American Bolt has been in business for 60 years and counting. We’re taking time to reflect on the history of the company, including humble beginnings in the 1960s all the way to the company you know and love today. The secret to American Bolt’s longevity and success is our employees who take pride in understanding our customers’ needs and continually evolving to exceed them; something you’ll see as you dive into our history. Customer-driven solutions have been and always will be at the core of everything we do. Read on to learn about the history of American Bolt!
Early History (1962-1989)
American Bolt was established as a fastener distributor in the Milwaukee market in 1962 by original owners Richard T Gogin, John J Frazier, and John P Roughen. The founders had a vision of providing personalized support to their core customers to ensure mutual growth and success. After 6 years spent serving customers, the company moved to a new location in 1968 with 5 employees. Over the next two decades growth through strong customer relationships required adding key employees. In 1990 one of the key employees, Larry Egofske, worked his way through the ranks to accept an ownership position with the company.
Product Offerings & Vendor Managed Inventory (1990-1999)
By the 1990s, American Bolt was up to 10 employees, with part-owner Larry Egofske wanting to help grow the company’s product offerings, services, and inventory. To make this vision a reality, the company began working with manufacturers to increase warehouse inventory, including product categories like structural bolts and concrete anchors. Investments in machines for cutting threaded rods and the personnel to operate provided customers cut to length products to save them time and money.
Service offerings also expanded with the addition of the Quality Assurance program and the first Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) program. VMI programs are a core inventory management solution still used by American Bolt customers today. Some of the first VMI customers included the likes of Zenar, Dalum’s Utility, Waukesha County, Globe Contractors, Prime Mfg., Super Products, Wisconsin Centrifugal, and Kurz Electric.
Leadership Focus on Company Growth (2000-2007)
The 2000s were an era of change and progress. With the help of Operations Manager John Nutt, Larry Egofske wanted to grow the company by leaning into innovation. This was accomplished through expansion of the Sales and Purchasing teams with experienced personnel, stocking new product categories, and adding new customers. By 2005, the company expanded to over 50 employees and moved into what is now the present-day facility, a 50,000 square foot warehouse.
Growth of Value Services and Territories (2008-2016)
Through the 2008 financial crisis, American Bolt continued to spur customer success and innovation while also retaining current employees. To provide additional value to customers the company completed an addition to support secondary operations including kitting, threading, machining, and hydraulic assemblies. Growth of new customers allowed further expansion into markets throughout Wisconsin, and into Northern Illinois, Eastern Iowa, and Eastern Minnesota.
Legacy of Success (2017-Present)
In 2017, Larry Egofske attained full ownership and the company became family owned. At that time, a plan was developed to position American Bolt for future growth with a continued dedication to supporting employees’ and customers’ success. A Leadership team was created, and Operations Manager John Nutt was promoted to President to lead it. A company mission and core values were identified, and key employees were added at all levels to the experienced teams in place. Over the next few years, the company weathered a pandemic and severe supply chain disruptions, completing the 60th year in business with an all-time record year!
Today, American Bolt is proud to be more than a team, but a family of 80 value-driven employees. We remain family-owned and continue to lead with evolution, innovation, and customer success as our founders intended. Take it from current American Bolt President, John Nutt:
“Our success hinges on being flexible, nimble, and reactive to changes happening in the industry, with an emphasis on quality customer service and employee growth. Employees are our most critical asset, and by focusing on supporting their successful growth here, we can provide excellent customer experiences and create relationships that last.”
We can’t wait to continue serving customers in the Midwest for another 60 years!