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Advanced Metal Components Uses SBA 7(a) Loan To Cut Its Debt Costs, and Save Rural Georgia Jobs
When the recession hit Advanced Metal Components (AMC) Inc. three years ago, the company and its 130 employees in Swainsboro had a backlog of work to carry them forward for another 12 months or better.
However, Doug Brown, who took over the family-owned business in 1999, realized he would soon need new financing for fresh working capital, and to take the business to a new level of production to handle orders after the economy started to improve.
Brown, a graduate of Georgia Tech with a passion for engineering, would turn to Spivey State Bank in Swainsboro for an SBA guaranteed loan of $3.2 million. This loan, under the SBA’s 7(a) program, closed in March, 2011. It allowed Brown’s company to cut its debt service on several existing bank loans by half, thereby freeing up vital cash flow while providing $250,000 in new working capital to help weather the recession. At the same time, the loan saved dozens of good-paying jobs in rural Emanuel County, Georgia.
The Spivey Bank loan was also used to purchase a $500,000 computer controlled hydraulic, punch press machine with an automatic loan and unload system. “This machine drops the time it takes to cut each job by about 30 percent with its automatic load and unload feature,” said Brown. “Last year, we didn’t have the punching capacity to stay up with demand.”
When his parents started the business with two employees in 1977, the late Richard Brown and his wife Regina had very little fabrication equipment, basically a couple of old mechanical punch presses, a metal shear and a surface grinder.
But by 1981, the Browns were embarking on a major expansion of the company, adding state-of-the-art fabricating equipment with additional investments in training skilled operators. The company moved into a new 60,000 square foot industrial building in 1989 after at least four separate production improvements during that decade.
The company’s path of expansion would continue under their son, Doug Brown, who became AMC president in 2003. By this time, the company had grown into a much larger 127,000 square foot facility.
After he joined the company, Doug Brown would serve as Vice President of Sales and Engineering, helping to diversify and increased company sales. Later he became Vice President of Operations, managing personnel and the entire plant. After proving his management abilities, Brown bought out his mother’s interest in the company. His father, a well-respected businessman and community leader, unfortunately died in 1995 as a result of a plane crash.
Brown directs the company’s operations with the help of Danny Palmer, Director of Manufacturing.
Brown says the year 2009 and the first half of 2010 were very difficult for the company. By March of 2009, AMC employment had dropped to only 83 workers. But following Brown’s SBA-backed loan, employment and business have started to pick up substantially.
“Our loan was critical,” says Brown now with 150 employees. “It allowed us to keep going and add employees to gain new business.”
“Since January of 2011, our sales have shown a steady increase,” he continued. “Last August was a 56 percent increase over January of 2011 which was our best year ever.”
Brown credits Ryan Waldrop, a staff person with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, with steering him to a 7(a) bank loan as the best way to refinance his business. And since the loan was approved under the American Recovery and Investment Act, Brown was able to save over $100,000 in loan fees that were waived under the act. The Small Business Assistance Corporation, an SBA Certified Development Company in Savannah, packaged the AMC loan for Spivey Bank.
As a precision sheet metal fabricator, AMC offers contract manufacturing services to businesses in the industrial equipment, medical, refrigeration, mass transit, and telecommunications industries.
Doug Brown, President
Advanced Metal Components Inc.
720 Empire Expressway
Swainsboro, GA 30401