Ronald M. Salvatore ’64

Ronald M. Salvatore ’64

CULTIVATING THE NEXT GENERATION OF ENGINEERING LEADERS

Ronald M. Salvatore ’64 started Stamford-based Accurate Lock & Hardware in 1972 with three part-time employees. Fifty years and more than 100 employees later, the custom lock and hardware manufacturing company has stood the test of time in lower Fairfield County, claiming a space as the largest manufacturer in the city.

The company has grown to offer three different kinds of products and services: it serves as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to sell mechanical components to be used with hardware; it produces institutional safety hardware used in behavioral health settings; and it provides high-end, custom-made residential hardware. Accurate Lock & Hardware has even done high-profile work such as restoration on hardware at the White House, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and the National Diet Building in Japan.

The company has also grown to be something of a family business. Salvatore’s sons, Rodd and Reed, have since joined Accurate Lock & Hardware in leadership roles, and Reed has joined his father on the School of Engineering’s Advisory Board.

Reed was interviewed recently about a Fairfield cohort program aimed at giving engineering students real-life experience at Accurate Lock:

Describe the program for students: What do they work on? How do they get involved? What are the outcomes?
The students were selected by the faculty. Based on knowing what our program is and what our business is about, Fairfield found five students who they thought would be a good fit to work with us throughout the summer.

Our goal is to give the students as much hands-on experience as possible and try to apply it to what they’re learning in the classroom. So, we set up a program where they are rotated through a four-week program. We had them work in the company to try to understand a little bit about our business, how it works, and operational flow.

On our end, we get some benefits by having intelligent, well-trained students spend some time working with us. We give them some problems that they can work on from an engineering standpoint that hopefully result in some creative solutions. And potentially, if there’s an opportunity and there’s a good fit, we can offer a longer-term relationship with any of these students.

What has the feedback been like from students?
The feedback has been very positive. Students were really engaged. It didn’t make a difference what they were doing, they were all really thoughtful and asked good questions.

Our business is pretty unique because we go from concept to product quickly. So they can actually come up with an idea, then we’ll prototype it and make it, and we might even sell it as part of a customized solution — all in the time that they’re here. Obviously, we’re trying to get the value out of what we’re doing with them, but in a positive, really constructive way that keeps them busy and interested.

How do you hope to continue this program and your relationship with the School of Engineering going forward?
It’s a great way for us to get to know some of the students at Fairfield who work with us, and it’s a great way for them to get to know us. There’s a great deal of satisfaction that comes from helping people in this way.

Tags:  School of Engineering

Last modified: 01-04-22 3:43 PM

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