Manufacturing is a key cornerstone of New York’s economy, with large-scale global operations and smaller family-owned businesses all contributing to local job markets. Universal Metal Works in Fulton is one of those smaller operations. It originally opened its doors in 1992, under the name C&C Metal Fabrications Inc. In 2010, it was acquired by the Sharkey family, who gave it its current name. President John Sharkey says there have been a lot of changes for manufacturers like Universal Metal Works since then, both positive and negative. He says there’s been a lot of positive growth with the kinds of machinery and equipment that are available to manufacturers like Universal Metal Works, but finding qualified workers has been challenging. Still, Sharkey says he has high hopes for the future of his business and other manufacturers in upstate New York, especially with efforts to get young people interested in the industry through internships and partnerships with schools.

You can watch the full interview with Universal Metal Works President John Sharkey via the video player above. And be sure to tune in for a look inside the biggest issues impacting Upstate New York, on In Focus with JoDee Kenney — every Sunday on Spectrum News 1.