New Way History
A friendship between young Drew Devitt and young Nick Sotiropoulos is forged between the goal lines of the Rosetree Colts’ football games. Although the camaraderie comes easily, thoughts of building a pioneering technology company together have yet to take the field.
Schooling at Olympic Tool
During high school, Drew worked at Olympic Tool, a company owned and operated by Harry Sotiopoulos, Nick’s father. There, he learned how to run Bridgeports and turret lathes, fix machinery, build indicator stands, and set up machines.
Mentoring and Market Identification
Russ Shelton, a family friend, mentors Drew Devitt, introduces him to the Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) industry, and pinpoints a void in the marketplace: Commercially-available standard air bearings.
Getting It Going with the Greek God of Wind
Drew Devitt starts producing and selling non-contact air bearings under the name “Aeolus Air bearings,” a term inspired by Aeolus, the Greek God of the Winds. The first largely commercially-available air bearings, Drew’s products are primarily used in CMM’s (automated 3D Measuring machines) thanks to their stiffness and stability. The fluid-film technology is also applied in computer-to-plate printing applications, ensuring precise plate production.
The Rise of American Sun
Drew Devitt outsources air bearing housing manufacturing work to Nick Sotiropoulos’ company. When Nick sells that business, he moves to New Way and, in turn, outsources machine tool operations to Harry Sotiropoulos and his company, now called American Sun.
The First Standard Product Line
Aeolus Air Bearings offers a standard product line. For the first time, customers are able to choose from five sizes of inexpensive, readily-available, simple-to-employ air bearings.
Nick Sotiropoulos starts his machine tool business.
A Name Change to New Way
The name Aeolus Air Bearings is changed to a name that better describes the company’s unique air bearing products and advanced technologies. ‘New Way Air Bearings,’ with its dual meaning, is selected.
Semiconductors: The Shape of Things to Come
New Way Air Bearings focuses its sales and marketing efforts, selling hydrostatic technology to the machine tool industry, as Aeolus had since its inception. The International Machine Tool Show that year, however, reveals that growth in the air bearings market will be driven by another industry entirely: The semiconductor industry.
A Differential Advantage for a Key Customer
TA Instruments selects New Way air bearings as an enabling technology for their next-generation Dynamic Material Analyzer. Porous Media air bearings allow TA Instruments to dominate the DMA market: A position that the company still holds today.
Testing the Waters at Semicon West
New Way’s participation in Semicon West, the premier event for the global microelectronics industry, is marked by a significant level of success. There, Drew Devitt demonstrates how New Way frictionless air bearings can meet that industry’s stringent requirements.
New Way Earns an R&D 100 Award
New Way’s Hydro Guide earns the company an R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine.
New Way Awarded a Patent for Its Vacuum Replication Process
The United States Patent and Trademark Office awards New Way Air Bearings a patent for its Vacuum Replication Process. The company continues to apply this technically and economically effective method of fitting air bearings into precision assemblies in its slide manufacturing operations.
New Way Expands Distribution Internationally
New Way expands its sales distribution network into Europe and Asia, bringing manufacturers in countries such as Japan and Germany convenient, value-added accessibility to its products.
Sales Management Added As Critical Role
Tim Claffey joins New Way as VP Sales, as the company looks to support key customers as well as a growing distribution channel.
The Management Team Expands
Drew Devitt and Nick Sotiropoulos expand New Way’s management team to support the continuing growth of the business. Nick Hackett joins the company as Chief Operating Officer. With the passing of Harry Sotiropoulos, son Nick takes on ownership of the American Sun machine shop enterprise.
New Way Expands Customer Service with Formal Position
New Way begins development of air conveying technology for non-contact handling, processing, inspection and transport of Flat Panel Display (FPD) and Photovoltaic (PV) glass.
New Way Acquires American Sun
New Way Air Bearings acquires American Sun to consolidate the resources of the two companies. New Way moves its operations to the 35,000 sq. ft. American Sun facility, and significant investment is made to produce a new, precision-friendly, environmentally-controlled manufacturing environment. The non-contact Precision Chuck is developed for the Flat Panel Display (FPD) market.
