The new plant -- staffed initially by about 17 people beginning in July 1968 and by more than 300 a year later -- began business by manufacturing computer cables for use in IBM's entire standard computer line. Ernest K. Friedli, a 21-year IBM veteran, was named as the plant's first general manager.
Ernest K. Friedli (seated), general manager of IBM's Brooklyn, N.Y., plant, with members of the facility's management team in May 1968. Shown from left are Henry Jackson, manager of personnel; John W. Lawson, production control manager; Edgar A. Fitt, information manager; Alfred J. Iannone, manager, plans and operations; Matthew Whithead, II, legal counsel; Eugene E. Douglas, manager of manufacturing operations; Dean M. Kintner, staff assistant; and Eric J. Flood, controller.
Cable production was started on July 8, 1968 in a small area on the second floor. Brooklyn's first shipment of external cables went to IBM's huge Poughkeepsie plant, in upstate New York. Four months later, the Brooklyn site took on a second product mission: the manufacture of power supplies for the IBM 029 card punch and the IBM 059 card verifier. Power supply units provided the exact amounts of electrical power necessary to operate these machines, and Brooklyn began shipping its first completed power supply units to IBM's Kingston, N.Y., factory in January 1969.