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Microwave Tech Firm Stays Put In Marlborough

February 16, 2010 – For Spectrum Microwave, the move isn’t too big of a deal.  But for Marilyn Whalley, director of the Marlborough Economic Development Corp., keeping a company in the city is a big deal. Spectrum Microwave, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania-based Spectrum Control Inc., had a lease set to expire and was looking for a new location. Company officials decided to relocate from a Cedar Hill Street facility into the Marlborough Technology Park on Nickerson Road.

Bob McKenna, a senior vice president with Spectrum Control, said Marlborough has been a good location for the company and there was open space at the technology park, so it seemed like a good fit.

But Whalley said she’s “thrilled” the company is staying in the city. A focus for the organization, which changed its name earlier this year from Marlborough 2010, is business retention.

“We need to make sure the businesses that are in Marlborough continue to look at Marlborough as a central location,” she said. “We need to do everything we can to keep them here.”

Market Analysis
Whalley said later this year the agency will be sending out a survey to businesses in the area asking them what their biggest needs are.

“We need to know who’s out there, what their workforce is, and what their plans are for the future,” she said. “The more we know about all that the better we will be to help in any way we can.”

Boston-based Colliers Meredith & Grew represented Spectrum while Richards Barry Joyce & Partners represented the new facility’s owner – Normandy Real Estate Partners.

The Marlborough Technology Park is off Interstate 495 and is made up of seven Class A office buildings totaling almost 600,000 square feet.

The move for Spectrum will give the company an additional 16,000 square feet, which McKenna said will be some “extra breathing room.”

They have reason to breathe a little easier.

Sales for Spectrum Control’s microwave components and systems business increased almost 31 percent from $45.9 million to $60.0 million between 2008 and 2009. Profit for the segment rose from $5.4 million in 2008 to $10.0 million in 2009, according to the parent company’s annual report filings.

Soft market conditions were offset by a full year of sales from SatCon Electronics, which Spectrum purchased in September 2008. SatCon’s sales increased from $9.4 million to $11.7 million year over year.

Profit was also boosted by increased shipments of military and defense products, specifically radio controlled improvised explosive devices, which Spectrum makes some parts for.

Greg Davis, a manager at the Marlborough location, said there are about 55 workers there. The building at the technology park is still an empty shell, but he said he’s working with contractors to retrofit the space and he hopes to move in to the new space by the summer.

For the parent company, Spectrum Controls, net sales for the year increased slightly from $130.6 million in 2008 to $132.3 million last year. That’s down from the company’s 2007 sales high of $136.5 million.

Profits were also down slightly from 2008 to 2009, from $8.85 million in 2008 to $8.56 million last year. That also is down from the company’s profit from 2007 of $11.1 million, but is up from a $4.6 million profit in 2005.

Spectrum Control owns 10 separate subsidiaries, with Spectrum Microwave being one of them. The company’s other subsidiaries specialize in advanced specialty products, which are custom made technology products and sensors and controls.