New Way’s First Solo Foray to Semicon West
New Way Air Bearings exhibits, in its own right, for the first time at Semicon West, in San Francisco, CA, USA.
Management Team Reorganized As Founders Focus On Their Strengths
The management structure of New Way Air Bearings is reorganized. Nick Hackett becomes President and CEO. Drew Devitt, still Chairman, focuses on R&D as Chief Technology Officer, and Nick Sotiropoulos concentrates on engineering and the development of manufacturing processes as Chief Engineer. Mike Wright joins New Way as Director of Marketing. Radial Bearing technology is demonstrated at the Semicon West Show.
Company Taps External Consulting Resources to Help Ensure Growth
New Way begins its relationship with the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC) as the company looks to invest in the areas of Lean Manufacturing, ISO certification, and business systems.
New Way Refines Their Focus and Rebrands Their Identity
Another more-visible sign of change comes in the form of a new logo and corporate identity.
New Way Launches Product Line for Flat Panel Display Manufacturers
New Way exhibits at the Society for Information Display’s (SID) Display Week for the first time. Conveyor Air Bearings and Precision Chucks are launched as products for the Flat Panel Display (FPD) OEM market.
New Way Moves to New Enterprise System
In its ongoing efforts to enhance operational efficiencies, New Way selects the Epicor Vantage ERP system and implements its first phase.
New Way Earns Position on the Inc. 5000
New Way makes the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies, earning position 2,294 with three-year growth of 157.4%. The company is also awarded the Small Business of the Year Award for “Technological Excellence” by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
New Way Again Earns Position on the Inc. 5000
New Way makes the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies again, this time earning position 4,758 with three-year growth of 47.9%. The company is also ranked number 30 in Deloitte’s Fast 50 fastest-growing technology, media, telecommunications, and life sciences companies in Greater Philadelphia
New Way Achieves ISO 9001:2000 Certification
In November, New Way achieved ISO 9001:2000 certification, a designation demonstrating the organization’s commitment to quality-of-service standards, meeting guidelines set out by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
New Way Launches Academic Program
New way launches an Academic Program designed to provide university engineering and science educators with the tools and training they need to teach the benefits of frictionless motion.
New Way Launches Radial Air Bearing Line
New Way introduces a line of porous media Radial Air Bearings engineered to deliver frictionless rotary motion for precision applications.
New Way Makes the Inc. 5000 for the Third Year in a Row
New Way makes the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies for the third year in a row, ranking at number 3,245 with three-year growth of 80%. The company is also ranked number 41 in Deloitte’s Fast 50 fastest-growing technology, media, telecommunications, and life sciences companies in Greater Philadelphia, with a 5-year growth rate of 115%.
New Way Awarded a FlexTech Alliance Contract
The FlexTech Alliance awarded New way Air Bearings a contract for the development of a non-contact vacuum seal allowing for small, but potentially wide vacuum chambers appropriate for chemical vapor deposition (CVD), physical vapor deposition (PVD), or other processes requiring deep vacuum.
New Way Achieves ISO 9001:2008 Certification
United Registrar Services announced that New Way Air Bearings has achieved certification in accordance with new ISO 9001:2008 standards, meeting guidelines set out by the International Organization for Standardization. New Way was originally certified (for ISO 9001:2000) in late November of 2008.
New Way Makes A Foray Into Social Media
New Way launches “Drew’s Views,” the company’s official blog, featuring posts by founder, chairman and chief technology officer Drew Devitt. The company also launches a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and strengthened its YouTube presence and LinkedIn Company page. New also produced its first Webcast: “Air Bearings 101.”
Nick Hackett Appointed to the DVIRC’s Board of Directors
Indicative of New Way’s growing relationship with the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center, the DVIRC announced the additions of Nick Hackett to its Board of Directors.
New Way Issued A Patent for Air Bar Concept
New Way announced that it had been issued United States Patent No. 7,908,885-B2 for its ‘Non-Contact Porous Air Bearing and Glass Flattening Device.’