From WWII to the moon, Long Island historically is the home of dozens of military contractors like Fairchild Republic and Grumman. Today that tradition still exists.
Dan Shybunko has been manufacturing parts for the United States Military for nearly half a century. The CEO of GSE Dynamics says the industry has changed a lot in that time.
The company manufactures out of two facilities in Hauppauge and employs 64 people. The company averaged $15 million to $20 million in sales annually. The passion for running a small business runs in the family. Dan's daughter, Anne Shybunko-Moore, is president and owner of the company.
Many of the aircraft parts for the Air Force and Navy start as blocks of metal. Machines intricately cut the parts. From start to finish it takes about three hours.
Shybunko-Moore said defense contractors have to believe in what they are doing, support the war fighter, and do the right thing for the United States. It is also about a sense of pride manufacturing on Long Island. She said the company is making a push to hire young people who have the skills needed.
Bryan Weixler served in the Marine Corps. He represents the next generation. He said it feels good to be a part of the aviation industry of Long Island. His job as an aircraft structural mechanic has allowed him to continue living on Long Island.
Christopher Henke Jr. is trying to do the same thing. The 27-year-old junior buyer is still living at home but he is saving money to move out soon.
Samuel Rodriguez has been with GSE for 27 years. The workplace vet stresses the importance of teaching youngsters like Bryan and Christopher.
CEO Dan Shybunko agrees. The 83-year-old said the word "retirement" isn't in his vocabulary. He loves that parts made here on Long Island are flying on the world's greatest planes.