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The Making of Dane Manufacturing, a 21st Century American Manufacturing Growth Story

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My guest today is Troy Berg, CEO of Dane Manufacturing located in Wisconsin. Unlike most contract manufacturers in the upper Midwest, Dane Manufacturing has end-to-end capabilities to serve customer needs without reliance on third parties for service. The addition of packaging and shipping services ensures Dane provides high-quality, high-pay manufacturing jobs that have positive impacts on the community.

Dane’s customers count on them to self-perform everything associated with their production, including cutting, bending, welding, painting, assembly, packaging, and fulfillment of their products, minimizing the potential for supply-chain disruptions and layering of cost, all while increasing the accountability for quality. Dane’s customer base has evolved as well. The company went from making “hidden parts” to producing recognizable parts that have key applications in a wide range of consumer products: architectural metal for elevator cabs, joint plates and corner guards for airports, handrails for hotels and conventional centers, job boxes for construction sites, and more.

I speak with Troy about how he and his family acquired this 85-year-old manufacturing company, their massive scaling, and growth since the early 2000s, details about their acquisitions and real estate expansion over the years, and Troy’s plan for the future of Dane.

This podcast is brought to you by Axial, (www.axial.net), a trusted online platform for business owners & their M&A advisors to use to safely and intelligently explore and execute capital raises, acquisitions, and exits with strategic buyers or professional financial sponsors. I am your host, Peter Lehrman, Founder and CEO of Axial. In every episode, we will explore the vast world of small business M&A. We will interview both the proven and emerging owners, operators, investors, and advisors whose strategies and methods have been put to the test. 

If you have enjoyed this episode, check out Axial.com for more.  There are recorded Axial member roundtables, downloadable tools for dealmakers, quarterly lead-table rankings, and lots of other useful information. To join Axial as an acquirer, an owner considering an exit, or as a sales-side M&A advisor, you can get started for free at Axial.com.  Feel free to reach out to me directly at Peter@axial.net with questions, suggestions, or show topic ideas.

Discussion points:

  • Dane Manufacturing origin story
  • Solving customer’s problems and soaring sales – the housing boom and Home Depot store expansion
  • Growth from $1M to $6M – 2001 to 2005
  • Troy discovered he was “doing too much” as a leader and limiting Dane’s sales potential
  • Acquisitions – challenges and processes
  • A 3X plan in 3 years – with help from Axial.net
  • Upgrading and integrating Dane and Dantherm through the pandemic and beyond
  • A transformational real estate opportunity for Dane through a “land contract”
  • Troy’s mom gave him her life savings to help buy Dane – she got mezzanine financing rates on her investment
  • Troy’s early vision for the future vs. the reality
  • The next few years – organic growth or M&A? With no space constraints, Dane is free to explore options

Resources:

Troy Berg LinkedIn

Dane Manufacturing

Peter Lehrman LinkedIn

Axial Website 

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