Q&A with Tom Treuden

GENERAL MANAGER/ENGINEERING AND SALES | Butler Gear Enterprises, LLC.

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Butler Gear Enterprises, LLC, is under new ownership, correct?

Correct, we are happy to announce we are under new ownership as of February 15, 2017. Our new president, Andrew Kattula, and his staff have made significant positive changes in our processes as well as updating machinery as needed. We have become a more efficient company from RFQ to paid invoice.

What’s a typical day like at Butler Gear Enterprises, LLC?

Butler Gear Enterprises, LLC is a fun place to work, so coming to work is a joy most days; other days it can be challenging. What I mean when I say challenging: busy non-stop, quoting, customer service, and putting out fictitious fires here and there can consume the day. Typical day is busy, which is a great problem to have.

I get involved with many areas in the front office as well as the shop. My main job is quoting, but I also do engineering and reverse engineering. I work very closely with Larry, the plant manager, to help guide the employees out on the shop floor as well. I love designing parts, finding new ways to make things work; it’s where my passion falls. But all of those things put together — along with answering questions, customers calling, providing total customer service — it’s always something. This is what I have been doing for 44 years. I really enjoy all of it.

You talked about guiding the folks on the floor — are they happy to see you coming? Or do they get that trapped look on their faces?

I am pretty happy when an employee on the floor asks for my advice. I’ve been doing this since 1974; I’ve been around for a while. I implore them to ask me questions or to challenge me, “Tom, this isn’t working. What can I do to make it work better? Faster?” Or ask me my opinion on something. Whether they do it or not, both of us learn. It’s always a learning experience with the guidance of the people out on the floor. Larry handles all of the production and is very intelligent, but I love to offer my input, and people respect that. I like coming up with solutions; that’s my passion.

What products and services does Butler Gear offer?

We’re a complete gear job shop. We offer tooth cutting, internal and external. We do reverse engineering, general machining. When a customer comes in with a PO, we’ll deliver a finished product, from teeth cutting only to supply complete. We provide the whole gamut.

We also have a lot of control over quality. Because we offer so many services, most of the parts stay under our roof, so we have complete control of the part. We deliver quality parts, on-time — this is Butler Gear’s passion — to please the customer with exceptional customer service and deliver top-notch quality parts.

What is Butler Gear doing to advance the gear industry?

We are constantly looking at inventing new ways to manufacture. We have our head on a swivel, looking for newer, more advanced machines to increase the class of the gears we manufacture, the productivity, and overall efficiency in the entire company. Butler Gear is not afraid of investing into newer machines to make our customers happy. After all, it really is all about the customer, right?

What are some of Butler Gear’s proudest moments?

Acquiring our big shaper, separating us in the industry with a niche capability. It’s a rare machine to have. Your typical gear company does not have anything close to this machine. It was amazing that we were able to pull it off and to acquire this unit at the time we did. It’s a Fellows Model 88-16 heavy-duty gear shaper.

This was a difficult question because everyone gets excited when you get big orders, bring new customers, etc. Those are great moments, also.

What sets Butler Gear Enterprises, LLC apart when it comes to what you can offer a customer?

Diversification. We’re not scared to step out of the box to produce machine adaptions, or reverse-engineering projects, things that some companies wouldn’t feel good about or want to do. We thrive in these areas and take great pride in that. I love inventing and making machine adaptions. We can do projects for customers that the competition won’t do.

Where do you see Butler Gear Enterprises, LLC in 10 years?

I think there are a lot of people who say the same thing: advancement in technology, organic growth, ability to service the entire industry, as well as other gear companies, and to continue tuning our efficiency in all of processes. We are paving the road to success with the new ownership’s increased capabilities as they continue to introduce J&J Spring Enterprises and Spring & Wire Liquidators to our consumer base. In 10 years, I see Butler Gear Enterprises, LLC offering much, much more than just gearing and machining needs. We have a bright future ahead of us.

Would you like to add anything we haven’t covered?

I’m under a lot less pressure than I used to be, so I’m happy about that. But then again, I miss sticking my nose into everything. I guess once you’re a gear nut, you’re always a gear nut.

For more information: www.butlergear.com