After working for two area companies that wound up closing, Bob Nehrt decided it was time to switch gears and take a leap of faith.
He spent several years working at American Can Co. in Austin before moving on to Emconite in Medora.
Emconite employees went on strike at one point, and the company later pulled tooling from its business.
“When they took the tooling out, I said, ‘That’s enough,'” Nehrt said. “But I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
He and his wife, Ileen, talked it over and decided to start their own business.
In 1974, Quality Tool and Design opened along State Road 250 east of Brownstown with Bob running the business and his wife taking care of the office work.
In 1982, their son, Tony, joined the company, which at that point had grown to about eight employees.
Tony purchased the business from his father in 1994 and renamed it Brownstown Quality Tool and Design.
Then in 2015, a couple of the company’s employees, Jared “J.R.” Cummings and Jesse Wheeler, bought the business from Tony and renamed it Brownstown Quality Tool and Automation.
Now 42 years into the business, the owners are looking into building a new facility in town because they have run out of room for additional machinery at their current location.
If that drums up enough extra business, the number of employees could increase.
That big change along with the uncertainty of the future economy has Cummings a little worried, he said, but the two people who started the business have confidence that the current leadership will continue strong relationships with customers, providing quality products and maintaining the family feel of the company.
Read the full story in Friday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.