Mar 03 2017

Growing a Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication Business by Building Character

Mike Jancosko Showed Us How 

We recently had a small retirement party for Mike Jancoscko. Mike had been with ETM for over eight years, and odds are that if you’ve done sheet metal fabrication business with us, you’ve worked with Mike. One of the things we will all miss about Mike is that he immediately made you feel like you were his buddy. He was always trying to look out for you, and because of that, you were always trying to look out for him. What many don’t know was that he was ETM’s first sheet metal employee.

Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication Mike-J-ETM.jpgGrowing a Business

Back in 1970, ETM was a machine shop, sharing a building with a welding fabrication shop. The original owner, Edward T. McLaughlin (ETM) had left Raytheon as a machinist a few years earlier, started ETM as a small machine shop, and grew his business from there. In an effort to expand and differentiate, Ed decided to get a hand brake and a kick press. He then hired Mike Jancosko to work part time to figure out how to make custom sheet metal fabricated parts.

The first thing they did was to buy a power shear, then a notcher, then an old Cincinnati press brake and a Finn punch. Mike taught himself how to program and run each piece of equipment. As they succeeded, Mike added people, bought the first CNC Amada punch, and then added the first CNC up-acting Amada press brakes. At that time, Mike moved on to S&H Precision, but several of his original purchases are still at ETM, mostly used for backup now.

Like Meeting an Old Friend

I purchased ETM at the end of 2006, and by 2008, we were growing and looking for help. Mike had finished a great run at S&H Precision as General Manager of their $30 million sheet metal fabrication business. He was helping a friend sell tube-bending equipment when he heard we were looking for someone to run our shop. After meeting each other briefly, we knew he would be a perfect fit. As VP of Operations, Mike was instrumental in growing our business 3x in less than three years—during and right after the Great Recession. ETM was ranked among the top 5,000 fastest growing companies for three years in a row. During his tenure, Mike hired our first and best engineer, bought our first laser cutting machine, and grew us into our fastest turret punch. We have the best custom sheet metal crew we’ve ever had—and that is due, in large part, to Mike’s amazing skill at building a great team.

For the past several years, Mike has worked Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in a quoting and sales support role so that he could spend more time with family and friends, and also get his new house built. During that time, he helped secure five new major accounts, all of which have the potential of increasing revenue 3x again.

Building Character

I may be feeling a bit sentimental as I wish my friend well in this new phase of his life, but it strikes me that Mike embodies so much of how and why ETM operates as it does. We don’t stray far from the blueprint that mapped out this company’s origins: passionate professionals specializing in what they do best, building a cohesive team, and rolling up their sleeves to stay on track and keep growing. I’m proud to say that in that same spirit, we continue to work as a team among our colleagues and our customers with the rapport afforded old friends. I recently wrote some blogs focused on rising costs in the custom sheet metal fabrication business. ETM takes a proactive approach to cut costs by cooperating with customers. We’re all in this together—and we do our best to look out for you whenever we can. Like Mike, we innovate to find solutions (and if we need to know something new—we find out how), bring in fresh perspectives, and keep looking forward. We were lucky to have Mike sit back down at the table with us for the time that he did later in his career. What a gift his years of experience have been to us—and to our customers.    

Throughout his time here, Mike has been a good friend and mentor to me and many others at ETM. He will certainly be missed, but his legacy remains intact. Good luck and safe journeys, my friend.

We’re always happy to sit down with old friends and make new ones. We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to work together on your next custom sheet metal fabrication project.

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