The Washington Monument is a symbol of pride and
patriotism for many people. Dick Chen feels the same way, but for more personal
reasons. His engineer's work helps the monument weather the elements.
Mr. Chen's company, Aerospace Wire & Cable Inc,.
designed a unique, stone-colored cable that collects data on humidity, acidity
and pollution. That kind of specialized product is an example of the niche
thinking that has taken Aerospace to the top of its small industry.
"The company is flexible and turns around orders
quickly," says a sales manager for a cable distributor. "I've placed orders as
small as 1,000 feet of cable. That's not something the bigger manufacturers will
bother with." Nearly 25% of what Aerospace manufactures is geared for projects
in New York City. High-rises use the cable because it meets stringent fire code.
The Department of Environmental Protection relies on Aerospace's technology for
cooling systems at water-treatment plants.
"Aerospace started out with 5,000 square feet at
this location 22 years ago, expanded to 10,000 a decade later, and now we are at