CRYSTAL LAKE – Eisenmann Corp. has been ramping up and hiring engineers after shedding its manufacturing arm in 2006.
The company, a global provider of environmental technologies for biogas, air pollution control and paint finishing technologies, has added 20 engineers in the past year at its U.S. headquarters in Crystal Lake.
“We’re growing,” Eisenmann President Mark West said. “We’re expanding our product portfolio and service capabilities.”
The company increased its headcount by 38 percent in 2013. It plans to double its revenue in the next five years and keep growing.
“We see the climate for manufacturing in the U.S. continuing to improve with the low cost of energy and companies looking to manufacture where their customers are located.”
More manufacturing means more work for Eisenmann, which makes custom-designed manufacturing systems for various industries from automotive to waste disposal.
The Crystal Lake office is responsible for sales, engineering, design, installation and servicing systems it makes. It covers the U.S. and Canada but has international reach. It serves its U.S. clients as they expand overseas and is working on projects in the Middle East, Japan and the United Kingdom.
The company is a subsidiary of Boeblingen, Germany-based Eisenmann AG.
“On any given day we have people from Europe, Brazil, Mexico or China in our offices,” West said.
As part of a restructuring in 2006, Eisenmann laid off 60 employees when it closed its local manufacturing facility.
“We started feeling pressure from our customers, which were large automotive companies,” West said. “We could see things starting to change and decided to restructure the business.”
By the time the recession hit in 2008, Eisenmann was growing again.
“From a timing perspective, we were actually able to find a lot of good talent,” he said. “We were in the process of growing and able to pick up good people.”
Crystal Lake has been a good base for finding and attracting that talent.
“We thought it may pose a challenge to attract new college graduates to come work out in the suburbs,” West said. “However, many of our new hires have come to us straight out of school.”
Others commute before settling in the suburbs, he added.
“Crystal Lake is a nice area for employees to call home,” he said. “You can raise a family here affordably and with good schools and you still have access to a big city a train ride away.”
Eisenmann initially established its U.S. headquarters in Michigan, but moved to Crystal Lake in 1982 when it acquired Temtek-Allied.
“We had been in Detroit since 1977, but the workforce in that area did a lot of job-hopping between the automotive companies and the supply base,” West said. “We have found a more stable work force here and have employees with long average tenure with the company.”
Eisenmann’s environmental projects include anaerobic digester technology used to convert organic waste into green energy. This type of biogas project is much more common in Europe than in the U.S.
“There has been no federal guidance around biogas, so things are developing on a very local or regional level,” West said. “Solar and wind have had federal incentives that allow the investors to better guarantee a return on investment.”
In December, Eisenmann announced that it was working with CR&R Waste and Recycling Services, a company that serves 2.5 million people and 5,000 businesses in five Southern California counties, on what could be the largest green waste project of its kind in North America. When completed this year, the CR&R facility in Perris, Calif., will convert organic waste into compressed natural gas, which will be used to fuel the company’s fleet of collection vehicles.
“Our approach to biogas is that the project needs to stand on its own without government incentives,” West said. “Some cities on the coasts have started passing legislation to divert organics away from landfills. This is just the start.”
Growth will likely be slow without a federal mandate, he said.
“We do see the market increasing in the future, but that is coming from zero,” West said. “It will happen gradually.”