35 Years and a New Beginning

Aviva Metals
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Small and major players in the oil and gas, automotive, aerospace, power distribution, marine and naval sectors turn to Aviva Metals, a master distributor with an expansive inventory and impressive in-house capabilities, when there is a need for copper based alloys, bronzes, brasses, coppers or other specialty alloys.
Formerly National Bronze and Metals (NBM Metals), Aviva Metals is a reincarnation of a company that is no stranger to the global market. Rebranded in conjunction with its 35th anniversary, Aviva Metals has a vision for the future and will continue to invest in its in-house capacities to be the preferred partner for its customers for all things copper.

“As we approached our 35th anniversary, it was time to kick start our movement into the next era of our business and when we were looking around and we were thinking about and discussing what we would do, a name change was one of the things that came to mind,” said President Michael J. Greathead.

“It was the only thing that changed. There was no change in the shareholders, the directors or the senior management but we decided to come up with a new name,” he explained, which turned out to be a relatively cost-effective opportunity to rebrand and breathe new life into the company.

While it now has a shorter, more succinct name that better represents its offerings and reflects the company’s efforts to spring a new beginning, Aviva Metals still offers the same quality, inventory and service it always has under the NBM Metals name.

Regarded for the breadth and depth of its products, with over 100 grades of copper alloy and over 11 million pounds of inventory at the ready, Aviva Metals is a fully-integrated distributor that can’t be beat. As Greathead noted, “Nobody’s got that and that is probably our greatest strength which creates for us an opportunity for companies that are needing material and can’t easily find it.”

As the leading producer of continuous cast bronze, Aviva Metals offers a complete range of precision machined and milled parts in a variety of alloys. It boasts the flexibility of a job shop with the resources and support of a major producer behind it.

At its state-of-the-art foundry in Lorain, Ohio, a 140,000 square foot facility that was constructed for $23 million dollars only a decade ago, and on which a further $3 million has been spent since, Aviva Metals employs revolutionary up-to-the-minute technology that has taken continuous casting to new levels. Further to its in-house capabilities, Aviva Metals has also added to its team of professionals, chiefly its sales team. In only a year and a half, the outside sales team more than doubled in size and a new sales executive was brought onboard. There is always a need for technical skills on the production side of the business at its foundry in Lorain and Aviva is continuing to seek highly skilled professionals to help grow the foundry.

Given the conditions of the market over the last several years, with commodity prices falling and finally stabilizing and the impact it had on industries like oil and gas – which represents a significant part of Aviva Metal’s business – the company remained competitive because of its continued investment and the resolve to see down markets return to strength.

“What we’ve seen in 2017 is a steady and solid recovery in the oil and gas sector, which in turn has seen us return back to full production at our factory in Lorain, Ohio and it’s actually continued through into 2018,” said Greathead, who also noted that changes to tax laws, activity on Wall Street and changing perceptions are having a concerted impact on economic recovery.

“They are all having an impact on business. A lot of it is perception, as we all know, but perception has to turn into reality and I think we’re now starting to see the reality that there is improvement,” he said, citing concerns about the potential impact of the mounting political turmoil related to the escalating trade wars which could come into play.

Until 2008, when the bottom fell out of the market, Aviva Metals enjoyed twenty-one years of continuous profitability and today, the foundry in Ohio is operating three shifts, five days a week and two of the seven casters at the facility are operating seven days a week which is indicative of the demand being experienced.

Greathead credits the company’s shareholders for having the foresight and determination to see Aviva Metals through challenging times, continually investing in the company’s capacities, diversifying its offerings and defining a clear vision for the future.

“Our shareholders have consistently looked at what we can do to make the company a better company and therefore more successful, and to me, our greatest strength is in our people, but our people need to be supported by a functioning operation, and in this case, we’re a manufacturing operation, so that area probably gets the largest amount of capital investment,” said Greathead.

Recent investments for Aviva Metals include two new high speed dual spindle lathes and one high speed single spindle lathe that will expand its machining capabilities at its foundry. Greathead noted that recent and planned investments will total nearly $2.0 million which will enable the company to take advantage of growth opportunities that arise.

“All in all, we’ve seen 2017 end up being a more than satisfactory year and the first half of 2018 has been a very strong year for us and we look forward to a continuation of that in terms of our business opportunities moving forward in the second half of 2018 and into 2019,” he said.

“We’re proud of the quality and service we provide to our customers and believe that it’s because of that that we’ve been here for 35 years and we’ll continue to be here for many years to come,” Greathead explained.

To withstand the ebbs and flows of commodity prices, Greathead explained, “We try to worry less about prices and focus more on the actual demand for the product and how the overall demand appears for the product. I think that is more a reflection of the robustness of our industry and the challenges are to sustain that market share to keep the business growing.”

The goal now is to reaffirm the company’s place in the market by consolidating its relationships with its customer base across industries under the Aviva Metals name and banner and the same long-standing values Aviva Metals was built upon. As Greathead said, Aviva Metals wants “to become the first source supplier to our key customers,” proving its value through the same efficient, safe, quality service it has always offered.

“I’m trying to get our name – which was a strong name before – I’m looking to get the name reinforced in the marketplace,” he explained, representing the company at tradeshows such as OTC, FabTech and others to communicate the many advantages of choosing Aviva Metals for all things copper.

This is an opportunity, as Greathead explained, to communicate who the company is. “This is Aviva Metals. This is what we do. We’ve been doing it for 35 years. We’re the largest stockist of copper based alloys in the United States. We can service every single industry that requires these alloys. In addition, we can manufacture products for you. We can machine parts for you,” he said.

“You know, 35 years in the marketplace is a long time. We began as a small company with eight people back in 1983 and now we have 189 people, and we went from being less than $2 million per year to now approaching $120 million a year.”

Aviva Metals has been and will remain on a forward trajectory, and through its continued investments and further diversification of its offerings, it anticipates remaining a master distributor and a company to be watched in the long term.



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