Mattessich Ironworks; Service-disabled, veteran-owned business, and proud member of the last great industrial trade

By: Martha Conway

Mattessich Iron, LLC, a New York state-certified service-disabled, veteran-owned business (SDVOB), was founded in 2008 by now 39-year-old Michael Mattessich.

Mattessich said his love of metal work developed from 

working on old muscle cars and motorcycles with his father. In 2018, Mattessich Iron was named Central New York’s third-largest service-disabled veteran-owned business by the CNY Business Journal.

Born and raised in Baldwinsville, Mattessich graduated Baker High School and enrolled in the United States Military Academy at West Point. After graduation, his military assignments took him to Missouri and Georgia.

He spent downtime sharpening the skills he learned while working with dad. He started with Harley Davidson frames and components and moved to welding and machining for local motorcycle dealers, restaurant kitchen maintenance, construction equipment repairs and service calls to Fort Benning when contractors needed steel.

After serving two tours of duty in Iraq, leaving his military service with the rank of captain and an injured hip, Mattessich took his combined education, construction experience and love of metal-working back to 


in April 2008. He founded Mattessich Iron, LLC, now located at 1484 Route 31, Memphis.

Mattessich started out with a 4,000-square-foot fabrication shop. He upgraded equipment 

and vehicles and started hiring well-versed welder/fabricators. The first projects were ornamental repairs, some mechanical repairs and equipment repairs.

“A lot of repair work and some construction,” Mattessich said. “It was daunting but also exciting and refreshing after leaving the military.”

He started out on his own.

“I added two people the first year, and two more after two years,” Mattessich said. “Once I gained a few employees, I used the Syracuse Builders Exchange to find public bid opportunities. I phased out repair work and equipment modification, leading me to the commercial and industrial fields where I wanted to be.”

Mattessich employs a full-time mechanic, multiple field crews and runs a night shift during the busiest times. Critical to the smooth operation of the business and project rollout is his management team including himself, wife and vice president Danielle Mattessich and Operations Manager Kelly Ormsby, an Army veteran.

“He’s a 40-year steel man, and I had an inclination he could fill our newly created operations manager role,” he said.

Danielle graduated from State University of New York Environmental Science and Forestry with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2011.

“After graduation, I was hired by a local company as a project manager/environmental scientist, where I specialized in groundwater remediation clean-ups,” Danielle said. “While at the environmental company, I also worked on meth lab clean-ups for the NSYDEC and train derailments for CSX. As much as I enjoyed the field, I decided to make the move to Mattessich Iron in 2013.”

She said the creation and follow-through of company systems and policies are major focus areas for her.

“These have ranged from human resource policies and contract administration to operational policies such as inventory tracking and product shipment,” she said, adding that when she joined Mattessich Iron, Mike was finding the work, estimating, managing each project and recruiting the talent. “At first, our priority was to use my accounting and project management background to set up systems and start developing answers to the ‘how-to’ questions to streamline processes.

“Today, I play defense in operations by maintaining efficiency and tracking costs. I also create the company’s annual budgets and manage monthly finances.”

“Danielle brought a heightened level of planning and organization to the business,” Mattessich said. “Her professional background in environmental contracting has improved the company’s efficiency in legal considerations, human and business resources, manpower and financial matters.”

Ormsby said he started his career at Solvay Iron.

“I started as a second-shift foreman in the fabrication shop and worked my way up to president of the company,” Ormsby said.” I have done it all – from sweeping the floors to signing the checks – and I believe that no job is more important than the other: They all must work in harmony.

“I was a shop supervisor, field supervisor, director of operations, vice president and president. In 2004, I started Ormsby Iron Works, Inc., and ran my company until the economy fell in 2009. I closed the company in 2010, went back to Solvay Iron until it closed in 2013, then started Ormsby Iron, LLC, and ran that until I had a stroke in 2016. After recovering, I came to Mattessich in March 2019.

“I have multiple welding certifications, I have a CDL tractor-trailer and crane operator license.”

Ormsby is the operations manager and chief estimator.

“I put together 90 percent of all projects we quote,” he said. “I also hire out-source detailers, process shop and field drawings and schedule shop production. I perform project management until the job hits the field. Mike Mattessich takes it from there. He takes care of all field meetings, field measuring and field troubleshooting.

“Mike and Danielle Mattessich are the most honest and willing people I’ve ever worked with,” Ormsby said. “They are the first to accept fault and reason for every issue the company faces and work through the problem with the source. Their willingness to listen to their employees, take all the information and make the best decision for the company tells me Mattessich Iron will be around for years to come.

