Founder: Paul Mitchell.
Headquarters: Elkhart, Ind.
Number of employees: Less than 10.
Key family members active in the company: Jeffrey Bailey, president and CEO (husband); Sue Bailey, production manager (wife); Clayton Bailey, machine operator/junior machinist (son). Jeffrey Bailey acquired the business in 2014, from the founder's son, Ed Mitchell.
What it does: Mitchell Inc. builds precision-cutting, trimming and grinding machines for the rubber cutting industry.
Markets served: Automotive, aerospace, telecommunications, oil and gas, mining, refining, medical, food and beverage.
Number of generations involved in the business: Two.
What are the strengths of a family owned business? The strengths include teamwork, trust, work ethic, close-knit work force.
Do non-family members hold any executive or ownership roles? Not yet. My son is new to the industry and has not taken on any management duties.
Something you may not know about the company: The former owner and current owner live on the same street.
What advice would you offer a young entrepreneur who wants to start a family run business? Have a complete business plan. Know all you can about the product/service before beginning your business. Experience is helpful.
And another thing: Mitchell Inc. has been in business since 1966. In 2016, we are celebrating our 50th anniversary.
Our machines precision cut/trim with carbide blades to reduce distortion and allow for higher tolerances. It is a niche business, competing only with specialty machine builders for customers. Because we design each machine for the customers' product, there is no large automated line. We build and test each machine by hand.
In 1966, Paul Mitchell was an electrical contractor in the Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. area. His son, Ed Mitchell, was also an electrician in the business. Paul had a customer in the rubber industry who bought a couple lever-style machines. The machines needed much maintenance to keep them running. Paul said he could build one better. The customer told Paul that if he would build one, the customer would buy it. Paul built a prototype. He tested it for months. When the machine was delivered, the customer ordered 15 more. That is when Mitchell Inc. was born.
Paul turned his attention to the machinery side of the business, while Ed continued with the electrical side. In 1972 after his service in the Air Force, Ed returned to the family business, which continued to grow. Ed bought the business from his father in 1985 and began to include more value-added products on the machines, such as auto-loaders, automation and PLC controls with touch screens. In 1985, Paul retired and Ed Mitchell was the new owner of Mitchell Inc.
The business continued to grow, and its reputation for quality and reliability grew with it. Soon Mitchell machines were being used throughout the U.S. It also built and shipped internationally to countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.
In 2010, Jeff Bailey joined the team as head engineer and general manager. With 30 years under his belt building custom machines, Jeff designed and built the newest Mitchell machines, while still supporting older models. In 2014 when Ed Mitchell retired, Jeff was in the perfect position to take over the business.
Jeff continues to innovate with the additions of laser marking systems, spray lubricant systems, HMI Touch Screens and robotics. His wife, Sue, and son, Clayton, also work in the business. The rubber industry was very good to Ed and his dad, Paul. They wish the best of luck to Jeff and his family in the future.