Rock West has been in business for 15 years! The business was started by Jim Gormican and Keith Loss, two former colleagues, who decided to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor together in Jim’s garage in late 2006. Since then, Rock West has grown into a business with four locations and nearly 200 people.
The initial work was centered around aerospace engineering and the commercialization of carbon fiber composites, which had been historically expensive, too expensive to use beyond specific, highly demanding applications. The business grew in 2009 through the acquisition of the former Maclean Composites in Salt Lake City, and the Rock West Composites brand was born. The new office pursued the online sales of carbon tubing and pioneered ecommerce for composites.
Joining the Rock West team shortly thereafter was a group of applied sensor specialists located in Santa Barbara. They became the Rock West Solutions division. In 2017, the business launched a venture in Mexico to help reduce labor costs while allowing easy access to facilities. As part of the CaliBaja Mega Region, Rock West is working to re-shore jobs that have gone offshore, bringing work back to US in partnership with our neighbors in Mexico.
Jump ahead to today and our headquarters in San Diego is now in over 100,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space. Our Salt Lake City facility has expanded to encompass its entire building. Santa Barbara has grown to include more office space and new secured labs. Tijuana has continued to expand and improve its facility and equipment. Rock West has come a far way from the original garage office.
From four customers in the first year in business to over 4,000 in 2021, it’s a story of exceptional growth. And while the years of the pandemic have had an impact, they have not dampened the ambitions of our business, which is poised for significant growth in 2022. But most importantly, the growth has enabled us to better service our customers, provide growth opportunities for our staff, and better return for our owners, which include every employee. In 2018, Rock West Composites became an ESOP company, with an Employee Stock Ownership Program, guaranteeing the entire team is invested in the success of the business.