The five fastest-growing companies of the Future 50 in 2012 are understandably bullish about the future.
The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s Council of Small Business Executives (COSBE) recently unveiled the “Fastest Five” to be:
- National Technologies Inc., an Oak Creek provider of precision machined custom components and assemblies. The company projects $31 million in revenues in 2012. The firm was founded in 1959 and is led by president Thomas Harrington.
- Wisconsin Steel & Tube Corp., a Wauwatosa metal service center distributing bar, tube and pipe products. The company projects $61 million in revenues in 2012. The firm was founded in 1950 and is led by president Joseph Teich.
- Weldall Manufacturing, a Waukesha metal fabrication and metal processing manufacturer. The company projects $50 million in revenues in 2012. The firm was founded in 1973 and is led by president Dave Bahl Sr.
- Engendren Corp., a Kenosha provider of large industrial radiators for internal combustion engines and thermally managed modular data center enclosures for technical equipment such as computer servers. The company projects $80 million in revenues in 2012. The firm was founded in 1985 and is led by president James Kettinger Sr.
- Key Technical Solutions Inc., a Wauwatosa engineering firm. The company projects $11 million in revenues in 2012. The firm was founded in 1993 and is led by chief executive officer Tim Galante.
Combined, these five companies project some $233 million in sales this year.
What can we take away from this list of gazelles? Well for starters, these companies have been around for years, some for decades. They also are not exactly flashy, high-tech, Johnny-come-lately types of enterprises.
Their responses to the Future 50 survey were interesting.
Harrington validated the oft-mentioned skills gap in Wisconsin, as he said the shortage of skill machinists will be the major obstacle to his company’s growth. “Fewer young people are looking to make a career in manufacturing, and many older machinists are close to retirement age,” he said.
Teich is just plain bullish. “I am very optimistic that business will continue to be steady until the end of the year,” he said.
Bahl said business diversification is key for his company. “Our business outlook is good. The fact that we are able to diversify our customer base through many different industries allows us to weather most situations well,” he said.
Kettinger said his company has survived by continuing to develop new products. “The recession has been over for a long time for us. We emerged from it stronger than when we entered it,” he said.
Galante is hopeful for some post-November political cooperation. “I think that if the economy doesn’t get a sucker punch, and politicians start behaving and working together, we will be growing,” he said.
BizTimes tallied up the responses of all of the Future 50 companies to gain a gauge of where the economy is headed. Of the 50 respondents, 48 percent described their company’s outlook as “strong,” “solid” or “good.” Twenty-four percent used words such as “very optimistic,” “robust,” “very strong” or “excellent” to describe their prospects.
Combined, that means that an impressive 72 percent are bullish to some degree about the future.
Only 2 percent described their prospects as “bad,” while 26 percent said their future was “mixed,” “flat” or “slow.”
One way or another, many company leaders have told us they will appreciate the clarity of having the November presidential election behind them, even if they may not like the results.