By Barbara Brewer La Mere
Chris Edgerly, an engineer with a degree
from RPI, established Adirondack
Mechanical Services in 1995 with her
She is president of Adirondack Mechanical,
one of the largest union millwright
contractors in New York state and owner
of Tru Arc Fabrications, a specialty metal
Tru Arc and R.F. Gordon Mechanical —
located with Adirondack Mechanical in
Wilton Commerce Park off Ballard Road,
and with whom Adirondack Mechanical
partners — employ approximately 50 members
of Millwrights Local 1163. They supply
fabrication, maintenance, and repair services
(including 24/7 emergency repairs)
to industries in a geographical area that
runs from Plattsburgh down to Manhattan.
Millwrights perform installations and repair work on large industrial machines, especially the equipment that is used in manufacturing facilities Cement, paper, hydroelectric, environmental, medical, and chemical companies, among others, benefit from the services of Adirondack Mechanical and Tru Arc.
Edgerly said when customers ask to speak with “Chris” they sometimes expect to be speaking with “Christopher” rather than “Christine.” Aside from that, she’s seen few challenges as a woman in a male-dominated business.
She said the biggest challenge she faces on a routine basis is a shortage of qualified welders. She acknowledged that the pipefitters apprenticeship program is a demanding one that requires a five-year commitment, compared to slightly shorter terms for millwrights and boilermakers.
“Welding is a dying skill,” she said. Looking for qualified welders, Edgerly, a welder herself, contacts the pipefitters union in Glens Falls and often finds “an empty house,” with everyone out working on other jobs.
She is a proponent of having young people consider studying a trade as an option, rather than thinking college is the only way to establish a career.
Locally, some of their best-known customers for her companies are Ball Metal, Irving Paper, and Finch Pruyn. It was Adirondack Mechanical Services that installed the equipment needed for General Electric to perform sludge dredging operations in Fort Edward.
Recently, a cement plant contacted Adirondack Mechanical when its kiln broke down. The company also installs machinery in new industrial sites.
Edgerly’s engineering and fabrication skills mesh well with the needs of the millwrights. A particular repair or installation may require creation of a part that is not easily available otherwise. She oversees the solution.
Tru Arc Fabrication can also create stairs (including spirals), handrails, water and fuel tanks, and decorative fencing, among other projects.
Adirondack Mechanical Services is a certified woman-owned business enterprise and has accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. It’s website is website address is adirondackmechanical.com. The website for Tru Arc Fabrication is www.truarc.net.