During the Civil War, the Uncasville plant now known as Thomas G. Faria, was a textile mill that manufactured both Union and Confederate uniforms, Faria CEO David Hickey said. That didn’t last long: “Didn’t go over too well.” But the plant has survived the centuries.
The floors throughout the 200-year-old plant are original like much of the rest of the buildings that make up the plant where 150 workers build instrumentation (gauges, mostly) for vehicles from motorcycles and boats to Humvees for the military.
Faria employed more than 320 workers just five years ago, that is until the contracts for Harley Davidson and Mustang instrumentation were awarded to manufacturers that could build cheaper gauges – because they outsourced labor.
But of the 150 workers that remain, scores could be seen Wednesday during a tour engaged in skilled work -- manufacturing gauges and tachometers bound for the marine and auto industry as well as analog and digital engine monitoring equipment; transitioning from electric and mechanical gauges to electronic hardware and software circuitry. Workers create instrumentation for industrial and construction equipment to stylish boats and yachts to the rugged Humvee.
One worker, Rosalie Sutton of Montville has worked at the plant for more than 30 years.
“I started in 1974, so what’s that,” she asked jokingly.
By her side was Stan Wanico, of Norwich, who has been at Faria for 27 years: “Yes, that's a long, long time.”