“With the path Mattessich Iron is on, I see the company being the go-to fabricator-erector in Central New York, taking the lion’s share of the market for this area for structural and miscellaneous steel.”

Mattessich said Ken Millward, maintenance mechanic, keeps the vehicles, trucks, lift assets and machinery in good working order, and performs periodic maintenance on shop machinery.

“He also makes site visits to fix equipment in the field,” Mattessich said.

Mattessich said things may be humming now, but in the beginning, it took many bids to start landing jobs and building relationships with general contractors.

“In 2017, we moved to our new facility, complete with two floors of newly built offices, inventory and break room space,” Mattessich said. “The original offices and plant floor were too crowded, and the existing property didn’t allow for expansion.”

He said the new shop floor expanded from 4,000 square feet to 14,000 square feet, providing more workspace and room for machinery to help keep up with the growing number of projects.

“We added a maintenance department, in-house estimator, in-house drafters with 3D capability and increased our project manager positions to offer greater efficiency, capability and quality for our customers,” he said.

He credits his top-notch staff; how does he find them?

“Generally, I interview everyone,” Mattessich said. “Our employees are the most important facet of the business. Talent is good, but I think attitude is more important than talent. You can train anyone to bolt, weld or run a forklift, but you can’t train attitude. I look for positive, team-oriented people who have a good work ethic.

“I’m also proud to employ a number of veterans,” Mattessich said. “Our employees are the backbone of the business.”

Mattessich said the military taught him not to ask subordinates to do anything he wouldn’t do himself.

“I work hard to make sure employees don’t feel out of place with something we ask of them,” he said. “Our people are our most important resource. We can rent or buy anything we need, but not our staff. They are running the machines and equipment. They are making the business a success.”

Mattessich said he tries to talk to every employee at least once every week in the field, shop, and office.

“It’s really important to me that our team members get the attention they deserve and our appreciation for what they are doing for our group,” he said. “I ask them in the field and in the plant if there is anything, any equipment, that will help them do a better job. Do they need anything more to work better in the field, fabricate better, improve quality control?

“I talk with our mechanic to find out what’s giving him problems and get those things replaced. I try to get out and help with installs during our busiest months. It helps maintain team cohesiveness.”

Mattessich said shop fabricators receive the steel from the mill and cut, drill, bend, weld, polish or paint the material following shop drawings and construction prints.

Mattessich Iron provides complete design and fabrication of all ferrous and non-ferrous metals, offering in-house design, fabrication, finishing, delivery, and installation of all work, performing private and public work in all but the most remote corners of New York state.

Mattessich is well-versed in structural steel and miscellaneous metals fabrication, including – but not limited to – beams, columns, decking, ladders, stairs, handrails, bollards, mezzanines, catwalks, and general weld repairs, more specifically:

  • Designing: AutoCAD 2-dimension, Advanced Revit 3-dimension, delegated design review, stamped engineer review and AISC standard connections and calculations
  • Metal Joining: GMAW (MIG), GTAW (TIG), SMAW (ARC), brazing and soldering
  • Reducing: Plasma cutting and oxy-fuel cutting up to 1-1/4” thick, bandsaw cutting up to 18” x 22”, shearing up to 3/8” thick by 12 feet long, 110-ton hole punching up to 1-1/4” thick
  • Shaping: Metal turning, 300-ton press brake forming up to ¾” thick on a 12-foot bed, threading, tube and pipe bending and notching
  • Finishing: Timesaver drum polishing up to 36” wide; painting, powder coating; galvanizing and anodizing

“Field crews receive the end product and maneuver it to the work area and use forklifts, cranes, material lifts, chainfalls, winches and other rigging devices to erect each item,” he said. “They assemble pieces according to erection drawings and contract plans.”

He said a typical job runs from $2,000 to $2 million.

Looking forward, Mattessich is considering automating beam and column work by adding CNC machines and possibly having to expand the plant and office space and increase field crew members.

“I think operations could still use improvement,” Mattessich said. “Now that we have quality heightened and procedures established, we have the luxury of focusing on streamlining and automating.”

Mattessich said the project of which he is proudest is Batavia Downs Casino.

“We did a spiral staircase with a structural circular cutout and-two-sided picket rails around the opening” he said. “It was a product of my own design, detailing, layout and eventually installation, and the result was that it all went together almost perfectly.”

He also is proud to be part of bringing to life a national-level facility: National Veterans Resource Center in Syracuse.

“It makes me proud as a veteran to have bid and executed a project that is for veterans, military personnel and those training to join the military,” Mattessich said.

