In 1963, Miller Pentecost established Power & Telephone Supply Company as a reliable source for tools and other products contractors needed to save both time and money in completing their projects on time. To do this, he developed relationships with manufacturers that saw the benefit of having a sales partner that could help them eliminate or reduce their storage costs and align their product roadmaps to the customer projects and future outlook and demand forecasts.

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If there is a metal component to a product, there’s a very good chance Norican Group has been involved in some way. President and CEO Robert Joyce says the company services more than 15,000 active customers in just about 100 countries, from global market leaders to small, local operations. 

The company’s worldwide reach and significant local capabilities mean Norican Group can get involved virtually anywhere along the supply chain for components. 

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Rather than waiting for customers to bring ideas to them, executives, industrial designers, manufacturing engineers and manufacturing experts at MPE Inc. keep prospective and current customers informed about the latest design and manufacturing innovations in their fields. Customers’ needs range from complete designs of products to value-engineering, designing for manufacturability and manufacturing of components or completed products.

MPE specializes in the design and manufacture of medical carts, consoles, tables, metal fabrications and assemblies for medical and high technology original equipment manufacturers. Some of the products MPE designs and manufactures for medical equipment companies enable specialists to quickly and easily transport a computer and the medical equipment needed for a specific diagnosis or treatment around a hospital, clinic or emergency room.

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For Lanz Cabinets, it was a change in focus from single-family to multifamily dwellings that triggered rapid growth for the second-generation family company founded in 1960. 

“When we took it over it was pretty small,” says President Brent Lanz, a member of the company’s second generation. “There were about eight to 10 employees manufacturing custom cabinets. It was a mom-and-pop type thing. Since the 1980s until now, we’ve built it up to 360 employees. So we’ve really grown over the years. That happened when we changed the focus from single-family to multifamily. Although we still maintain the single-family component of the business, the real growth came from multifamily sales.”

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Jim Rutkowski Sr. started Industrial Sales and Manufacturing (ISM) Inc. with a single drill press in a one-car garage in Erie, Pa. The company’s current facilities are only five blocks away, but that’s no indication of how far the company actually has come since 1963. Jim Rutkowski Jr., the company’s general manager and treasurer, says ISM has grown into a major contract manufacturer of components for OEMs across multiple sectors, and credits its flexibility, skilled workforce, diverse equipment capabilities and services for that success. 

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When Horizon Systems got its start in the manufacturing business, it formed as a kind of catchall for the material-handling needs of various industries. The company engineers and manufactures material-handling equipment such as blowers, airlocks, valves and gates, filters and cyclones, storage and flow aids, vacuum sequencing, extruder lift systems, and bag and bulk bag-handling systems. These are used to connect anchor equipment – the mixers, extruders, dryers, ovens, toasters, coaters and coolers – for an efficient flow of material throughout the manufacturing process. Back in 1983, Horizon Systems worked for any and all types of companies, but it found its true value in working within ­niche markets. 

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As Grupo Tecno celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, owner and President Aaron Porraz attributes his company’s long-standing success to his employees. “The largest value of this company is in those who work here,” he says. “They are worth more than my credentials – they’re very creative.” 

The company – which provides corporate and public institutions with complex technological solutions – is made up of almost 400 employees whom Porraz greets individually each day. Every morning, he enters the building from the bottom floor and begins to work his way upstairs as he greets each person. “Sometimes it takes an hour to say hello to everyone,” he relates, “but people appreciate it.”

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For Fox Valley Metal-Tech Inc., there’s more to being a successful company than just making quality products or the financial bottom line. “I believe if you want to get something out of our industry you have to give something back,” says John West, president of the Green Bay, Wis.-based custom metal fabrication company.  “Staying involved in our industry and community is very important to us.”

Read more: Fox Valley Metal-Tech Inc.


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