Clair and Dale retired around 1988. Clair's son, Bruce, was the next president and CEO. He served the company for 42 years. In 2017, Bruce, a private pilot, died in a small plane crash. That's when Bruce's son, Sam, joined Bruin.
Today, at age 43, Sam is the company's owner.
The company's culture hasn't changed. Sam had expertise in Lean Six Sigma from before he joined the company, but Bruin was founded on lean principles before lean was an industry term. There's still a focus on being ethical and on family. But Sam Devick is excited about some big changes.
In 2017, the company opened a second production plant, about 30 miles north of Marshalltown, in Newton, Iowa. Like the headquarters plant, Newton is highly automated, running lights-out 24/7.
The strategy behind opening a second location was to reduce risk, to keep customers' production running in case of a catastrophic emergency. It was something the team learned about through MAPP, the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors.
A year ago, the decision seemed prescient.
"When a tornado hit Marshalltown last July, it missed us by a block and a half," Dielschneider said.
The new location has lots of space to grow and the opportunity to try new things. All the presses are new Arburg machines. The machines are larger, up to 121 tons of clamping force. That's double the size of the largest presses in Marshalltown.
The company has a brand-new website, too, with photos and even video of the manufacturing process. Bruin is showing off its technology, but without giving away the secrets.
Like most companies, a big challenge is finding skilled workers, especially for the tool shop.
"As far as what keeps me up at night, it's the availability of mold makers out there. Mold designers, anything on the technical side, are very hard to find," Dielschneider said.
Carolyn Himes, Bruin's general manager and chief financial officer, talked about how the team dealt with the untimely death of Bruce Devick.
"For all three of us, I think, the 'what keeps you up at night' is the third generation. We know the statistics about how few companies survive three generations. Sam got it unexpectedly. He won't say that, but Sam's dad was killed in a plane crash. So it was just heaved upon him a little earlier than what he anticipated.
"Sam's dad had retired, and Chad and I were left with the reins, the actual management of the company. And I know [Chad] and I, our legacy for the place is we don't want to leave it in a crumbling heap. So it does keep us all up at night, and it affects all of our decisions on how we move forward and the money that we spend and how we spend it," Himes said.
That prompted Sam Devick to tell a story about some advice he got from his father:
"I was in the car with him, and he was kind of giving me a little pep talk," Devick said. "I was married, and I might have had a couple kids, or one kid at the time, and he said, 'Do you know what? You're fortunate.' And I said 'How so.'
"He said, 'You go to work and you worry about your family and how to take care of your family.' And I said, 'That's right.'
"And he goes, 'I have to worry about 40 families. And that the decisions that I make, and that Chad and Carolyn make, they don't affect just Chad and Carolyn and Bruce. They affect 42 families. And that's what keeps me up at night.'
"I always remember that. And now that as things have progressed, it's spot on."