Success Stories

A local firm specializing in custom wrought iron doors will soon open its doors in Jefferson County, Alabama. The new facility will create 30 new manufacturing jobs that were previously part of Mexican plant who custom manufactured the doors on a outsource basis.

“I agree it is a little strange in this day and age to return manufacturing from a lower wage foreign location back to the USA,” Eduardo Cuneo, the owner and local entrepreneuer of Old Iron Doors, LLC. “But the fact is for the custom work we do, Old Iron Doors wanted complete quality control on site here.”

“In this way, Cueno went on, “We could avoid having to re-work costly mistakes or simple changes from the foreign plant, not to mention eliminating the high transport costs for moving the semi-finished product from Mexico to Birmingham.”

Old Iron Doors is a custom design and manufacturing enterprise and one of two businesses owned by Cueno, who is originally from Lima, Peru. He moved to... Read More

After struggling since 1996, Barbara and Kevin, the owners of McClain Construction in Andalusia, AL were tired. They had had what could only be termed limited success.

McClain Construction Company had been born out of the ashes of a previous business venture selling ATVs and watercraft. But it had struggled. To be sure, McClain Construction, an ALDOT-licensed construction company, had achieved some success. They had worked hard to improve their work, and they had won some contracts on bridge work components in AL. But it had been tough to find regular projects.

Barbara McClain: “Sometimes, the only recourse to laying off their work force was to go to the bank and borrow money to make the payroll so those valuable employees could take their wages home to meet their bills. We did that without hesitation because we have always tried to treat our employees like family. We had to do what was fair for them.”

The Company’s financial fate was about to... Read More

Andy Givens, who owns Lamtech, Inc. in Florence, AL, loved to work with wood as an adolescent. High school shop classes at Wilson High (Lauderdale County) and Allen Thornton Vo-tech School in Killen only intensified his natural inclination. He appreciated working with wood - cutting it, shaping it, polishing it. He particularly enjoyed seeing how the final product of his woodworking would turn out.

Andy graduated from high school in 1985.

He started Lamtech - then named Fixture Perfect - in 1992, but it was only after a lot of research and counseling from the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of North Alabama (UNA) while he held various jobs. While he attended SBDC workshops, he heard something he has never forgotten: a local businessman got up; and told the audience that “…as long as you are happy, you are successful.” It has stuck in his mind to this day.

Later a SBDC counselor helped Andy prepare his business plan.... Read More

While many U.S. companies are buying products from China or setting up factories there, one Alabama company exports its products and services to China. Electric Systems & Controls, a Birmingham-based firm in business since 1960, has found a niche in the Chinese market.

It seems Electric Systems and Controls’ excellent international reputation preceded it to China. The company, under its present ownership (Gregory Bray is President and CEO) since 1980, is well known in the foundry, cement, and paper industries for its engineering and production processing machinery for heavy industrial plants. It had some experience in international work, but nothing on the scale of what the Chinese wanted.

Greg Bray tells how it happened: “It seems a Chinese salesman, while he visited Weichai Power Co., had an American magazine that featured one of our advertisements. He showed it to the right person, who initiated the contact with Bray in Birmingham. “That salesman now... Read More