|Apr 19, 2012 --
Jay Hesse’s grandfather started the business as Automatic Curry and Dipping Machine in 1926. Automatic Equipment Company was formed shortly after World War II by Myron Hesse, Jay’s father. Automatic Equipment Company was formally incorporated in 1968. Automatic Equipment in Pender, Nebraska manufactures products primarily for the recreational vehicle industry including tow bars, custom fitted base plates, braking systems, weight distributing hitches and agriculture products including trailer and electric mills and associated components. All products are sold throughout the United States and Canada.
In 2008, the company discovered military applications for its heavy duty tow bars. Automatic Equipment developed a trade name, Blue Ox in 2010, in an effort to diversify its products. Blue Ox currently supplies the United States military with a limited amount of tow bars and notes additional growth opportunities in providing more units for the United States military in addition to other nations. Blue Ox is also seeking international market growth by targeting European and South American recreational vehicle markets and focusing sales efforts in those countries.
Automated Equipment Manufacturing Co. worked with First National Bank of Omaha to restructure and consolidate debt from short term debt with eight percent interest, into a long term loan with a 4.98 percent interest.
In September of 2011, Automated Equipment Manufacturing Co. received a loan from First National Bank of Omaha for $2,100,000, guaranteed by USDA Rural Development. The new loan allowed restructuring and consolidating its current debt, from two separate lenders, and purchase of new equipment for a paint and wash booth, CNC mill and waterjet equipment. Additionally, First National Bank of Omaha supplied a working capital loan outside of the Rural Development guarantee.
Kept a strong manufacturing base in a rural community. Retained 110 jobs in a community of 1,146.