Brehmer Manufacturing Inc.
Joe Brehmer, president and owner of Brehmer Manufacturing Inc. in Lyons, Neb., recalls the first time he became involved with the Nebraska Business Development Center.
“It was back in about 2000,” he says. “Renee (Held) pulled together a group of non-competing manufacturers. I think there were six of us, and the subject was Lean Manufacturing.” A 20-year member of the NBDC staff at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Held is a NIST-MEP Lean-certified consultant.
“I really enjoyed that experience,” Brehmer says. “I liked learning about Lean Manufacturing and being able to meet others like myself.”
Brehmer Manufacturing and NBDC have stayed in contact ever since, hosting on-site Lean consulting, leadership training and, most recently, participating in the Intensive Entrepreneurship Program. “We’re really fortunate in Nebraska to have a lot of programs available that help promote and grow businesses,” Brehmer says. “The big thing is finding them. That’s where NBDC’s services come in very handy.”
Founded in 1974 by Brehmer and his father, Reynard, Brehmer Manufacturing specializes in custom truck and hoist equipment as well as several other services that have helped the business expand into international markets.
“We started out in livestock equipment but we’ve always done a lot of custom building,” says Brehmer, who purchased his father’s interest in the company 15 years ago. “That’s what dad and I liked to do.”
They began the business in Oakland, Neb., and in 1983 moved to a building in Lyons. “We’ve since expanded seven times,” Brehmer says. “We started with 19,000 square feet and we’re up to 49,540 square feet and planning another expansion. Seems like whenever we get done with one we start another.”
The company employs 64 people “and we could use another four or five,” he says.
Being diversified has helped Brehmer Manufacturing survive at times when many markets were slumping. “The difference between us and others is that we like niche markets where we can do the design and manufacturing,” he says. For example, Brehmer Manufacturing designs and manufactures new products and alterations in current products for the A.J. O’Mara Group in South Dakota.
Brehmer Manufacturing also provides design, manufacturing and customer services for Eagle International, the nation’s leading provider of tire-recycling equipment. “We support nine different lines for them, from the tire pile to the grinders,” Brehmer says. “We’ve gone into 27 different countries with their products. We’re really big into recycling mining tires in Chile and South Africa.”
He says opportunities are no longer limited by location. “We just spent six months designing a new product communicating via Skype with a company in Australia,” he says.
Held, NBDC’s consultant, recently referred an inventor to work with Brehmer Manufacturing and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development in an innovation prototype grant program. “She knows what we’re doing up here and that helps,” Brehmer says. “Working with NBDC is a good partnership; no doubt about it.”
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