Small Business Profile
Timing is everything at Certified Manufacturing
The economic downturn was beneficial for the Okaloosa County manufacturing plant.
The Bechtolds decided to expand their manufacturing business amid the recession.
Three years ago, with the economy mired in recession, Bob and Pamela Bechtold decided to make a $3-million investment in their small manufacturing plant in Okaloosa County, doubling their plant's footprint, tripling factory space and adding equipment.
Launched in 1998, family-run Certified Manufacturing makes products including an electronic assembly used to modify aircraft for military and commercial aerospace manufacturers and suppliers.
"Our timing was perfect," says Bob Bechtold, vice president and COO. "We are in the niche business in aerospace sustainment; that's a good niche, we felt, so let's take the risk." As the recession dragged on, they bought more specialized software and increased design work.
Bob and Pamela Bechtold
"We interfaced with customers, who told us if we had expanded capability, especially in our circuit card assembly area, we could have more work," says accounting manager Michelle Rasbeck, the Bechtolds' daughter. "We're now hoping to go into the maritime world."
The company's customers include Boeing, BAE and DRS. It is one of only 141 Boeing gold-ranked suppliers, among Boeing's thousands. "One of our major programs now is working with Boeing on the QF-16 drone," Bechtold says. "They're using us for concurrent engineering."
Return on investment didn't come immediately but has improved. Sales in 2011 were double 2010's, and employment is now 35, up from 25 a year ago. It expects more hiring this year.
The economic downturn was in some ways beneficial, says Bechtold: "Sometimes big companies reduce personnel during recession, and when big orders come in, they come to us. We call ourselves ‘the outsource resource."'