Brehmer Mfg., Inc. has been named the 2018 Exporter of the Year by the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. NBDC is funded in part through a cooperative program with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Export Business of the Year is awarded to a Nebraska business that successfully sells and delivers products or services internationally. The award was presented on March 13th during a luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion in Lincoln, NE.
In 1974 a father and son team founded a small manufacturing shop with the family name. Reynard and Joe Brehmer started Brehmer Mfg., Inc. in Oakland Neb., and in 1983 moved to a building in Lyons where they have expanded eight separate times; growing from 19,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet. What has been the key to Brehmer’s ability to expand and grow throughout the years? Diversity.
Brehmer Mfg. has many business divisions in a broad range of markets including dry fertilizer tenders, hog feeding equipment, truck customization, and more recently fitness equipment. But the one division that has brought them international attention is Eagle International (Eagle).
“This is something we’ve put 30 years of effort into,” states President Joe Brehmer. Eagle currently has customers in 27 countries and Brehmer Mfg. is working on adding three additional foreign markets. Brehmer has personally been involved with every aspect of design for this line of tire-reduction equipment. Eagle equipment is designed to debead, derim, and reduce the size of tires from standard car tires up to giant over-the-road (OTR) tires.
When Eagle started in 1991, Brehmer Mfg. provided the design, manufacturing and customer services for the startup which became the nation’s leading provider of tire-recycling equipment and reached into Chile and South Africa. Brehmer acquired Eagle International in 2017.
Brehmer Mfg. Sales Representative John Tejkl says, “Now that we have taken Eagle on board there are a few, if any, competitors who can operate at the capacity we can.” In the tire-recycling industry, Eagle carries high brand recognition and Brehmer is relying on that to help push into new markets.
In addition to foreign sales, Tejkl says the company is working to establish dealers internationally. “We have one [dealer] who currently covers five countries, and we are getting others officially signed on,” says Tejkl.
This international reach is the product of research, training and hard work by Brehmer and his company, but also through work with the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC). The NBDC has provided advice, information and training to Brehmer Mfg. since 2000, when NBDC Consultant Renee Held gathered a group of non-competing manufacturers to learn about lean manufacturing processes. “I really enjoyed that experience,” Brehmer says. “I liked learning about lean manufacturing and being able to meet others like myself.”
“We’re really fortunate in Nebraska to have a lot of programs available that help promote and grow businesses.”Joe Brehmer, President of Brehmer Mfg., Inc. the parent company of Eagle International
Since then, the company has hosted several workshops and training about lean manufacturing.
“We’re really fortunate in Nebraska to have a lot of programs available that help promote and grow businesses,” continued Brehmer. “The big thing is finding [those programs]. That’s where NBDC’s serves come in very handy.”
Brehmer Mfg. employs 52 people fulltime and “we’re fighting to recruit more,” he says.
The company continues to innovate and improve its line of products with patents pending on three new products, including a universal system to help load pontoon boats on to trailers.
NBDC has assisted Brehmer Mfg. with market research obtained through Nebraska’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) to assess the potential for sales in several foreign markets. NBDC also helped with distribution agreements and resources for developing opportunities in Russia.
“The people we have worked with at NBDC have helped our company in a number of ways,” Brehmer acknowledges. “We appreciate their knowledge and expertise.”
To learn more about how Eagle International was founded and it’s connection to Brehmer Mfg., Inc., visit our About Eagle page.