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Pa. company closing in on the big leagues

March 23, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - When the Washington Nationals, Major League Baseball's newest team, play their first home game April 14, the play-by- play will be photographed in cameras hidden in aluminum boxes made by a small manufacturing plant in Mercersburg.

The Nationals, formerly the Montreal Expos, play their first game April 4 against the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia.

The enclosures, requested in three different sizes, were designed and built in a weekend rush order by APX Enclosures Inc., said Andrew V. Papoutsis, 57, president of the manufacturing firm at 200 Oregon St.

APX Enclosures is nearly three years old. The initials have no significant meaning, Papoutsis said.

"It just signifies that it's more high tech," he said.

APX is fabricating 34 aluminum enclosures for RFK Stadium, the temporary home of the Nationals. Those that hold cameras will be placed along baselines, behind home plate and at other strategic points on the field so the cameras can photograph the action without danger from vandals or stray baseballs. Other enclosures made by APX will hold electronic equipment.

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Papoutsis said he received a fax from one of the companies getting RFK Stadium ready for the new season saying they needed enclosures of the type APX makes.

"We got the fax on Thursday (March 10) and agreed to help them on Friday," he said. "We designed them and started punching out parts Saturday morning.

"The whole crew was called in to work the weekend," Papoutsis said. APX has 34 employees.

All but the two largest enclosures were made and shipped by March 17. The last two were being worked on Tuesday and won't be ready for shipment to the stadium until sometime next week, said Lewis McKee, sales manager for APX.

"We've made enclosures for the stadium in New Jersey, where the New York Giants and New York Jets football teams play, the stadium where the Denver Broncos play football and other stadiums," Papoutsis said.

"We've also made them for Newark Airport," he said.

Papoutsis estimated his company has made several thousand enclosures.

"That's a lot for a small company like this," McKee said.

They range from small stainless steel boxes of the type seen on utility poles that hold the electronics that power traffic control signals to large units that hold hundreds of wires and electronic units. Made from stainless steel, aluminum and regular sheet steel, they are designed to protect the equipment inside.

"We sell protection, and we don't take a narrow view of it," Papoutsis said.

APX's latest product are large gun safes with patented pull-out racks.

Papoutsis, who lives in Waynesboro, Pa., worked for Grove Worldwide and later for Ingersoll-Rand Co. in Shippensburg, Pa. He spent his last six years working for Ingersoll-Rand in China. He retired from there to buy into a small steel fabricating company which became APX Enclosures.

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