Jim Kettinger is Kenosha County Entrepreneur of the Year

Jim Kettinger became a shareholder of Kenosha-based IEA Inc. this year and took advantage of an opportunity to reorganize the company to further its diverse growth.

Kettinger, who had served as president and chief executive officer of IEA Inc. for five years, reorganized the company this year and changed its name to Engendren Inc. Engendren has four divisions: IEA LLC, which is continuing the company’s core radiator manufacturing business; Silver Lining Systems LLC, which manufactures thermally managed enclosures for data centers; ArcRon LLC, a steel fabrication business, and Chrysalis LLC, which will be used to invest internationally in markets that Engendren serves.

“It was a unique opportunity for me in that we had various product lines but they were not necessarily related to the legacy product line that we had,” Kettinger said. “It was a great opportunity to structure the company in a way that made sense for future growth and a way to grow each product line individually.”

Kettinger will receive the Kenosha County Entrepreneur of the Year award at the Kenosha County Business Excellence Awards presented by Kenosha Area Business Alliance and the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce.

Kettinger started consulting for IEA nine years ago, helping to turn the company around and eventually taking over leadership.

The company, which also has a location in Menomonee Falls, had 140 employees in mid-2009. It now has 255 employees. It projects revenue of $80 million in 2012.

Kettinger has helped guide Engendren into key markets, supplying cooling equipment for the growing data center industry and equipment used to cool generator engines on oil rigs.

“A key part of it is the diversification of product lines that we’ve done,” Kettinger said. “We’re trying to look ahead at what the customers need and develop products in that anticipation.”

Engendren is buying and installing equipment as fast as it can. Kettinger also has plans for future growth on the horizon.

“We’ve already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on capital equipment just since the acquisition and we have much more on tap to purchase,” he said.

With an accounting and business turnaround consulting background, Kettinger aims to look forward and use financial foresight to plan ahead.

“A key part of how we’ve grown and how we got through the recession very well is to be always looking for and always modeling our future,” Kettinger said. “We’re always projecting and managing and developing tools to help us predict where we’re going.”

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