Industrial Systems & Supply
To survive and grow in an unstable economy, small businesses can greatly benefit from an advocate who offers expert advice and highlights programs that can have an immediate, positive impact. Duane Ohlrich, president of Industrial Systems & Supply Inc. in Columbus, says he has found such an advocate in Loren Kucera, director of the Nebraska Business Development Center office at Wayne State College.
"Loren has a lot of resources available and he watches out for us and our customers," Ohlrich says. "He keeps his eyes on the programs available to us and finds ways to help us grow."
Industrial Systems & Supply is a family-owned business that distributes computer-controlled machine tools for the manufacturing industry. It provides complete manufacturing systems, complex automated machines and state-of-the-art machine tools.
The company is one of only 17 distributor principles in the United States for Mazak Corp., the largest machine tool builder in the world.
Founded in 1974 as Lloyd’s Industrial, Ohlrich and a partner purchased the company in 1991. He became the sole owner and president in 1995.
In 2009, Industrial Systems & Supply secured a Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan with the Nebraska Economic Development Corporation. Kucera and the Wayne NBDC office helped package the SBA loan, which enabled the company to move from a 3,000-square-foot facility to a 14,200-square-foot building situated on a two-acre lot. The spacious "Technology Center" offers customer training, equipment run-off and joint product development, as well as expanded stocking of cutting tools, cutting lubricants and perishable machine tool components and supplies.
"Loren helped us complete the paperwork for the building," Ohlrich says. "He made a very complicated process much more understandable."
In addition, the business received technical assistance and loan packaging assistance from Kucera in 2007 and 2008, and continues an ongoing relationship with NBDC Wayne. Most recently, Kucera coached the business in the 2012 Gallup Entrepreneur Acceleration System program. The well-recognized program specifically targets small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have significant potential for economic growth.
Kucera nominated Ohlrich and his wife, Patricia, for the 2012 Nebraska SBA Small Business Persons of the Year Awardâ€”which they won.
Kucera is more than a resource to area businesses, Ohlrich says. "We’ve formed a good friendship as well as a working relationship," he says. "Everyone who knows Loren really likes him. He watches out for more than me, now he watches out for my customers, too."Ohlrich says his collaboration with the NBDC is moving Industrial Systems & Supply into another growth cycle. "Loren helped build the infrastructure so I could take the company to the next level," he says. "Of all the people I’ve met in business, he is one of the shining stars."