55 Leone Lane
Chester, NY 10918
FX: 845-469-7618


   Brakewell Steel Fabricators, Inc., a sheet and plate metal fabrication shop, opened for business in 1969, in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, New York. It was founded by four steel industry workers; Herman Kula, Frank Azarenok, Joe Ferrara and Dan Doyle. For Doyle, the little shop on Barretto Street was the fulfillment of a five-year quest to go into business for himself. 
   A core of existing customers was the mainstay of the company at first, but within a few months the partners received a breakthrough large order. It was for the supporting fabricated framework of a conveyor system to be installed in a U.S. Post Office converting to automated equipment. The $200,000 order was due, in periodic trailer loads, within 90 days. With half the fledgling company’s work force on night shifts – and Kula and Doyle working nights themselves – the shop worked around the clock and loaded the last trailer on the 90th night. Brakewell, named for the “press brake” which bends metal, proved that an obscure fabricating shop of little more then a dozen men could compete with large, established companies.
   Slow but steady was the pace at Brakewell Steel for the next few years. In 1974, Joe Ferrara retired. One year later, the threat of an industry wide strike prompted Doyle to search for alternate plant facilities. He found the ideal building in the Chester Industrial Park in Orange County, but the price of the property was prohibitive. Every few months, Doyle would travel from the shops cramped, inner city quarters to the pastoral expanses of the mid-Hudson region and the sprawling Chester factory. Each time Doyle expressed interest in the facility, the owner would obligingly reduce the asking price. After 3 years, the terms were finally within Brakewell’s reach. In January 1978, with six of the company’s 45 workers transplanted from the Bronx, the Chester operation began.
   For a decade, the Bronx shop and Chester plant operated simultaneously, with bulkier jobs being manufactured at the Orange County location. Eventually, though the shop on Barretto Street became less profitable. In 1988 operations in the Bronx were curtailed; in 1989, they ceased altogether, and Brakewell’s manufacturing operations consolidated at the Chester plant.