At one time, it appeared that Cast Aluminum Solutions' future was on the brink.
But when Mike Flint and his partners with private-equity firm LV2 Equity Partners took a close look at the Batavia company, the option to close the company fell out of consideration.
"A big part of it was we just ended up falling in love with the business and the people," said Flint, whose partners are John Pollock and J.C. Stehlik.
Their love for CAS has only grown as the company that might have folded instead flourished in the years since.
"The company is a lot bigger, a lot stronger than we were when we bought it 10 years ago," Flint said.
Flint and his partners added a second facility just a couple of blocks away. They roughly tripled the amount of equipment. They strengthened the test and evaluation processes.
Revenues have tripled.
CAS manufactures precision engineered thermal components for a wide variety of industries: semiconductor, food and beverage, medical and pharmaceutical, industrial gas and oil and gas.
The company has worked with NASA on the Mars Lander. CAS makes medical device heaters involved in finding a COVID-19 cure. It makes heaters that create circuitry for smartphone microchips.
"Some of our stuff is very complex," Flint said.
He's comfortable with the technical aspects of the company. He puts his degree in electrical engineering as well as his MBA to work at CAS.
"I do think that my level of engineering, understanding technical abilities certainly helps in a company like CAS that's built on engineering," he said.
Flint is especially proud of the company's reputation for producing quality products that don't fail.
"Quality is a huge thing for us," Flint said. "Our products are generally expensive and they've got to be right. And we have extremely good quality records. You can't have that if the people aren't caring and doing the right thing every day."
But Flint keeps coming back to the 94 employees at Cast Aluminum Solutions as a big part of the company's success.
"It's having great people, because obviously, we've got strong manufacturing. We've got strong engineering. We've got good customer service, sales support. And we've got good systems and processes.
"All of that needs to happen to do it. So it's really working with the team, making sure everyone knows where we're going and how we're trying to get there," he said.
It's a situation where there are no problems finding employees to pitch in when needed.
The COVID-19 pandemic hurt sales, Flint said, but the company bounced back well after shutting down for a week, giving the facility a deep clean and instituting proper procedures. They wear masks, added hand-washing stations and divided up break and lunch times to allow for proper social distancing.
"And our workforce is great. Just the greatest amount of respect for all of our employees," he said. "They do a great job, and if they've been exposed, they tell us. They just do the right thing and they're really, really great people. I can't say enough about them."
When Flint visits the company from his home in Michigan, he enjoys the monthly town hall-style meetings with employees. He enjoys the questions and the give-and-take, making sure everyone is on the same page and feels a sense of belonging and pride in the company.
And they've found the Chicago suburbs a great place to find well-prepared employees.
"From the first day I think we've always enjoyed the Batavia area, the industrial park, the people," Flint said. "It's been extremely positive. The company and the employees that we have, have been just special to work with and I can't emphasize that enough."