From left to right: Former councilwoman Rosalie O’Mahony, Father Michael Mahoney of Our Lady of Angels church in Burlingame, Johnine Leininger and ABX Engineering’s Chief Executive Officer Paul Leininger at an open house of the company’s new building.
A Burlingame electronics business that’s been around since the ’80s is expanding its operations, which is a good sign for the community’s manufacturing industry some city leaders say.
ABX Engineering has two 14,000-square-foot offices on Hinckley Road in the Bayfront neighborhood and opened its new, bigger, 875 Stanton Road office last Friday. The latest building was dedicated Dec. 8.
Around 2000, the city updated its specific area plan for the neighborhood and at those hearings the company’s participation made it possible for manufacturing to continue and grow on the eastside, according to former councilwoman Rosalie O’Mahony.
Mark Leininger, vice president of technology strategy and implementation, said ABX purchased the building on Stanton Road in 2010, but recently finally moved in to the 25,000-square-foot space that used to house Community Gatepath, a nonprofit serving people with disabilities in San Mateo County. Moving forward, he would like to see the company expand even more.
“We weren’t heavily leveraged to grow huge fast,” Leininger said. “It’s been a smaller, more organic growth. In the electronics industry there’s a lot of up and down growth. [Since we grew more organically], we can ride out the dips in the market.”
The contract manufacturing and materials management company primarily makes circuit boards, devices that mechanically support and electrically connect electronic components using conductive tracks, pads and other features etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive underlying layer. It provides other services such as prototyping electronics devices and supporting companies that make scientific and medical instruments, military electronic devices, power monitoring devices, aerospace devices and other industries.
Additionally, ABX, a business of about 100 employees, tends to retain staff well, Leininger said.
“We don’t have a lot of turnover,” he said. “Our people come in and feel the extra perks you get from working here and don’t go looking elsewhere. A lot of employees have been here since the mid-’80s.”
The local business helps others to take the headache off their desks, he said. Still, in the last decade, there’s been a lot of buzz around using cheap labor overseas to make electronics, however, Leininger said this is unwise.
“Accountants didn’t take into account soft costs,” he said. “Quality goes down and they cut corners. If you get a bad name for [having poor quality products], you could lose your market share. There’s also stealing of intellectual property that happens when you go overseas. There is a lot of value in saying, ‘our products are American made.’”
Although the price per square foot in Burlingame is high, it’s worth it to stay in the area, Leininger said. This way, it is close to the inventors and engineers who make the products.
“They can come and visit and see their product,” he said. “They can control the process. It’s kind of hard to fly to China to do all that. … We try to do really good work and get better. We’re very much quality-driven.”
For more information visit abxengineering.com.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105