Bending to Biotech: Marlin Wire

By September 13, 2007General

Quite a run of well-deserved publicity for Drew Greenblatt and his small manufacturing company, Marlin Steel Wire Products, in Baltimore. First the Washington Post Sunday Magazine profile him and the company’s reinvention as a producer of high-quality, special-order, fast-response wire products (baskets, frames, etc.) after Chinese competition made the mass-production side unprofitable.

Now, over the weekend, the Baltimore Sun’s “Bending to biotech” featured Marlin Wire as an example of a more-or-less traditional manufacturing company able to adapt to the demands of an economy with a major biotech component.

It’s hard to hear Drew Greenblatt over the steady – and deafening – ka-chink, ka-chunk of machines snipping steel wire at his factory in Southwest Baltimore. So he turns it up a notch.

“That’s for Baxter,” he hollers, pointing to a giant box full of special-ordered wire baskets ready to be shipped to the drugmaker. Nearby, an employee welds wire for biotech bigwig Amgen Inc. as Greenblatt ticks off a Who’s Who list of his other pharmaceutical customers: Pfizer, Roche, Novartis.

It is a client roster that is nothing like the one he had when he bought the business – Marlin Steel Wire Products – in 1998 and focused on selling metal baskets to bagel shops for displaying their products.

Hundreds, thousands of U.S. companies and facilities are making similar adaptions, succeeding through it all. Congratulations, Drew, and all your many peers.

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