XENIA — For Bob Deen, success is a family matter. And community, he said, community plays a vital role.
“My business philosophy is to take care of those who took care of me,” said Deen, who founded Buckeye Research & Manufacturing in 2008. “So many people have helped me get here. I am all about giving back.”
Although Deen started his fabrication and machine shop with a few machines Beavercreek in 2008, today his business thrives at 1253 Bellbrook Ave., Xenia, in the Old Custom Manufacturing Solutions building – seeing nearly $1.5 million in annual sales.
“Someday, my kids will take over, I am hoping,” Deen said. “They feel the same way.”
Buckeye Research & Manufacturing specializes in precision machining, five-axis water jetting, Computer Numerical Control milling and turning, jig grinding, surface grinding, welding, and fabrication. They also provide design, reverse engineering, and inspection services.
With 11 employees – five of whom are family members – they have experience with a wide range of projects from precision fixturing detailed assemblies for General Electric’s jet engine programs, to specialized testing fixtures and components, to optical measuring testing equipment and assemblies.
“When he started, it was just him,” said Lori Deen, Bob Deen’s wife, coworker and cofounder. “He worked two years by himself. It was like working two full time jobs.”
Bob Deen said they “started slow,” averaging about $30,000 in annual sales.
“We bought a couple machines,” Bob Deen said. “We were there on Factory Road in Beavercreek for two years until we moved operations to Xenia.”
Last year, the company’s ninth year, it topped nearly $1.5 million in sales.
“It’s hard to believe we are coming up on nine years (the beginning of March was nine years),” Bob Deen said. “The last two years, we hit over a million dollars in sales.”
“Every year his goal is a little higher,” Lori Deen said. “And so far we have been meeting our goals.”
“We started with three machines and some satellite equipment,” Bob Deen said. “Currently, we have 17 or 18 machines. Next year we aim to get GE Aviation Certification. We want to make jet parts.”
Of the five family members, Bob and Lori Deen employ their children, Kyle, Autumn and Matthew.
“We are a true ‘mom and pop shop,’” Bob Deen said, laughing. “In the coming year, we want to attract the business of other customers. Right now we are 98 percent aerospace customers. We have my previous employer, which makes aerospace structures. We are doing some work for the base… I have six customers we are doing business with consistently.”
Deen described his shop as doing tooling and machining, a little bit of die work, and welding and fabrication.
“Some people think I am crazy, but I enjoy this so much I started my own business – straight off the shop floor after 30 plus years – with no degrees in business or anything,” Bob Deen said. “A lot of people helped me along the way. So I feel blessed.”
Deen said he hopes to hire more people in the near future and stimulate the local economy.
“Xenia has welcomed us with open arms, treating us well – very professionally,” he said. “We are very glad to be here.”
Today, Deen said he feels it’s very important to “take care of his people.”
“I started the business, but at the level we are at today, I need people and good people and we all live comfortably,” he said. “At the same time, we believe in keeping our cost low and quality high to deliver the greatest level of customer satisfaction. We work to build quality relationships with our customers so we can become an important contributor to their success as well.
“Taking care of our customers is not just our promise,” Deen concluded. “It’s the way we do business.”
For more information go to buckeye-rm.com.
Brian Evans is a freelance writer. Email him at [email protected]