Saturday, January 19, 2013

it's the behind the scenes story that impresses me more than the product line interests me... cause I love a good story, especially one that's about family

In 1973 John Wyatt Sr saw the need for a supply side packaging company, kitting and packaging for big companies in the automotive and agricultural production lines.

He made a business (Venshurs Packaging) of putting together the parts that Ford and Chrysler and others would make for special project vehicles. Things like that. Lots of small parts to be packaged/bundled together for shipping.

The business was one of the few successes, and grew to 100 employees, several buildings and warehouses, ISO certified, and has clients like Mopar, Ford, and Kicker.

So, all this is fine, but what about the story that impressed me? When John's good health ended, he called on his son to take over. Here's the hard part, John's son was in big business in the bigger cities, and had already carved a career path apart from the family business.

Here's the thing that impresses me, he left his situation behind for the good of the employees and business. I figure you are familiar with the Michigan employment black hole, the jobs just go away and "They ain't coming back" to quote John Mellencamp. If you've heard about the outsourcing and shutting down of car manufacturing plants, entire cities have failed, like Flint and Detroit.

So John's son Jeff left behind his job, house, career path, etc...  and put his dad's company and employees first. That is very cool.

But when Jeff took over, the economy was great, business was booming. Just a couple years after, the big car makers went bankrupt. At the time of the economic downturn in 2008, Chrysler’s bankruptcy as one of Venchurs’ largest customers, posed a serious financial risk for the company. 

As Venchurs fought to survive, Wyatt vowed that the company would not only make it, but would do so without laying a single employee off.

Are you impressed too?

Jeff did it. As the company weathered the crisis, Jeff knew that Venchurs was too dependent on the success of their customers for survival in economic crisis of this past depression, and went into new markets. He innovated. Through his leadership, Venchurs Vehicle Systems (VVS) was formed in 2011 and consists of programs such as VWerks, a specialty vehicle builder and off road parts manufacturer, and VVS Conversions, a maker of CNG conversions for Ford. 

How he's accomplished the success is not totally known to me, but I know he's damn good at hiring the best: he made Pat Muldoon his VP of Product Developement Engineering. Pat was the Senior Manager of Product Development Engineering at Chrysler, building some of the brands most well known show cars and concepts, including the Mopar Jeep Wrangler Blue Crush, the V-10 Drag-pack Challenger, and the Mopar Ram Runner. 

The V Werks program makes JK8 and Hemi conversions for Jeep Wranglers, a Raptor competing Ram program called VWerks Ram Baja KTS Series, and a dealer program of upfit packages for Jeep Wranglers. VWerks also sells off road accessories and hardware.  

That is how I learned about Jeff and Venshurs. At SEMA 2012

You might be wondering why I'm posting free publicity about Jeff, Pat, Venchurs and VWerks... because I post about things I find cool, and this is definitely that cool. Also, it's one of the few successful companies in Michigan, where I grew up and have family. Maybe, by letting you know what I learned, and find cool and support, you'll do business with Venshurs or V Werks, and if you hear the name again it will echo. It might save a job. That would be cool. 


this truck is unbeilevable, body armor that can stop ammo from an AK 47, a flame system that will blow out in all directions to create space or repel car jackers, etc etc plus 14 inch travel suspension, and off road uber trick parts. It's named Caballo Diablo

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