Issue Mar Apr 15
When people come to work at Therma-Tron-X (TTX) Inc., they must have a passion for what they do, co-owner Chad Andreae says. “We love coming up with solutions for our customers and we love exceeding the expectations.
“Customers can see that we give it our all and we have developed a reputation for being innovative, can-do problem solvers,” he continues. “Success comes out of doing what you love.”
Based in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., TTX manufactures automated E-coat, powder and liquid paint finishing systems and water and wastewater treatment systems for manufacturers and contract shop coaters. Founders Otto Andreae and Ray Sherman started the company in 1969 as a producer of custom-built industrial ovens.
Since then, TTX has produced thousands of systems used by manufacturers including Caterpillar, Oshkosh Corp. and Toyota. “It is our desire at Therma-Tron-X Inc. to develop a long-lasting relationship with our customers based on honesty, integrity and good business practices,” Chad Andreae says. “When awarded with a system order, we will strive to develop a lasting relationship.”
All systems TTX builds come with a commitment, he adds. “It takes months of planning, fabricating and installing to bring a system to life and our goal is that the system fulfills the needs of the customer for the long haul.”
The Andreae family’s ownership of TTX is in its third generation, which allows consistency in its management, co-owner Bradley Andreae says. “We have a likeness in our approach, a common goal and pride in what we do,” he explains.
“We want to come to work and have fun each day,” Andreae continues. “We trust each other, we trust our employees and they trust us. Generations of my family have built TTX up and generations of employees’ families have been right at our side.”
Coping With Shortages
TTX is coping with the challenge of an aging workforce, Bradley Andreae says. What makes this more difficult is that there is a shortage of skilled and trained tradespeople throughout the United States.
“One reason for this skills gap is that educational policies attempt to push all students to four-year degrees and do not place emphasis on apprenticeship programs and two-year, technical schooling,” he says, noting that TTX partners with local schools and the community on job-shadowing programs, class tours and presentations.
“TTX works with local high schools and tech schools in curriculum development and internships as well as actually developing their own curriculum to be taught at a local technical college,” Andreae says. “TTX also advises and stays involved in educational policy development at a local and state level.”
Another unfortunate trend TTX reports is a decline in industry integrity. “It is nearly impossible to do business on a handshake or a promise anymore,” he says. “All you can really do is make sure you have all the bases covered and then strive to hold onto your own principles and beliefs.”
TTX enjoys sharing its success with charities. “We take a practical approach to community service,” Bradley Andreae states.
“If there is a need seen in the community and we can use TTX’s skills and resources to give back, we will.
“This could be something as simple as building goals for a local soccer field or something more involved, such as using the company plane to take a family across the country to see a cancer specialist,” he explains.
The Right Path
Chad Andreae predicts more success for TTX. “[We are] going to continue down the same path that has brought us to this point,” he says.
“Each new season brings challenges that cause us to assess what we are doing and make changes where needed,” he says. “Nothing we do has ever been static and it never will be.”