Francy cousins get into heavy metal
SALEM, Feb 10, 2013 (Menafn - The Hawk Eye - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Matt Francy and Phillip Francy are cousins who act like friendly brothers. They have followed similar twin paths, which has led them to start a business together called Francy Precision.
The duo, one year apart in age, grew up a mile apart on farms in rural Salem. Both graduated from Mount Pleasant High School, Phillip in 2001 and Matt in 2002. Each went on to Kirkwood Community College and attained an associate's degree in CNC (computer numerically controlled) Machine Technology, again Phillip one year ahead of Matt, 2003 compared to 2004.
"The first year it was all manual machining," Matt said of the school work at Kirkwood Community College. "The second year it was all computers."
Both Francys are working full-time jobs related to the field they studied. Phillip has done fabrication work at Flint Cliffs Manufacturing in Burlington since 2006. Flint Cliffs makes agriculture products as well as items for the military and other industries.
Matt works for Jim's Instrument Manufacturing Inc. in Iowa City. The small firm makes medical equipment such as cell research equipment and spot radiation testing devices used on cancer patients. Of late, Jim's Instrument Manufacturing has gotten into industrial repair -- maintaining assembly lines for manufacturers.
"We've been thinking about it for four or five years," Matt said of the cousins starting their own metal fabrication business.
The Francy cousins looked at a lot of possible locations in Burlington, Mount Pleasant and elsewhere, but chose a large shed at 307 S. Jefferson St. in Salem.
"We'd rather be near our home," Matt said.
The shed, used by the owner to store his vintage Corvette and other motorized toys, became the first home of Francy Precision in October 2012. However, the cousins' first job came in August 2012 and was completed in a shed owned by Phillip's father.
At the moment, Francy Precision is working on a government job, which involves notching out specific sections of short lengths of T-angle iron. Most of the work is done on a lathe and several milling machines. A computer program can be created in about 15 to 20 minutes to determine how a piece will be fabricated on a milling machine.
Francy Precision has both two-axis and a three-axis milling machines. The three-axis milling machine can work on a specific piece in three dimensions and thus require less handling by the operator.
The cousins entered the idea of their business into the 2012 Henry County Business Plan Competition. Francy Precision took the first-place award of 3,000.
"We bought a bunch of tools for the lathe," Matt said of the first-place money.
Francy Precision isn't limited to metal work as the company can fabricate pieces out of plastic as well. Matt and Phillip don't consider any project too big either.
A lot of the fabrication work done by the company will be of designs provided by their customers. But Francy Precision also is capable of doing design work. The company can create a new part once it is given suggestions by the customer of what they want.
"We both know some contacts," Matt said.
"Matt is the salesman," Phillip said.
The game plan is for Matt to make Francy Precision his full-time job within a year.
With a heavy manufacturing base in southeast Iowa, the Francys aim to knock on a lot of doors in the territory. Their focus may go as far north as Iowa City or Cedar Rapids.
For now, they are working their full-time jobs in Iowa City and Burlington, and spending their evenings and weekends at Francy Precision.
Matt and Phillip maintain a connection to their family farms and a healthy friendship.
As to what kind of boys they were when they grew up, Phillip responded, "We were little angels," with a wry grin.
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