First incubation launched for HVI, local business


This 2,475-square-foot building, owned by HV, is the new home for Hillsboro Manufacturing.

The first incubation partnership between Hillsboro Ventures Inc. and a fledgling local-owned business is formally under way.

Hillsboro Manufacturing Inc., a precision metal machining company begun in November 2006 by two Hillsboro residents, is the new the occupant of an 2,475-square-foot building purchased by HVI at 301 N. Cedar.

?They got us a place to live,? Nathan Daniels, 32, said of HVI. Daniels is co-owner of the business with Ben Dalke, 28?and so far the company?s only employees.

?Clint pretty much took care of everything,? said Daniels, referring to HVI executive director Clint Seibel. ?We needed three-phase electricity in the building, and he got that all taken care of with the city. They also got it all cleaned out so we could get in here in time to get out of our old building.?

HVI is the new business-development initiative of Hillsboro Development Corp., a for-profit organization comprised of local investors. In addition to private capital from the investors, HDC receives 1 mill of tax support through the city of Hillsboro.

Hillsboro Manufacturing started its operation in the city-owned former AMPI building, but needed to find a new place to accommodate growth. When Daniels and Dalke contacted city hall about available space, they were referred to Seibel and HVI.

?I figured the opportunity for us to have a (incubator) building and for them to have a place, just kind of fit,? Seibel said. ?We had someone draw up a lease, and here we are.?

Daniels and Dalke got to know each other six or seven years ago while they were employed at Machine Specialty, a similar business in Hillsboro, and had talked casually about going off on their own someday.

Both men eventually accepted jobs in McPherson for a couple of years, but then that company closed.

?We talked about it and talked about and talked about it some more?and decided to do it,? Daniels said about their decision to launch Hillsboro Manu?fac?turing.

At the start, the new company couldn?t support both of them financially.

?Ben held down the fort most of the time, and there really wasn?t enough to keep us both busy at the time,? Daniels said. ?I was working full time over in McPherson at American Maplan (Corp.).?

That arrangement lasted about a year.

?Toward the end of last year and the beginning of this year, it started pick up quite a bit,? he said of the new business.

Both owners are now working full time in alternating shifts to fill the orders for the custom parts they create.

?Our main product is a rotary gear,? Daniels said. ?Another company does the first part, then they send it to Wichita to be heat treated. Then we go get them and bring them back here. Once they?re hardened, we turn them, make the final product and get them all packaged up and ready to sell.?

In the past week, Daniels and Dalke have acquired three additional pieces of equipment to enhance their operation and diversify the kinds of parts they can manufacture.

?Within the next six months I?m thinking we?re going to have somebody working for us?probably sooner than that if things go the way people think they?ll go.

?It?s grown so far, and there?s no reason for it stop,? Daniels said. ?As long as we can keep up with the demand, they?ll keep buying.?

Providing a building isn?t the only way HVI intends to support the new company.

?We want to walk with them all the way,? Seibel said. ?Our plan is that they?ll be here five years?and they may be out before then. But if they need a business plan to help them get some money (to build or expand), they can to come to us and we can on it work together.

?We?re interested in seeing these guys grow and prosper,? he said.

Seibel said HVI?s vision is larger than helping one specific business, though.

?We?re excited because these guys are a little younger than most of us, and the future?s with them?that?s the way small town goes,? he said. ?We?ve got to foster and mentor the next generation.

?We can?t mentor them in how they make their product,? he added. ?But we can mentor them in the business process. My office door is open to them at any time.?

Both parties feel the relationship has been mutually helpful so far.

?It takes time to build a relationship and build trust,? Seibel said. ?But so far, from our end, it?s been going great.?

Added Daniels: ?It was pretty amazing the way it all happened.?

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