With nearly 60 years of combined experience, Fort Wayne entrepreneurs David Maberson and Gary Jackson have seen a lot of changes occur in the tool and die industry. They have observed the industry going full circle, with work that was originally completed by expert U.S. craftsmen being shipped overseas by companies wanting to take advantage of lower labor rates, and now returning to the U.S. due to quality issues and problems with proprietary infringement by the offshore businesses.
With this in mind, Maberson and Jackson felt the time was right to go back to the basics of quality production and customer service in establishing a new tool and die company, which they have named 101 Tool & Die, LLC to reflect their business philosophy. The plan is for 101 Tool & Die to operate as a multifunctional, progressive die company. The business will design and craft dies and stamp parts, build complete assemblies, and offer spare tooling services and problem tooling solutions while serving a variety of U.S. customers from the medical, automotive, aerospace, defense and manufacturing industry sectors.
To introduce the new business to Northeast Indiana, there was an open house Saturday, May 25, at the firm's headquarters, located at 4033 Transportation Drive, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46818, just off of Huguenard Road. The public was invited to tour the new facility and meet the owners while attending the event.
Maberson and Jackson say their business will focus on quality and consistency by merging the latest technology with the older, more traditional methods for tool and die making. While creating high-quality products, they plan to concentrate on exceptional service. "101 Tool & Die, LLC will treat all customers with unparalleled results in the industry regarding innovations, leadership, delivery and quality," according to Maberson.
Both owners bring a strong level of competency in the tool and die industry and have well-established relationships with business owners and engineers needing those types of services. Maberson and Jackson plan to work closely with sales and design engineers, cultivating relationships and helping bring their designs to fruition while keeping costs down. "By doing this, we hope to enhance the engineers' work performance so that we all succeed," Maberson said.
The entrepreneurs have been working with the Northeast ISBDC to start their business. Maberson first met with NE-ISBDC Regional Director Jane Rich around four years ago to gather information and lay the foundation for his business idea. In January 2013, he returned to the center with Jackson to refine the idea and carry it forward, receiving help with a business plan and financial projections and taking advantage of several key contacts in the community that Rich provided. They secured an SBA-guaranteed 7a business loan through Three Rivers Federal Credit Union to purchase equipment, positioning them to immediately offer a full range of tool and die services to their customers.
101 Tool's equipment includes a brand-new Sodick VZ 300L wire EDM, a CEDM, CNC milling and lathe equipment, surface-grinding equipment, as well as a fully-equipped tool shop. While the company currently employs just the two owners and one part-time employee, they anticipate hiring more workers as additional business is acquired. "Our goal is to eventually have 20 to 25 employees working out of a larger facility," Jackson said.