BW Manufacturing Grows Market for its Concrete Surface Preparation Equipment
Darrell Miller, general manager of BW Manufacturing
BW Manufacturing has found its niche in the concrete industry. The Comstock Park business is a manufacturer of surface preparation equipment sold to national and international customers.
Darrell Miller, general manager of BW Manufacturing, said the company has always been in the surface preparation industry since its founding in 1996. The company has been located on 3706 Mill Creek Drive NE in Comstock Park since 2008. The company’s products are made for contractors in the building, restoration, and maintenance industries, as well as utility and manufacturing plants, and the Armed forces. Clients include large construction firms that specialize in the roadway, bridge deck, parking garage, and airport runway projects.
“We’re a very niche corner of the concrete industry,” Miller said, “We have an option for interchangeable attachments. Other companies have a different, single function machine where ours are more versatile.” The equipment will prepare the surface to put a coating down or remove old coating on any concrete and some limited asphalt.
The company offers a complete line of concrete diamond grinding tools and replacement parts for customers. About one-third of BW Manufacturing’s business is replacement parts. All equipment is manufactured in the Comstock Park location. The company is constantly redesigning new accessories for existing equipment, improving products, and introducing new and innovative tools.
James Markini, production manager, Darrell Miller, general manager and Eli Luke, controller, with BW Manufacturing in Comstock Park
Business has been good for BW Manufacturing and wasn’t affected by the pandemic except for some supply chain issues.
“We’ve grown close to double in the last five years,” Miller said. He attributes the growth to being in a niche corner of the market with only two primary competitors based in Oklahoma.
BW Manufacturing currently has 28 employees including welders, fabricators, assemblers, and CNC machine operators, shipping/receiving, assembly tech, machinist, warehouse clerk and sales. Although it’s sometimes hard to find qualified employees BW Manufacturing has made great strides in the hiring process, according to Miller. The company uses Indeed to advertise open positions and seeks candidates with approximately three years of experience in the field. BW Manufacturing offers competitive wages with a good benefit package.
“We’re really trying hard to build a team culture for employee retention,” Miller said. “It’s about listening to your employees and acting on their concerns. It’s about treating them as people versus a number.”
Other key employees include James Markini, production manager and Eli Luke, controller.
BW Manufacturing was founded by Bruce Williams who saw the need for better equipment that is easier to operate and easier to maintain. He started the business in his garage in 1996 before moving to a building in northwest Grand Rapids. The company outgrew that facility and moved to its 20,000-square-foot facility on Mill Creek Drive in Comstock Park in 2008. Five years ago, Williams sold the business to a Chicago-based private equity company that Miller describes as “a great resource.” Williams still owns the building and remains active in the business with engineering and drafting projects.
Miller said the Comstock Park location is close to many of the company’s vendors. Employees enjoy the proximity to many lunch options. For more information visit www.bwmanufacturing.com.
-Karen Gentry (August 2022)