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A Closer Look E-mail the author

Cemco
Neil Hise • 505-864-1200

Ty Juana, Jennifer and Neil Hise

Cemco, a manufacturer of vertical impact crushers, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Founded in 1962 by Mason Hise as a job shop and welding shop that repaired crushers in the field, the company now ships its own products to companies in 29 different countries and all over the US.

Neil Hise, son of Mason and the current president of the company, started working for the company at only 16 years old, when he “learned how to weld and take things apart. There are things you learn the hard way.”

In 1968, after he returned from military service, he came back to the company. After spending some time in the engineering department, he moved into an office as vice president. In 1980, he took over as president of the company.

“We have always used an airplane as a business tool,” Neil said. He referred to the fact that they like to go visit customers in person. “It’s a relationship-built industry,” he said. “Whenever there was an inquiry we went out to see if we could help them.”

Cemco crushers are used in industries from aggregate to mining to glass recycling to scrap metal processing, and they can even be used to crush chicken feed. The basic machines are the same but the details are different – and that’s what’s important. The machines are customized for each customer, each material, and each location. “Our main focus is putting it in the place where it will make the customer the most money,” Neil said.

It’s also important that the customer get “a piece of equipment and they can just plug and play.” But while they machinery is ready to go after installation, Cemco also works with the customers to make sure they understand the way the machine works “and how to make money with the equipment.”

But that’s not the end of the interaction between Cemco and its customers. If a customer’s product changes, the machines can be modified to fit the new use.

Neil described the 31 employees at the company as “very talented young folks,” and said, “they can build anything.” That’s important because the company also builds custom machines to customer specifications. “We’re evolving as a manufacturer.”

That evolution includes building a portable fracking sand plant and doing some private labeling. Along with evolving the company has grown to include a new generation. Neil’s daughter, Jennifer, is now a vice president at the company, having first worked as an engineer in the mining industry. She has been working for Cemco for 10 years, where her previous experience helps her understand what the mining customers need.

Mike Cummins, Neil’s son-in-law, also works for Cemco. “He’s learning the complete operation,” Neil said, “He does a fine job.”

Ty Juana is the company CEO and Neil’s wife. “She controls the money,” he said. “Without Ty, I wouldn’t be here.” He said that he was “doubly blessed” to have her as his partner and that she handles things like the company profit sharing and “all the important things.”

That’s not the end of the family connection. Neil said, ‘The people who work for us are members of an extended family. We know their kids.” And those people are one of the things he’s most proud of in the company. “I don’t do it, they do it,” he said. About a quarter of the workforce has been with the company at least 10 years.

He’s also proud of the fact that his business is environmentally sound. When he moved the manufacturing facility and the old site was tested for pollution, “they found zero pollution after 36 years,” he said.

Those tests on his old property are an example of what he considers his greatest challenge – government regulations. “If we don’t get some relief from these onerous regulations, we’ll be gone,” he said, but he finds some hope in the fact that he sees a lot of American companies bringing jobs back home.

Neil said that the care that goes into American-made product can’t be reproduced in other countries. “All you have to do is get the government out of the way,” he said.

Despite his grumbles, he said that he’s “blessed to be an American company, even with the trials and tribulations. It’s still the best place to be doing business.”