Dale Boorsma's risk paid off.
The president and chief executive officer of AccuGeo Liner Inc. in Bakersfield, Calif., bet the farm in 1999 to make sure the business he loved wouldn't be swallowed up by a larger competitor or moved out of Bakersfield. The business, then operated as Acculiner Inc., made geomembrane liners, and Boorsma led a buyout from the former owner and Acculiner's bank.
To make it happen, Boorsma mortgaged his home, used his cars as collateral and did not take a salary for months.
Now, AccuGeo is expanding. The firm moved out of its original plant last year, which it had leased, buying a site where it tripled its space with three buildings totaling 21,000 square feet.
``The major advantage of moving is that the bigger building allows us to have much more of a linear process than we could at the other facility, [especially] in terms of handling material,'' said Jeremiah Boorsma, newly named marketing manager, in a May 10 telephone interview.
The firm buys roll stock and converts it to geomembranes by joining sections using radio-frequency sealing equipment for PVC and heat welding for polypropylene and other specialty materials.
Dale Boorsma said the company recovered on a special mix of factors, including customer service and ``everybody pitching in'' to make it happen.
``We've kept our prices down, we make a very good product and we have some of the best employees around,'' Dale Boorsma said. ``We've automated our factory so we can keep our employee [count] down. We believed in the business. We knew that the customers were out there and we knew there was a need for our product.''
AccuGeo, which has six employees, now has improved rail access, plus loading docks, which AccuGeo lived without in the original site.
The company is growing into other markets, too. The firm now is handling more high density polyethylene sheet and geotextile materials, geogrids and erosion control products. In the former site, the company lacked space to add geotextiles.
Dale Boorsma said companies involved in the geomembrane business are going to have to be more regional as shipping costs increase. He would not disclose his firm's production capacity or annual sales.