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Scottsbluff, NE Area Manufacturing Company Knows the Value of Hiring Local

It all began with two neighbors and a couple of beers. Roger McKiney, a 31-year veteran of the manufacturing industry, got a call one evening in 2014 from a neighbor who happened to be a real estate agent, who invited him over for a beer and a conversation. Turns out another neighbor was selling his tool and die manufacturing company, Bare Manufacturing Inc., and the realtor thought McKiney might be interested due to his long history in the industry. After a couple months of negotiation, McKiney purchased the company in March of 2015 and McKiney Manufacturing & Sales was born. They specialize in building and refurbishing tooling and equipment for the hydraulic hose manufacturing company.  McKiney says that Ingrid Battershall of the Scottsbluff location of the Nebraska Business Development Center, resource partner of the SBA, was a huge help in putting together the cash flow estimates for the loan application. “[She] was extremely helpful and nice, “says McKiney of his experience working with NBDC.

Like any business owner, McKiney faced some challenges early on. He states, “looking back, the [original] owner’s primary customer base was one specific customer. He’s spent 45 years servicing only the hydraulic hose industry, and 88% of his sales were to one company. That was a scary scenario.” It became even scarier later in 2015 when oil prices plummeted, meaning fewer capital projects were being done by McKiney’s primary account. It was time to expand into new markets and diversify the client base.

McKiney was out drumming up business leads when he happened to notice a pamphlet for a tube bender on an office desk.  It’s a $250k piece of equipment, but McKiney saw it as the key to expanding his business and purchased it in 2018, also utilizing NBDC’s assistance for putting together the financials and packaging the loan. “I can’t thank them enough,” he says. McKiney also received a LB840 grant which helped to offset the price of the tube bender and associated equipment.

This purchase definitely had a positive impact on the business. They can now produce tubes larger than 95% of their competitors and have been steadily diversifying their account holders and product offerings. While sales have been steadily increasing over the past 3 years, they doubled after the equipment purchase, and the company is expecting to see even higher sales levels in later 2019. They have even been able to expand into an additional 3375 sq ft building located across the street from the main facility.

Not only has McKiney been successful increasing sales, but he has also had a positive impact on the community due to his hiring practices. It’s important to McKiney to hire local and to cultivate long-term employees. In addition to a competitive wage, he also offers health insurance, holiday pay and paid vacation. In fact, McKiney considers his employees to be the best part of being an entrepreneur. His company is very family oriented, and McKiney and his wife strive to provide a great place to work. He believes strongly in hiring local, and frequently works with the area high school and local welding program.  “It’s hard to keep young talent in Scottsbluff, NE. Partnering with high schools and junior colleges is the future of the industry. Scottsbluff High School is really doing a great job supporting careers, not just telling [the students] to go to college and get a degree,” McKiney says about why he hires local.

And what does McKiney say is the most important thing to have as a small business owner? “A patient wife who loves you dearly.”  That love of family, and the desire to create a family friendly company where young employees not only want to work but want to stay long term, is what has helped McKiney Sales and Manufacturing grow into the successful operation it is today.

Company Name: 
McKiney Manufacturing & Sales
Location: 
Scottsbluff, NE