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Cattaragus company to add 10-15 after landing N.Y. City subway contract

A manufacturer based in the town of Cattaraugus is expected to add 10-15 jobs after being subcontracted to make ceilings and wall panels to be used for 676 next-generation rail cars in New York City.

Composite Panel Solutions has been sub-contracted for the job as part of a $1.8 billion Metro Transit Authority award to build the nearly 700 rail cars over the next five years. In addition, the company is likely to grow its workforce by 10-15 employees in the next year and a half. The cars will replace rail cars from the 1980s that are used on the MTA, the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North Rail Road M9 Rail Car project.

While Composite Panel Solutions has already contributed to transit systems in cities that include London, Chicago and Atlanta, the contract for the New York rail cars is the company’s largest. Pete Dandrea, president of the company, said the jobs will need to be added by mid-2016, which is when the production process will ramp up.

“We’re obviously pretty excited, and probably a little scared too,” Dandrea said with a laugh, adding that the size of the business will triple by 2016. “We have this and a couple other contracts that are going to kick in. So it’s an exciting time for us and a challenging time for us.”

The project with New York’s rail cars will be ongoing through 2020, Dandrea said. He said while the project will be demanding, many of the company’s workers have been in the business for a long time, and bring their expertise to the process.

“There’s not a lot of automation to our business,” Dandrea said. “There’s not a green button we can push and out comes a panel. A lot of it is our skilled workforce, and having that experience on staff makes us confident we can come through on projects like this.”