By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Astro Shapes, the aluminum-extruding company that is the city’s largest employer, has entered into a joint-partnership agreement with the Illinois-based National Material LP.
According to the announcement from Astro Shapes LLC dated Jan. 2, National Material is a “multinational industrial holding company” that “operates primarily as a full-service, valued-added metals processor and distributor.” It specializes in steel, aluminum extrusions and high-performance alloys, and also has holdings in raw- materials distribution and manufacturing.
The announcement states that Astro Shapes “will continue to operate in its current configuration and management structure,” which includes Paul Cene, a son of founder Bob Cene Sr., remaining in his role as president.
Astro Shapes, which opened in 1971, employs more than 400 in its more than 300,000-square-foot facility on 7 acres at 65 Main St. in the city’s downtown.
With National Material’s resources, Astro Shapes will “continue to improve its customer service and manufacturing expertise,” as well as “offer access to a broader array of aluminum extrusions and other metal products,” according to the announcement.
Paul Cene, by way of the announcement, referred to the partnership as a “wonderful step for Astro’s employees and customers.”
“We believe that National Material’s influence will strongly enhance Astro’s strength in the Midwest and Northeast,” Cene stated, “and we are very pleased to be partnering with them.”
Likewise, Michael Tang, the CEO of National Material, was quoted in the announcement as being “excited about the opportunity to partner with Astro Shapes” and in favor of the company’s “dedication to customer service, quality and employee relations.”
Mayor Terry Stocker said he hopes National Material’s relationship with Astro Shapes, and with the city of Struthers, is a lengthy one, because of the company’s impact on the city’s tax base. “I’m hoping this is a positive, long-term agreement because of how critical Astro Shapes is to the city,” he said.
According to its website, Astro Shapes manufactures residential-grade extrusions for the building and construction markets and also provides aluminum extrusions for commercial, heavy commercial and architectural-grade products.