In 1998, Stephanie DiLeo worked in Homer City, PA as an accountant for FMC Technologies, Inc.’s Material Handling division (FTI). She really enjoyed the work and the people, but due to circumstances beyond her control, Stephanie was forced to seek alternative employment in 2005. However, in 2007 FTI transferred the majority of its Materials Handling operations from Homer City to Mississippi and China. They subsequently placed the Syntron® Parts Handling product line up for sale and Stephanie gladly accepted their offer to consult with the facility in Mississippi.
Later in the same year Homer City Automation was founded by the new owner of the Syntron® Parts Handling product line. Stephanie was offered and accepted a position to manage this new venture. Unfortunately, several months in, circumstances changed.
“I was presented with the opportunity to buy the business, or look for a new job.” remarked Stephanie. “I mustered up the courage to buy the business, even though I didn’t know the first thing about vibratory equipment. Initially, I considered my purchase as a ‘bridge’ to retirement or other gainful employment for the employees.”
Shortly after purchasing Homer City Automation and the Syntron® production line in 2008, the economy entered into recession. By this time, Stephanie was committed to keeping the company alive. “We were very creative and the staff was willing to do whatever it took to help make the business survive”, she said. “People were so dedicated to making it work; we were flexible enough to make changes in order to endure the downturn in the economy.”
By 2010, things began to turn around for Homer City Automation. The number of employees grew in order to keep up with the increasing demand for their material handling products. In 2013, Homer City Automation developed a new product line, Champion Drives, designed to feed bulk material to packaging, blending, and weighing applications. This new product line complemented the parts handling automation products of their established Syntron® brand as well as their custom fabrication services business.
Homer City Automation’s mission is to be recognized as a leader in the automation industry while maintaining the utmost integrity. Their focus is on continuous innovation, quality products, and building strong partnerships with suppliers and customers. They are known for their quality, craftsmanship, and integrity which has incubated and carefully cultivated a base of loyal customers and a steady book of business with profitable outcomes.
“I am committed to the GOAL of building a company that is focused on family first; which in my interpretation means that I must provide job security, a safe working environment, and a competitive wage and benefit package to each employee that is willing to work with a positive attitude, has the ability to add value, and contributes to the overall goals of the organization,” said Stephanie. Her leadership, work ethic, and assumption of risk have never been driven by gaining personal wealth or acknowledgement. Instead, she finds drive through providing a work environment guided by Christian principles.
“I know more about welding, tooling, and the assembly of parts handling equipment, because my staff has done a great job of training me. This is a very specialized business, one that isn’t easily understood by outsiders. While the journey has been trying at times, I have learned many lessons about business, people, and most importantly, the increased reliance on GOD, who without HIM none of this would have been possible.”
“We are looking forward to the future with plans to expand parts handling solutions through increased skills and technology. I am excited to be training up the next generation of Parts Handling experts!”