Pascal Seradarian, CEO of one of Trenton’s most successful manufacturing companies, Hutchinson Industries, has announced that he will retire at the end of this year. Seradarian will step down after nearly 28 years at the helm of the company, which makes run-flat wheels and tires for military, security, and industrial buyers.
Hutchinson employs nearly 400 in Trenton, has seven operating facilities in Trenton alone (and also in Buffalo, New York, and in Europe), and frequently is held up as a paragon of Trenton’s industrial heritage. It also has been championed by the city’s revitalization proponents. The company also is credited with maintaining a high-caliber engineering staff and providing numerous jobs for nearby residents.
All seven of Hutchinson’s sites in Trenton are former derelict properties that have been brought back to life as modern manufacturing facilities. Its operations — making runflats, or tires that keep rolling after losing their air — consume 300,000 square feet of the historic Roebling industrial complex along Route 129 and two years ago, the company expanded into a 90,000-square-foot warehouse that once was the city bus terminal at 1132 East State Street. Hutchinson’s contracts with military, security, emergency, and transportation clients generate millions of dollars a year (U.S. 1, August 27, 2008).
All of Hutchinson’s buildings are leased, not bought. It is a basic strategy for the company, Seradarian says — “put the money into the machines.” The strategy is what Seradarian says has allowed Hutchinson to grow organically — rather than expanding and buying buildings until the weight of its debts caused the business to implode, Seradarian opted to renovate and lease. It is, he says, good for business, good for the environment, and good for the community.
Ten percent of Hutchinson’s revenue is spent on research and development and most of the remainder is spent on day-to-day operations. Worldwide, the company employs 26,000 workers in 27 countries including France, where it is headquartered.
If Hutchinson’s scale today is large, its origins were much more humble. The company was founded in 1853 by an Englishman who settled in France. But though Hutchinson grew across Europe it did not come to the United States for nearly 130 years. In 1980 Seradarian, an Armenian who earned his engineering degree in France and who had been working for Hutchinson there, was asked to come to New York to work on the company’s newest idea — keeping tires running with zero air pressure. Seradarian was supposed to stay for two years, but the idea worked extremely well. Almost three decades later, the West Windsor resident will step down at the end of December.
There is no word on his successor.
Hutchinson Industries, 460 Southard Street, Trenton 08638; 609-394-1010; fax, 609-394-2031. Pascal Seradarian, president. www.hutchinsoninc.com.