Brothers Equipment Co.
Drew Jurek • 800-578-8471
Next year, Brothers Equipment Company will celebrate its 75th anniversary as a family business. Vice president Drew Jurek is part of the third generation and has been working for the company since he was in high school.
The company was founded in 1938 by Jurek’s grandfather, Walter, who built dump bodies and trailers, among other things. During WWII, the government bought up as many trucks as it could find, and Jurek’s grandfather ended up selling all of his trucks to the army.
“That’s what started him in the trucking industry,” Jurek said.
In the 1950s, the company manufactured its first lugger hoist system, and in the 1960, it began building lugger bodies for the scrap industry.
In the early 1960s, Jurek’s father, Andy Sr., joined the company, and then in the late 1960s the company started building roll-offs for the scrap industry. Jurek said his company was one of the first on the market, but they didn’t patent the concept. “Everybody copied everyone else’s design,” he said.
In 1985, Jurek started working for the company while he was still in high school, and after taking some time off to earn a degree in small business management, he came back full time in 1991.
In 2008, Jurek and his brother, Jason, came up with a buy out plan to buy the business from their father. “He’s still here every day,” Jurek said of his father. Jurek said that sometimes his father will come up with an idea he had tried 20 or 30 years before that might not have worked then, but it works now.
Although his title is vice president, Jurek said that he might be welding one day and driving a truck the next, but his favorite part of the business is working with customers to build custom equipment and “developing new products – coming up with the new widget.”
He also likes “seeing my product go down the highway,” and knowing that he’s helping to “move product from Point A to Point B.” He said that when he sees his equipment on the road, he knows when it was built and who it was built for.
The company works closely with scrap haulers to build exactly what’s needed. They ask, “Can you make it?” and the Jureks try their best to come up with new ideas, better products and trucks with larger and larger capacities. Their products are sold under the Ace product name, but the Jurek brothers changed the company name to Brothers Equipment to differentiate themselves from all the other companies and products using the name “Ace.”
Approximately 75 to 80 percent of the company’s customers are in the scrap and recycling industry, while the remainder are municipal and private companies. Sometimes the company builds custom equipment, like ship-to-shore containers.
“We always try new things,” Jurek said, “whenever they are feasible.” This helps them open up new markets for new products like some they’re making for a company in the shale and natural gas industry.
Jurek said that 2011 was the best year so far for the company, and they’ve built the business back up since the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009. At that point, there was only 1 employee besides the 2 brothers – now there are 10 employees. “I think we can survive anything,” he said of those lean times.
He expects to see continued growth, and hopes that in five years they’ll go from a $1 to 3 million company to $3 to 5 million. “I don’t want to be a monster company,” he said. “We’ve been small the whole time and it works for us.”
He attributes part of the company’s success to its longevity. “You can’t buy 75 years of customer service,” he said.