He said another proud moment was completion of Mattessich’s part of the work in building LeMoyne College’s stadium.

“We did that during one of the first years in business,” he said. “I felt like I was in over my head, but I was working with a general contractor I was comfortable enough with to join the project. We worked great together.”

Mattessich said he has been lucky; the pandemic has not affected his company’s supply or workload.

“We chose to shut down operations for several weeks until the state could provide us with guidance,” he said. “I wanted to keep our employees safe. I am skeptical about budget impacts on projects a year or two out; schools, prisons, government buildings, colleges, apartment complexes and most other commercial and industrial entities will likely maintain reduced mid-term budgets.”

Mattessich said though he is a hands-on supervisor, his responsibilities have shifted greatly since his boots hit the ground 12 years ago.

“We started with keeping our heads above water and then moved toward more long-term planning,” he said, adding that he’d like to expand Mattessich’s presence in the North Country and Southern Tier regions, paying close attention to bid invitations from qualified general contractors there and developing competitive quotes.

“I want to exit my career having built a national-level fabricating business,” Mattessich said when asked about what legacy he wants to leave. “I want to have a positive impact on the central New York community. I thought success would mean after 10 years or so, I would have five employees and be fortunate enough to be able to pay the bills.”

Twelve years out, Mattessich Iron employs 30 to 40 people throughout the year and is on track to do $7 million in sales this year.

“We are a service-disabled, veteran-owned business seeking invitations to bid from qualified general contractors, designers and owners in order to establish a successful working relationship with superior service,” he said, adding that in 10 years, he would like to capture 20 percent market share for steel fabrication in central New York and the surrounding regions.

For more information, contact Mattessich Iron at 315.638.1419 or visit

Like Father, Like Daughter; Steel Sales, Inc., a Second-Generation Company, Builds on Customer Trust

By: Tami Scott

When Brenda Westcott was a young girl, she was engaged in her father’s business — but only after hours. And only for recreational purposes. Once the doors were closed for the day, she’d enjoy the space as her very own indoor skate park. Aside from her time zipping around the facility on four wheels, her interest was nil. Little did she know that as an adult, her father’s business would become her passion, her purpose, and eventually her own — just as it was her dad’s during his prime.

Entrepreneur Donald Westcott founded Westcott Steel Co., now a second-generation steel fabrication company, almost 50 years ago in Sherburne, NY, where it still produces today. His daughter joined him in 1988.

“After I graduated high school and I was not ready to go to college, my father insisted I come work with him,” she said. “This was the best decision I have ever made.”

Just nine people (including Westcott) comprised the business then; she was charged with accounting. 

“The first task I tackled was to computerize all bookkeeping, 

Steel Sales

sales, and inventory processes in the business,” she said.

From there, Westcott focused on expanding her knowledge and hands-on experience about steel products, welding procedures, and job estimation within the company.

“It was challenging being a woman in a man’s world at the time, but as I continued to learn, our customers came to respect my knowledge regardless of my gender.”

Over the years, the Westcott family business evolved from being a manufacturer of metal products such as wood stoves and garbage dumpsters to the fabrication and erection of grandstand/bleachers and metal buildings throughout New York, Pennsylvania, and other northeastern states.

In 1991, the company began stocking steel, stainless, and aluminum products to distribute to its wide and varied customer base of contractors, agri-businesses, maintenance departments, municipalities, aggregate industries, other welder/fabricators, and the general public.

Two years later, the father/daughter duo developed a succession plan for Donald’s retirement and for Brenda’s desire to continue the family tradition of working with steel but not managing field erection crews. Hence, the creation of Steel Sales, Inc., designed to focus strictly on distribution and custom fabrication of metal in-house only.

“From the inception of Steel Sales, Inc., it was known between my father and me [that] the business would become fully owned and operated by me within 10 years,” Westcott said. “By January 2001, my father had stopped all daily involvement in Steel Sales; his focus and desire were solely on his lease/build company.”

Operating as a WBE/DBE Company

A year after acquiring Steel Sales, Inc., in 2002, the New York State Department of Economic Development granted Steel Sales, Inc. certification as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE). In 2015, the New York State Department of Transportation certified the business as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE).

Before, during, and since these designations, Westcott has grown the business and made significant changes. She has expanded the product line to include more than two million pounds of steel, stainless, and aluminum in a variety of structural shapes, pipe/tube, sheets, and plates in stock.

Its fleet of trucks and outside sales team serves 18 surrounding counties. Its estimating team, in addition to its inside sales team, provides takeoff services for larger jobs and in-house AutoCAD and SolidWorks shop approval drawings.

