looking at another site when he learned that the former Ebara Solar building in Rostraver Township was available.
Utilizing a Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority low-interest loan, which funded about 40 percent of the purchase price, Lesleh Precision purchased the building from Val Vista, a division of General Industries.
In the final three months of 2013, Lesleh Precision prepared to make the move, which
took place in stages to ensure production did not slow down.
Helsel's company produces components for Henry Rifles.
“Henry said, ‘It's great that you're expanding, we need the product. But please don't slow down (production),'” said Helsel, who co-owns the company with his wife, Denise.
Ron Helsel got his start in the machining business shortly after graduating from Elizabeth Forward High School in 1978.
He first went into business in 1989, operating California Precision. That company was located near the former Intermediate Unit One offices in California, Pa.
California Precision did general machining and military contracts as well as producing components for firms such as General Industries and Alstom.
“If you wanted 100 of a certain component, we made it,” Helsel said.
In 1999, Helsel went out on his own, forming Lesleh Precision Inc.
The company's name is his surname spelled backward.
The biggest break for Lesleh Precision came in 2006, when the company was approached by Henry Rifles about producing components for certain rifles.
“It grew from 5 percent of our business to 95 percent of our business,” Helsel said.
His firm produces receiver and trigger plates used in various Henry rifles.
In 2011, Lesleh Precision began production on components for a replica of the 1860 Henry repeater.
The original Henry repeater was infamously cursed by Confederates as the rifle that permitted Union soldiers to “load on Sunday and fire all week.”
Lesleh produces all of the components except the wood for the rifle.
“After three years of hard work, we're in the Henry catalog,” Helsel said.
Currently, the company produces roughly 1,300 receivers annually with a goal of 2,000.
There are 38 employees working at the Rostraver Township facility and the company is growing and still hiring, Helsel said.
“We're the only one who produces this for Henry,” Helsel said.
“Their sales are increasing and we have had to grow, too.
“We're working to put out as many as possible.”
Helsel credited his work crew for the company's growth and success.
“These guys make it happen,” Helsel said. “I just steer the ship.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cal U cheerleading squad captures national title
- Italian American Sports Hall of Fame honors Mid-Mon Valley trio
- Ringgold goal to foster excellence
- Lawmaker eyes Charleroi street woes
- Alleged Bunola shooter out of hospital
- Top students named at California Area High School
- Holiday weekend memories abound for 1965 enthusiast
- Charleroi man charged in fatal crash to stand trial
- ‘Misfits’ shoot video for tour in Monessen
- Cal U professor recalls talks with a Hitler henchman
- Former Ringgold guidance counselor facing sex charges