At age 26, Jeff Subra had a good job in banking, but he gave it up to become an entrepreneur, buying an old-school metalworking business in Buffalo, New York. That business name is now is Specialty Stainless. Having jumped in head first, Jeff quickly learned to hire those who came in with the expertise he himself lacked.
Thirty years later, “every person in my company is a key person,” Subra says, noting that Specialty Stainless operates with a core of about half a dozen, mostly long-time employees who work as a tight team. “My staff people are much smarter than I am.”
Specialty Stainless has developed a niche for high-end countertops and sinks in stainless steel, copper, and other metals. “We hand-build our sinks,” Subra says. “They’re hand-formed rather than punched. The metal thickness stays true because the material isn’t stretched or stamped.”
All sinks and counters are cut and “nibbled” from hefty 14- and 16-gauge steel; all bends, curves, and angles are formed on a CNC press break. Seams and corners are welded to a seamless appearance using TIG-welding (tungsten inert gas). Sink surfaces are hand peened to make radius edges, brought together and formed up, then ground and polished by hand.
In recent years, Subra (along with his wife) has spent much of his time doing medical missionary work overseas through Samaritan’s Purse International Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART). He became an EMT and later qualified as a registered nurse. He and other medical professionals deploy to a location with a medical crisis such as cholera, or to a war zone such as Iraq, and set up temporary field hospitals to treat the sick and injured. “We’re there to care for everyone. Overseas, it’s not about the computer, it’s about the patient. That’s where my passion is, and where I can make a difference.
Buffalo, New York