News Release
Release No.STELPRD4014790
ContactVicki Schurman402-437-5563
Lincoln, Nebraska, Feb 17, 2012 --

@@Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Co.dba Blue Ox of Pender, Nebraska was recognized today at a White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture event recognizing manufacturing success in rural America.  Jay Hesse, owner of Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Co. participated in the event at the White House. Also attending were John Grose and Allen Hansen, representatives of First National Bank of Omaha, who provided the loan, guaranteed by USDA Rural Development, to Automatic Equipment.

Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Co. was selected with other manufacturers from around the country for successfully establishing and growing a business in a rural region. Pender is a Northeast Nebraska community of 1,146 rural residents.  Incorporated in 1968, Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Co. produces products primarily for the recreational vehicle industry under the name of Blue Ox, which became its trade name in 1990. The products are sold throughout the United States and Canada.

The Company diversified its focus and developed heavy duty tow bars for the defense industry and aggressive efforts are being made to establish additional growth opportunities in this area. Blue Ox is also seeking international market growth by targeting Europe, Australia and South American recreational vehicle, commercial and agricultural markets and focusing sales efforts in those countries.

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition and on behalf of the employees, suppliers and professional partners of Blue Ox, we are proud to be an integral part of keeping our small town of Pender a viable community. Our roots stem back to 1926 and we have been fortunate to have been able to work with strategic partners at First National Bank of Omaha and the USDA Rural Development to continue to build upon our success,” said President and CEO Jay Hesse.

USDA Rural Development’s Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan program provided a guarantee on a loan originated by First National Bank of Omaha. The funds allowed Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Co. to restructure their financial plan for the Company and for the purchase of new equipment. With the restructure 110 jobs were retained.