The company has a little more than doubled in size, from employing just 14 people in 2001 to a current number of 30. Its gross sales have quadrupled in the last 10 years.

Though Donald has long since retired, his daughter, mindful of the insight he gained and shared, implemented his savvy business spirit.

“My father taught me to work hard, always keep a “never give up” attitude, and be willing to change based on the needs of the customers you serve,” Westcott said. “I believe our reason for success and what sets us apart from our competition is staying focused on customer service. Our experienced, hardworking team makes this their No. 1 priority every day regardless of the size of the customer.”

Services Abound

Due to the company’s diversified customer base, it offers a unique combination of fabrication abilities and quality products. Specifically, it’s equipped to shear ½” x 12’ mild steel, saw up to 18” x 20”, roll ½” x 8’ mild steel, and bend ½” x 12’ mild steel. It also offers a variety of punching, drilling, milling, and welding services — by certified welders — of all metals, along with pipe threading for ½” to 4” pipe and rebar bending from ⅜” up to 1 ½” diameter. The company also has a High Definition CNC plasma table 8’ x 24’ with the latest True Hole technology.

Customers can also count on Steel Sales, Inc as an authorized Wearparts center for Hardox, a premium wear plate; a distributor of ADS/Hancor™ plastic culvert pipe, drainage pipe, sewer pipe, stabilization fabric, and septic changers; CONTECH™ metal culvert pipe, multi-plate pipe arches, and aluminum box culvert; and TENCO™ plow parts. It also offers metal roofing/siding from ABC™ with a large choice of colors and grades, cut to an exact, customized length.

In 2010, it introduced a product line including sander chains, tire chains, snowplow blades, snow plow wear parts, and construction edges. The sander chains are fabricated at the Sherburne facility with one-week maximum lead times.

Its Mission is Simple

Westcott describes the Steel Sales, Inc. mission as simple: “Build and Maintain Long-Term Relationships with Our Customers.” This is achieved through trained, motivated, and friendly staff members who are dedicated to serving the company’s entire customer base.

“Every day is a challenge and no two days are the same, which is what I enjoy,” she said. “I intend to continue our constant improvements and continue to answer our customers’ needs with my outstanding team, which is my family, not just employees, for many years to come. We are all passionate about serving those who keep us going.”

Building Plan or Building a Career; Donna Tupper, Infinity Northeast, Inc. wants the younger generation to consider construction as a career.

By: Molly English-Bowers

It may surprise some that the “construction worker” ranks third on’s projection of in-demand jobs for the next five years. But not Donna Tupper. The President and Owner of Infinity Northeast Inc. wants to spread the word that construction is a rewarding career.

“It’s a great industry,” Tupper said. Our conversation took place while Tupper was driving to Syracuse from North Carolina where Infinity Northeast is commencing development projects. “There’s a lot of opportunity in construction and the younger generations may not know this.”

With 36 years of experience in the industry, Tupper is making it her mission to inform young men and women about those opportunities. “My goal is to reach all younger generations, not gender- or ethnic-specific.” She has spoken at groups including Small Business Administration Women in Construction, New 

England Regional Council of Carpenters, and Girls World Expo.

The latter is a 21-year-old national program that aims to connect girls to resources and partners in their communities to help them realize their potential. Syracuse has been a host to the organization in 2018 and 2019 and Tupper spoke, hoping to inform and educate those in attendance. “The girls come to look at opportunities that are available,” she said. “If you have no idea about construction, how would you know the opportunities that are out there? We try to explain what is out there and the vast avenues for girls to become involved in the construction industry.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 68 percent of high school students attend college, but 40 percent of those do not graduate, leaving a lot of time wasted and money owed. In addition, 37 percent of currently employed college grads are doing work for which only a high school diploma is required. It is that population Tupper wants to reach.

“Kids don’t know that construction opportunities really exist,” she said. “It’s as strong as the medical industry. The demand for medical facilities and housing is not going to diminish, regardless of politics. For those who find themselves unemployed during this difficult time, if you put in a little hard work, you will be financially stable with a solid career. Have no fear and take a chance in construction.”

Locally, trades are primarily taught at BOCES. Trade schools teach hands-on skills for specific careers, such as welding, auto mechanics, plumbing and carpentry. Among the benefits of a trade school education is the reduced time it takes to graduate, more affordable tuition costs, smaller class sizes, hands-on training, and job placement services.

Career Change

Even though Tupper’s degree is in science, she took a chance on a new career after the birth of her first daughter. With limited options for childcare and a husband that often worked out of town, she considered her options.

