Badger Alloys

Badger Alloys
5120 W. State St., Milwaukee
Industry: Manufacturing
Employees: 122

Rob Cowen, president of Milwaukee-based Badger Alloys, took over the business from his father in 1997. The family business was started in 1966, and despite seeing a drop in revenue during the Great Recession, is poised for substantial growth moving forward.

“The recession definitely had an impact on our business and many others,” Cowen said. “We dropped about 40 percent in revenue in 2009, but strategically, we put in place some of our lean initiatives and started looking for other opportunities for growth.”

The company invested capital in several pieces of equipment to try and stay ahead of the curve, and focused on becoming lean in not only labor and production, but also in energy efficiency and other operational processes, he said.

“We deal in short-run engineering products for our customers,” Cowen said. “We’re 100 percent reliant on our customer base and what they need, but our unique market has also helped us survive.”

Cowen credits the dedication and the commitment of the people who work within the company.

“I don’t look at our employees as numbers. They are part of our family,” Cowen said. “It’s our job to do what we can to make their lives better and that’s not just eight hours a day – that’s 24/7.”

According to Cowen, his mantra is “We’re in this together. Win together. Lose together.”

Last year, when the company performed better than expected, Cowen awarded all of his employees with an additional eight days of pay, he said.

“It comes down to sharing in the rewards,” he said. “It may not happen every year, but when the company performs well it’s because of the people doing the work, and we like to reward them for it.”

Cowen is optimistic about the long-term future of the company, and expects more growth as the company obtains new clients and continues to work closely to enhance and strengthen the relationships with existing clients, he said.

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