Company: ITT Corporation

Address: 500 Tesconi Circle

Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Phone: (707) 523-2300

Website: www.itt.com/biw

Employees: 145

SANTA ROSA – With 80-percent of its products exported, and no customers in Northern California, ITT Corporation’s BIW Connector Systems business unit operates mostly under the radar of the local business community.

The company manufactures heavy duty electrical power connectors used in oil and gas production.  

BIW Connector Systems came to Santa Rosa in 1979 as a division of Boston Insulated Wire (BIW), then headquartered in Massachusetts. Ten years ago, the business unit was acquired by ITT Corporation. The company’s focus has always been connectors and cables for harsh environments. Today most of its business is in the oil and gas sector, with sales in 37 countries.

“Our connectors deliver electrical power to electric submersible pumps in oil wells, which are used on most offshore platforms and in many oil wells on land,” said Eck Konkel, marketing director at BIW. Our connectors must penetrate the safety barriers in oil wells that are put in place to protect the environment.”

[caption id="attachment_57777" align="alignleft" width="292" caption="BIW machinist Pat Agius delivers a set of connectors for testing before they are shipped"][/caption]

Product quality, he said, is the most important thing BIW does.

“The industry requires it, because the cost of failure is extremely high. A failed product can require an oil well work-over that can cost millions of dollars in some remote locations.”

BIW is growing, as the worldwide demand for oil grows. The 145-employee company counts all of the world’s major oil companies among its customers.

In Santa Rosa, BIW occupies 55,000 square feet in three buildings on Tesconi Circle. The company also has locations in Edmonton, Beirut, Singapore, Shanghai and Dubai.

Mr. Konkel said the company moved to Santa Rosa from Los Angeles in search of a reliable work force.

“We have found that here.  Our average retention time for employees here has been about 14 years, and it is growing,” Mr. Konkel said.

BIW finds that Sonoma County offers other resources such as high quality machine shops, which are used to supplement the company’s in-house machining capabilities.

In addition to the oil and gas industries, the geothermal market has been growing in importance.

 “The past two years have seen increased emphasis on large-scale deep geothermal installations in Europe, particularly Germany. We also supply connectors for geothermal installations in the USA, including Nevada, where there are many medium-sized suppliers of electricity produced from geothermal wells,” said Mr. Konkel.

Peppermill Resort in Reno is the first to supply all of its energy needs from geothermal wells, with BIW connectors delivering power through the wellhead.