Veteran Franchise Coaching

Vetrepreneur Franchise Workshop   |   May 3

Franchise Workshop   |   May 3

Nominate the Next Vetrepreneur® of the Year!

Nominate the Next Vetrepreneur® of the Year!

AccuTrex Founder Martin Beichner’s Inspiring Journey

Martin Beichner 2020 Pittsburgh Vetrepreneur of the year

Fortune has smiled on Martin Beichner more than once. He survived a combat tour in Vietnam, launched a company with the right people at the right time that grew into a successful manufacturer, and continued operating through the COVID-19 pandemic. AccuTrex Products even landed a Paycheck Protection Program loan in the first round.

“We’re in the category of really, really, really lucky,” Beichner said.

It wasn’t luck that earned Beichner the title of 2020 Pittsburgh Vetrepreneur® of the Year, a prestigious honor awarded annually by veteran-owned VIQTORY and sponsored by the Fort Pitt Capital Group. The success he’s realized as a business owner certainly was a factor. AccuTrex today employs more than 150 people at three plants in two states. But Beichner’s generosity and his company’s reputation for giving back were instrumental in his selection for the award.

“We think that’s important,” Beichner said. “We’ve always thought that was important. We live in the community, we work in the community, we help support the community. Everybody doesn’t have the same opportunity we do.”

In 2017, AccuTrex’s generosity earned it the Charles C. Keller Excellence Award for Corporate Philanthropy in the small category. Presented by the Washington County Community Foundation, the award is named after a World War II pilot. 

‘Most of My Sanity’

You can trace Beichner’s fortune back to his youth. He grew up in the small river town of Charleroi, Pa., only 23 miles from where AccuTrex is headquartered in Canonsburg. After failing out of his first year at Penn State University, Beichner enlisted in the Navy—hoping to avoid combat in Vietnam. At first luck was on his side. Trained as a corpsman, he was stationed in the amputee ward of the Philadelphia Naval Hospital.

“At that point I thought everybody either came back dead or missing something,” he said.

Beichner’s luck ran out in late 1968 when he was shipped to Vietnam to serve as a corpsman with the 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines operating in I Corps.

“When (the recruiter) talked me into being a corpsman and how great the duty was, they left out the Marine Corps part,” Beichner said.  “But I was there for 12 months and came back with all my fingers and toes and most of my sanity.”

Right People, Right Time

Beichner left the service and enrolled at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh to finish his degree. His new mission was to become an English teacher. He took a part-time job working for a small, family owned company that manufactures industrial gaskets, and when a full-time job opened in the purchasing department, Beichner shifted to night classes to finish his degree. That’s as close as he got to teaching English.

“I realized that teaching jobs didn’t pay all that much back then, or even now for that matter,” he said.

Beichner worked for the gasket manufacturer until 1980, when the sons of a company founder were poised to take over. Beichner didn’t share their business philosophy. When one of the other founders invited him and several others to start a new venture making gaskets, Beichner took a chance. Each partner brought expertise in a different area, and the timing was ideal. AccuTrex Products was on its way.

“I was so fortunate to be part of this,” he said. “It was a perfect mix of people and it was at a perfect time.”

accutrex panoramic bldg

Veteran Hiring Veterans

Over the years the company expanded to manufacture custom gaskets, shims, stampings and washers for a variety of other manufacturers at its three plants in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. AccuTrex also makes the shelves that line the inside of U.S. Postal Service mail vehicles, as well as struts for Club Cart golf cart roofs. 

Beichner now owns 60 percent of the company. A couple of the original partners left the venture early on, and two remaining partners died in a 1995 plane crash. Throughout its history, philanthropy has been part of AccuTrex’s DNA. The community nonprofit organizations the company and its employees have assisted includes the Washington City Mission, a faith-based group that helps homeless veterans and others regain independence. 

 “We have been working with the Washington City Mission to try to provide employment for homeless veterans so they can get back on their feet,” Beichner said. “We are very proud to say that so far we have hired two homeless veterans that proved to be excellent employees. In addition each has been able to purchase a car and leave the City Mission, moving into  their own apartments.”

Training Transfers Well

Beichner credits much of his own success to the military. He applied many of the intangible skills he learned in the military to the business world—paying attention to detail, being on time and thinking on his feet.

“The service really, really, really trains you. I know they talk a lot about how they don’t want you to think. That’s really not true. They want you to be able to think. They also want you to be able to follow orders. That’s a real education, to have to get up every day on time, do everything on time, be here on time, do your job, do this, do that. It’s very, very structured. To me, business is almost exactly the same. Business is very structured. There are certain things that need to be done, they need to be done on a regular basis – some of them daily, some of them weekly, some of them monthly. You have to have an incredible attention to detail. And I think the service gives you an incredible attention to detail.”

COVID-19

The company’s work for defense contractors kept AccuTrex open when the COVID-19 pandemic closed many businesses considered non-essential. Yet the company had to adapt. On any given day, between 15 and 20 employees are working from home. Those in the manufacturing facilities must wear masks – not a comfortable proposition as the weather warms – even though most of the machines are at least 8 or 10 feet apart.

“I’ve washed my hands more than I probably have the whole rest of my life,” said Beichner, who is 72. “And we have been very careful.”

AccuTrex has avoided furloughing any of its workers despite a decline in orders from customers. 


The company secured a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the Small Business Administration in the first round, which helped AccuTrex get through the downturn. How long the company feels the pain of the pandemic depends on how quickly its customers recover.

“So those are all things we can’t predict, and we just don’t have any way of knowing,” Beichner said. “I would expect us to get back to some semblance of normalcy. I don’t see these people shutting down or closing down. I think most of our accounts will come back.

“I’m just glad to be open.” 

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