Aaron Velasquez, co-owner of Theta Plate Inc., knew his Albuquerque, New Mexico, electroplating business could become irrelevant if he didn’t expand into new markets. The third-generation family business started by his parents in 1976 performs Mil-Spec and decorative electroplating on precious and other metals that range from platinum to tin. The company is active in several niche markets, including jewelry and plating of trumpet mouthpieces, and customers across the country seek the company’s services.
Velasquez saw opportunity in meeting the high standards of Sandia National Laboratories located nearby. The laboratories’ mission is to develop, engineer, and test non-nuclear components of nuclear and advanced technologies, and it categorizes approved vendors into tiers based on capability and quality control. Theta Plate was already an approved vendor, but Velasquez knew his company could do better. He turned to New Mexico MEP to help him and his team of eight employees forge a path toward registration with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and achieve a higher vendor tier at the national lab.
Jeff with New Mexico MEP looked at what we did and documented it in such a way that the ISO system has the minimum amount of disruption. The system is custom tailored to be helpful rather than a hindrance. He also helped us quite a bit with increasing our Sandia vendor status.
New Mexico MEP Innovation Director Jeff Abrams helped the team analyze processes and make changes that standardized and streamlined their procedures to meet ISO regulations. “He’s experienced in ISO auditing, and he knows it inside and out,” said Velasquez. That knowledge and experience helped Theta Plate build a system that incorporates existing procedures, meets ISO standards, and does not require additional staffing. While working toward ISO, Theta Plate developed new proprietary processes to plate precious metals on strategic material substrates for the aerospace and defense industries.