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Updated: April 4, 2022 / Manufacturing Excellence Awards 2022

Manufacturing awards: Burkart-Phelan works with artists to develop the perfect instruments

Photo/courtesy Burkart-Phelan Lillian Burkart

Lillian Burkart, a flutist, founded her company Burkart-Phelan, Inc. in 1982, after receiving technical training in the construction of flutes. Located in Shirley, Burkart-Phelan has grown to be an internationally recognized maker of flutes and piccolos.

“The job is so cool, so awesome,” Burkart said.

Burkart-Phelan, Inc.

Burkart started her company during a time when it wasn’t common for women to be involved in the manufacturing of instruments.

But that didn’t deter Burkart, whose workforce includes many women involved in the construction of flutes and piccolos.

The company works with professional musicians and recording artists, as well as aspiring student musicians. The company is branching out to younger musicians, those students in middle school and high school. The company has developed a mid-price instrument for those students who have a serious interest in pursuing music, in order to help them develop their hand skills.

Despite inflation, Burkart-Phelan is determined to maintain its quality, using precious metals of gold, silver, and platinum to create its flutes and piccolos. The images of the instruments on the company’s website literally glow off the screen, gleaming and sleek flutes, giving off a magical aura.

The company is hiring, seeking assembly technicians, who would receive on-the-job training for a year from flutists. The trainer would provide a new technician the knowledge needed by observing every stage of the production process. Many flutists work at Burkart-Phelan, which brings a level of expertise to the construction of the flutes.

Burkart holds weekly meetings to discuss proposals for new innovations for instruments. A discussion is held with the engineer on the proposal. The company works with input from musicians who provide the company with their instrument needs. The production of high-quality instruments can take several weeks or months, depending on design requirements.

Lillian Burkart has been a fixture in the Shirley community as she sits on boards to work with vocational education professionals, supporting vocation education in schools.

2022 Manufacturing Excellence Awards

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