One year ago, in TAM history

One year ago today, the Niagara Gazette ran a story titled “Local Investors Seek Help Taking Over TAM”.  Thanks to the investors and the team (“Team TAM”), TAM Ceramics has had a great year and we are looking forward to continuing to participate in our community.  The text of the article is below.  Here is a LINK to the original article on the Niagara Gazette and a LINK to download it as well.

LOCAL IDA: Local investors seek help taking over TAM

By Joyce Miles

The prospective new owner of TAM Ceramics in the Town of Niagara is seeking aid and tax incentives from Niagara County to complete its acquisition.

Tam Ceramics Group of NY LLC, is bidding to take over the manufacturing facility from All American Holdings, which bought it a couple years ago and has since decided its products don’t fit All American’s core business.

If All American doesn’t have a buyer, it likely will shut down the plant and put 55 people out of work, TAM Ceramics Group President George Bilkey said.

Instead, Bilkey and his partners, Alfonse Muto and Jerome Williams, both of Lewiston, see an opportunity to grow TAM’s existing business and branch out into renewable energy materials production.

Already, Bilkey said, TAM has contracts with several universities, the U.S. military, NATO and several European governments to research and develop ceramic materials for use in bridge building, space heating, solar and wind power delivery and fuel cells.

TAM Ceramics Group is asking the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency for a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement providing sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions; the property’s current assessed value is $1.5 million.

The group also is seeking a $400,000 loan from the IDA-controlled Niagara County Development Corp. and, separately, transfer of an existing hydroelectric power allocation from New York Power Authority.

The PILOT application indicates the group will purchase the buildings and machinery/equipment for $4 million and invest $1 million working capital in the facility to increase product sales.

All American Holdings and Bilkey, a ceramic engineer, got the more-than-100-year-old business turned around after prior owner Ferro “(ran it) into the ground” and closed it in 2007, Bilkey said. TAM’s business doubled in 2008, and in 2009, it invented “fiber free” potassium titanate, a material used in brake pads that replaces an asbestos-based form.

TAM’s existing products, zirconia, zircon and titantes, end up in golf clubs, Glock pistols, Bosch tools, airplane turbines and Corning manufacturing equipment, Bilkey said. Meanwhile, it’s researching and developing renewable energy materials and nanomaterials (blast-proof cements and solders). Current green energy-related pursuits include conversion of waste heat to electricity; developing supercapacitor materials to hold wind and solar power on a grid; hydrogen generation for fuel cells; and developing high-efficiency micro furnaces.

“We’re talking big, big dollars, huge, huge opportunities for the facility,” Bilkey said.

The PILOT application forecasts TAM will add 25 new manufacturing and engineering jobs within three years. To handle existing business, Bilkey said, it’s looking to add eight jobs within 30 days.

TAM already has a PILOT agreement with Niagara County, transferred from Ferro, that’s good for another two years, according to IDA assistant director Lawrence Witul. A hearing on the request will be held at 4 p.m. March 8 at Niagara Town Hall.

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