The Very Beginning
When it was time for layoffs at the company, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He decided to go have a talk with human resources. “I told them I lost faith in management,” Mr. Kirchner said. Layoffs weren’t out of the ordinary, as the industry typically sees highs and lows on a seven-year cycle, but this time it was different. As a marketing boss of several people he’d grown close to, it was hard to see them go and he would not name people to leave. That next day, he was called into the office and let go. Cella Kirchner said “First of all, I was more afraid when he came home and said that he was ‘let go'. That meant more than starting a company.” Fear is a powerful force to incite change. For Cella Kirchner, that fear existed from the beginning, but her husband had a vision for the future and was determined to reach it.
It was a turning point for Mr.Kirchner but he was ready. For the past few months he started to work on a business plan. His wife was going to help with the financial side of the company. It was nerve racking, but the Kirchners had interest from some of the customers he had helped at his previous place of employment. The partnership would be the start of a long and prosperous business.
Mr. Kirchner wasn’t a typical business owner either, due to the fact that he was doing a lot of the work on some of the orders. Performing well on the sales side, but also making the routing sheets, purchasing materials for projects and having the material tested. His favorite projects over the years involved the use of Nitronic 60. He’s not the type to sit in the office, instead opting to get his hands dirty. He attributes this to his desire to solve problems.
Over time, an interesting problem came to the table. The company was beginning to see it’s fair share of work and received multiple offers to be bought out. However, the Kirchners wanted to instead keep the business in the family. Russ and Cella Kirchner have three sons, in which they wanted to pass the company down.
2010 and beyond
The boys look forward to seeing the company grow and how to take the company to into larger growth in the next ten years. The ideas to expand the growth of the company include acquiring more machines and becoming more efficient through the use of technology. High Performance Alloys has been in business for 30+ years now, since its humble beginnings in 1984. The future is no longer in Russ and Cella’s hands, but instead the three sons. It’s an exciting future where enormous growth is possible.
HPAs' metals are currently being used all over the world as well as in space. Projects like the Brooklyn Bridge restoration and the metals for the Hoover Dam are just to name a few. HPA has metals on several Mars rovers as well as the International Space Station. Despite the small roots, High Performance Alloys has been involved with large scale projects.