CRYSTAL LAKE – The strategies that helped Vo-Tech, a midsized manufacturer in Crystal Lake, grow revenue during the past five years won’t change even though the company recently more than doubled its space.
A slow and steady approach has been the business mantra for Vo-Tech owner Wojciech Furman since the start of the decade.
Making machines and tools for companies in various industries, Vo-Tech prefers to add a few new customers, invest in the equipment and manpower to handle the new projects, and then repeat the plan.
The company now can show something for the strategy.
Vo-Tech earlier this year moved to a 35,000-square-foot building along Mitchell Court in Crystal Lake that it bought for $2.2 million.
Before the move, employees were feeling cramped in the company’s old 14,000-square-foot building along Tek Drive in the city, Furman said.
“We’ve been building revenue and customers. Sometimes, it just takes a long time before everything can mature,” he said. “We’ve been working on increasing production for the last five years. Finally now, this is the year where everything came together.”
With more room, Vo-Tech already has expanded production to keep pace with reinvestments being made by its largest customer base – nuclear power plants.
The new building also is large enough that Vo-Tech can slowly and steadily add employees and expand capabilities years from now, Furman said.
The business employs 22 people, a 57 percent increase from the 14 people employed when operations manager Mark Harper started at Vo-Tech four years ago.
Nuclear power plants have contributed greatly to the company’s increased workload, as the industry reinvests in aging plants with new equipment being made by Vo-Tech.
“Their machine shops were outfitted 30, 40 years ago with all that equipment,” Harper said. “It’s aging and getting to the point where they were ready to revamp.”
Vo-Tech initially relied on nuclear power plants when the business started in 1997.
Furman, who emigrated from Poland to Chicago in the 1980s and later moved his family to Lake in the Hills, started the business after years of traveling around the U.S. doing service work for the industry.
To diversify the business, Furman eventually extended his machine and tool production to manufacturing companies in other industries.
Vo-Tech also provides engineering services to all its customers, including ones in health care, food and agriculture.
It provides custom machines and tools for numerous companies in McHenry County.
“I don’t think we ever thought we end up with this beautiful facility. My idea for this business was to be able to always do the right thing. Take care of our customers, take care of employees, serve the community – do whatever you can do, but do it right,” Furman said. “I think it’s paying off.”