Home » CONTRACTOR SPOTLIGHT: Cox Engineering


For 95 years, Cox Engineering has proudly partnered with SMW17. While working on the Boston Opera House in 1924, Cox Engineering became a signatory contractor with Sheet Metal Workers Local 17, beginning what is now a successful 95-year partnership.

Cox Engineering has grown from a small outpost on Putnam Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where it made sheet metal pieces for airplanes during World War I, to a 65,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Randolph, Massachusetts. The skilled men and women of SMW17 and Cox have teamed up on some of Boston’s most iconic projects, including Gillette Stadium and the Boston Convention Center.

Jon Desmond, the owner of Cox Engineering, credits the company’s success in large part to its close collaboration with Local 17. Cox now has two production contracts with the union, employing about 130 members.

With such a strong and productive partnership between SMW17 and Cox, it’s no wonder that business is booming. Desmond says the company is looking to expand its current location in Randolph, where it relocated in 2017: “We’ve already outgrown it!”

Desmond’s grandfather was the general manager before buying the company in the mid-1950’s. “My grandfather had a great relationship with Local 17,” he says. “And we’re still great partners today.”

Desmond’s father took over the business in the 1980s and shepherded the company’s expansion from two manufacturing divisions to a full mechanical contractor with four business units: Cox Engineering, Cox Engineering Service Co., Cambridgeport Custom and Cambridgeport Air Systems.

Desmond started with the company when he was still in high school. He worked during summer break as a laborer on the shop floor. In college, he worked in the estimating department and later became an assistant project manager. Today, he’s proud to be the owner and has led the company’s tremendous growth from 180 employees five years ago to a total of 275 today.

When asked what his grandfather would think about Cox Engineering today and the company’s successful partnership with SMW17, Desmond says, “The fact that we’ve already filled up a 65,000 square foot manufacturing facility and we’re looking to expand is a cool thing.”

We’re proud of our nearly century-long partnership with Cox Engineering and the hard work our members do every day to support the company’s continued growth and success.