GEM Manufacturing Inc. is Small Business of the Year

Bristol-based GEM Manufacturing Inc. has nearly doubled its manufacturing space and its workforce in the past two years.

GEM Manufacturing Inc.

Industry: CNC milling & contract manufacturing

Address: 19708 84th Place in Bristol and 8920 58th Place in Kenosha

Employees: 34

Annual revenues: $5 million

GEM, or Gottschalk Engineering, Machining and Manufacturing, recently opened a second, 10,000-square-foot facility and has hired 15 employees in the past two years.

The CNC milling and turning contract manufacturer also has been investing in new equipment and increasing its customer base, including Cleveland-based Eaton Corp., a Fortune 500 company, since owners Kevin and Robert Gottschalk bought GEM, then Specialty Machining Inc., in 2006.

“We took the opportunity in the downturn in 2009 to add three additional machines,” Kevin Gottschalk said. “With the additional business, current customer base, and with the added new customer, we were expecting and got additional growth.”

The company will receive the Kenosha County Small Business of the Year award during the Kenosha County Business Excellence Awards presented by the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 3.

The company was founded by Lynne and Mario Morrone in 1973 as a contract screw machine shop at 19708 84th Place in Bristol. It expanded to CNC work and grew to $2.5 million in sales by 2006, said CEO Kevin Gottschalk.

Today, revenue has doubled and the company has 34 employees. The new facility, at 8920 58th Place in Kenosha, houses the company’s milling operations, while the Bristol factory specializes in turning.

“We set the table for being able to double again in the next five years,” Gottschalk said.

The Gottschalks have reorganized the facilities into lean cells and worked to reduce set-up times at machines by combining operations.

Plates, bushings, spindles, bolts and many other small metal parts are manufactured at GEM, and the company focuses on making the product complete to order. It sends parts for heat treating, plating, coating and grinding, as well as doing some light assembly and packaging, so they are ready to use when shipped to the customer, Gottschalk said.

GEM works mainly with the heavy equipment, industrial, agriculture, military and food industries. It has about 30 active customers and makes more than 2,000 different parts per year for an international market.

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