With almost 100 years of experience, EC Styberg Engineering (Styberg) has been operating as a trusted, leading contract manufacturer of custom metal fabrication parts, assemblies and protypes since 1927. The company specializes in the fabrication of medium to heavy gauge metal transmission components for customers in a range of industries. From its 185,000-square-foot facility in Racine, Wisconsin, the company has produced parts for almost all emergency equipment in the United States as well as parts for defense aviation, military vehicles, construction equipment, fork trucks and marine stern drive products. Recently, Styberg has expanded production to include components for high-performance automobiles.
The company first got its start in 1927, when E.C. Styberg Sr. started his tool and die business from a car garage behind his house in Racine, Wisconsin. Mr. Styberg was a talented tooling engineer and successfully acquired several patents for different products over the years. The successful launch of the company was an impressive feat during the Great Depression of the 1920s, and in time the business moved towards the aerospace industry, which supported the war effort during the Second World War. After the war ended, the company started to expand into the heavy-duty transmissions market and since then has continued to diversify its product lines into military, construction, fork truck, and marine applications.
In the early 2000s, the business became more involved with laser welding, laser identifications and laser cutting. This expansion demonstrates the continuous development of the company’s processing capabilities. Currently, Styberg’s capabilities extend across a broad range of areas including precision metal stamping, welding, metal straightening and flattening and heat treating. As company President, John Baker, explains: “Over the years, our company has expanded into the areas which the business has led us towards. We aim to continue adding a new manufacturing skill or process to our list of capabilities every five years or so, to ensure that the business is always growing. But one thing remains constant about the company: if a product is made out of metal, we can make it.” The wide range of processes that the company is able to carry out in-house helps to save time and money and also facilitates flexibility in production processes and part variety. This has the added benefit of keeping costs low for the customer and enables the company to continually deliver on its core values of fair pricing, dependable quality and great service.
Due to the highly technical and complex nature of the work that it carries out, Styberg has obtained a list of professional qualifications within a range of sectors which helps it to remain competitive in the market. This ensures that the company is always up to date with the latest quality and up-to-date manufacturing requirements so that the customer receives the highest quality product every time. Since the company manufactures parts used for the critical internal assemblies of a range of heavy-duty equipment such as aircraft engines, heavy armoured combat vehicles for the military, construction equipment and marine equipment, it is crucial that each part meets the exact dimensions and specifications provided by the customer.
Commitment to community
Providing high quality customer service is just as important at Styberg as ensuring that its products are manufactured to a high standard. In addition to the company’s extensive skill set and product range, Styberg also provides its customers with a variety of other benefits including pre-production prototypes, making equipment and providing facilities for individual customer processes and concurrent engineering.
As a truly home-grown success story, the company has always prioritized contributing to the local community. Prior to his passing in 2018, Mr. Styberg Jr. and his wife, who have no children, decided that the business would become an employee-owned company by entering into an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). In July 2021, the company became 100 percent employee owned. Mr. Styberg and his wife sold the business to the employees for just $1.00 a share, an unbelievably generous gesture which truly demonstrates how much they valued their employees and wanted to keep the business alive in the local community. The Stybergs also formed the Styberg Foundation, a charitable organization which has donated millions of dollars to support educational, health care research, and various local civic programs. In addition, the company has made donations of time and money to high schools and technical colleges located in the Racine area, enabling them to buy robots, support STEM initiatives, and develop a new machine repair education program. Five years ago, Styberg was named Manufacturer of the Year by the Racine Area Manufacturing and Commerce (RAMAC) organization because of their commitment to exceptional work in the industry and their continued contribution to the community.
In recent years, staff shortages are being experienced widely across the US, particularly in skill-based industries. In an attempt to combat these shortages, Styberg decided to start employing individuals from the prison system. This has proven to be a mutually beneficial arrangement. Individuals from the program receive classes and hands-on training in CNC machining as well as valuable work experience. This enables the individuals to develop important knowledge and skills which will prepare them for future employment opportunities. John Baker sheds light on the effectiveness of this initiative, both for the company and for the individuals involved in the program: “There is around an 80 percent success rate of people that come to work for us from the program, and we have gone on to hire every single one of them who was able to stay in the area after they finished serving their sentence.” He continues: “At the moment, we have around 15 people from the prison system and the training we provide gives them the skills to work for anyone using CNC machining. This provides some sense of direction for their future.” It is through initiatives such as these that the business keeps the legacy and reputation of Mr. Styberg Jr., and his contribution to the people that make the business run, alive.
Sustainability is also a core focus area for Styberg, and the company has launched several environmentally friendly initiatives. Examples include using reusable shipping containers, fitting new LED lightbulbs throughout the facility, and installing more efficient air compressors. Potential future projects include utilizing solar power to further reduce the company’s impact on the environment.
Looking towards the future, Styberg has invested several million dollars into technology for improving and automating processes, which it intends to continue doing over the next few years. The company is also hoping to expand its capabilities in 3D printing, which has only quite recently started to influence industries working in metals. The business is keen to continue its growth and is currently focused on carrying out a complete refurbishment of its marketing strategy, in the hopes of directing the company into new types of steel component business and penetrating new markets. Styberg looks set to continue its journey towards future growth and skills expansion, whilst at the same time continuing to prioritize its corporate social responsibility and contributions to the local community.