JWF's Roots Date Back to 1957 ...
In 1957, John Polacek, Sr. found himself working for Bethlehem Steel in Johnstown PA and struggling to provide for his nine children. To help ends meet he put a welding machine on the back of his pick-up truck and started Johnny’s Welding.
When John Polacek passed away in 1987, his welding company was located in a two-car garage and had one employee — his son, Bill Polacek. Bill bought the company from his mother and started Johnstown Welding and Fabrication. After a few years of growth, Bill shortened the company name to JWF Industries to reflect its continuing diversity.
After Bethlehem Steel closed its Johnstown plant in 1992, JWF expanded into the 500,000 square foot former Lower Works facility that formerly housed the 11 Inch Mill, 8 Inch Mill, and Mag Shed. This site continues to be JWF’s headquarters campus.
JWF Defense Systems is Established
In 2007, Bill together with John Polacek, Jr. ventured out again and started JWF Defense Systems — a business specifically focused on supplying DoD prime contractors with reliable, on-time, fabrications and subassemblies.
JWF has been a one-stop, small business manufacturer supporting prototypes, low volume, and high volume build-to-print production, on a variety of DoD programs. Our customers include many tier-one defense contractors such as TCOM, MAC Defense, BAE Systems, and Kongsberg Protech Systems as well as Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems.
Our Government direct customers include US Army RDECOM, the Department of Commerce, and Letterkenny Army Depot. We have Blanket Purchase Agreements with Army Contracting Command New Jersey, and a CRADA/JWS with US Army RDECOM Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center. We also have a Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Navy to provide machining services.
JWF Expands into the Oil and Gas Industry
JWF is located in the heart of natural gas drilling on the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations. In response to changing drilling regulations by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) office in 2010 that limited the amount of total dissolved solids that could be discharged in waterways, JWF saw an opportunity to develop and manufacture its own products—above ground containment vehicles to temporarily house the fluid while transporting it to water treatment plants. In 2011, JWF began manufacturing a variety of products for the oil and gas industry through a newly created division, Environmental Tank & Container (ETC).
Since its humble beginning, the Polacek’s have led this small-town company into a thriving business. Today, JWF Industries operates four facilities encompassing over 1,000,000 square feet, and employs over 300 people in Johnstown PA.
Chief Executive Officer
Bill Polacek started JWF Industries in 1987 as an owner/operator in a 30’ x 30’ two-car garage, creating an organization which currently employs over 300 employees and 1,000,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He has over 30 years’ experience in the metals manufacturing industry.
He earned a two-year post-secondary degree in welding technology and has attended numerous seminars and classes on continuous flow production methods, finance, Dale Carnegie, Harvard School of Business, The Covey Group, and the Chicago School of Business. In 2009, he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Francis University, Loretto, PA.
His JWF companies were founded on a commitment to family values and they continue to flourish in the Johnstown area because of the support of its employees and its community. Bill has continually maintained that “the purpose of JWF is to allow our people to succeed.”
Bill is currently Vice Chairman of Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI) Board of Directors. He’s also a member of the Economic Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and serves on the White House Manufacturing Advisory Council.
John J. Polacek, Jr.
Chief Operating Officer
John Polacek is the Chief Operating Officer of JWF Defense Systems and JWF Industries. Prior to joining JWF in 2007, John was Vice President and General Manager of the Defense Solutions Division at BAE SYSTEMS – IT in Arlington, VA.
Throughout his 17+ year career at BAE-IT he held a variety of progressive management positions. The technology areas supported by Defense Solutions included a wide range of information technology solutions, hardware development and support, intelligence analysis, software support, acquisition support, and program management services for a global customer base. Customers included the uniformed services, national security clients, and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). John joined BAE SYSTEMS in 1989.
Prior to BAE SYSTEMS, John was a partner and Vice President for Operations at Unitec Digital Systems where he was responsible for the day to day technical and business management of Unitec’s defense and commercial business base. He was the Assistant Vice President for Business Development and Director for Quest Research Corp for 12 years.
John also served in the United States Marine Corps as an Electronics Intelligence (ELINT) Analyst. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management with high honors from the University of Phoenix.