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Steeling for slow times

Koomler Sons Inc.

Address: 3820 Superior Ridge Drive

At a glance: A specialty steel fabrication company that serves mechanical, industrial and commercial customers.

Employees: 12

When was the company founded: 1990

Biggest accomplishment in the past 12 months: Continuing to operate in the black. The company also purchased a second fabrication machine.

What was your biggest mistake in operating this business: Not hiring an in-house controller in the 1990s when the company was growing fast. The business could have benefited by someone with an accounting background who understood business tax laws.

What are the key challenges facing your business or industry: Finding qualified help. Locating good employees is difficult because a lot of kids out there have alcohol and drug problems.

What is your strategy for staying ahead of your competition: By not running up a lot of debt, the business is able to be more nimble when an economic downturn happens.

What resources have you found most helpful in running a business: Partnering with solid customers like Dana Corp., Ball Corp., Shambaugh Son and BFGoodrich.

What are your growth projections for the next five years: Between 2 percent and 7 percent.

What is one thing about your business that people might not be aware of: The versatility of its welding and fabrication capabilities. The business can do small as well as big jobs. Koomler put in the structural steel for the Fort Wayne bicentennial globe in 1994, which was created to celebrate the city’s founding in 1794.

If you weren’t running this business, what would you be doing: A project manager for another sheet metal shop.

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