“I quit my job and went into housing management for real estate companies,” she said. She began cleaning houses that had been vacated by traveling executives while they worked in Central New York. “The properties were vacant, and I could bring my daughter with me while I worked,” she said.

Real estate companies began asking Tupper if she could do more than clean; she started out painting, then flooring, doors, and woodwork. “I had an all-girl crew and we worked afternoons and evenings. That was 36 years ago,” she said. “It was gradual, and I had a lot of challenges with men. I was blonde and 22 when I started, and they thought I was naïve and inexperienced. Now, after years of hard work, I do not have to prove myself to anyone, and I do not take every project that I am offered. I work with a number of clients that believe in the professionalism and respect of the industry.”

Tupper is the president and sole owner of Infinity Northeast, incorporated in 2008. She is a member of the Syracuse Building Exchange and a signatory to Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters Local 277. Infinity Northeast Inc. is also a New York State and Tennessee Certified WBE (Women-owned Business Enterprise). The main office is located at 6090 E. Taft Road, North Syracuse, with satellite offices in Murfreesboro, TN., Naples, FL., Orlando, FL., and on Thompson Road in Syracuse.

The office in Tennessee has made it possible for Tupper’s oldest daughter, Jessica T. Graham, to work for her mother as Senior Project Manager. She is educated in law and previously worked for the state of Tennessee. “She left her job and has been working with me for a number of years,” Tupper said. Tupper’s middle daughter, Stephanie K. Baker, is the Director of Human Resources and Union Benefits. She is educated in mental health and, also left her career to work with her mother. 

It is vital to Tupper the employees and subcontractors of Infinity Northeast, are members of trade unions, such as Carpenters Local 277. For that reason, if she were to take on an apprentice, he or she would need to join the union. “I would have no problem having them learn in-house.” The in-house trade work includes architectural, mill work and finish carpentry. Tupper hires subcontractors for other trade work when contracted as a general contractor.

After working in the field for nearly four decades, Tupper has discovered what she enjoys building. “I like repetitive work—casinos, high-end hotels, military barracks,” she said.

Among Infinity Northeast’s projects are: SUNY Upstate Health and Wellness Center, Syracuse, NY; Athenex Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Dunkirk, NY; Resorts World Catskills, Monticello, NY; Del Lago Resort, Tyre, NY; and Seneca Nation Cultural Center, Salamanca, NY. Infinity also did the rigging and set-up for Woodstock ’94, located in Saugerties, NY.

She has also ventured into the latest in upscale family fun, “multi-tainment” centers containing bars, restaurants, movie theaters, high-end bowling alleys, laser tag and the like. “Ten years ago I did a research study for the Oneida Nation that found that if there is a gambler in the family, if you want them to come and stay at the resort, you need something for the other individuals in the family.” Tupper is associated with the development of UltraStar Multi-tainment and pursuing an interest in IRL Companies, which purchases distressed shopping malls throughout the United States to renovate and re-create their usage.

One reason Tupper was driving back from North Carolina was she had checked in on UltraStar, multi-tainment facilities in Cherokee and Murphy, both in the western mountains of the state. “I am pursuing the owner of Resorts World Catskills to put in a multi-tainment center. It’s close enough to New York City to attract customers and it would eliminate or reduce children being in areas of a casino where they shouldn’t be.”

Tupper is in the process of purchasing land in North Carolina to construct single-level, high-end housing for ages 55-and older. “These homes are for people who are looking to buy a single-level structure with a couple of bedrooms and no maintenance, in a gated community” she said. “I have decided I am done with Central New York weather and my work can be performed anywhere.”

Then there is the medical field, for which construction work will always be in demand. “I am in the planning stages of owning and developing a medical center in Naples, FL. Owner-Development is the highest level you can go in the building construction industry.”  Given Tupper’s track record, she will succeed. “I never sit still.”

But she is also looking toward the future when she will retire and hand over the company to her daughters. “I’m 58 years old,” she said. “If my daughters allow it, I will drop dead working, because this is what I love to do. I love the industry, but I needed something more for future stability. My plan is to find property, develop projects and own them. That’s how I’m going to survive. I don’t want my children to worry about the future and having to support me or the stability of the company.”

At the same time, Tupper realizes the next generation needs to be exposed to construction as a career, especially as professionals near retirement age. “Most of my crew is over the age of 40,” she said. “I love my industry and I have huge passion for it. I don’t want to market my company; I want to market my story so maybe other people and younger generations will consider getting into the business. Anybody can start a company, you must work hard, stay focused and if it’s something you enjoy, it’s not like work. The money will just come.”

“Always remember, Be Honest, Be Kind and Live Life with Integrity.”