For a small manufacturing company, reaching 100 years is a big deal. Interface Sealing Solutions in Marshalltown has made the century mark and has its place as a global provider of gaskets and other items to big-name companies.
"So many manufacturers in North America have disappeared. It's a real testament to the people here and the community," said Mike Woltjer, manufacturing manager with ISS. "We have a workforce that really cares about what they are making."
The company manufactures parts for John Deere, Briggs & Stratton, Emerson Process Management, Caterpillar and other large companies. Woltjer said many are surprised to learn Interface and its 67 employees have so much global reach from their Marshalltown location.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Mike Woltjer, left, manufacturing manager of Interface Sealing Solutions, is pictured with machine operator Dave Weitzell. The Marshalltown company is celebrating 100 years in business this year.
"Wherever these companies have plants in the world, we ship from here," Woltjer said.
Interface started in Marshalltown as Cooper Manufacturing in 1913, a venture by two brothers - Allyn and Harold Cooper. They eventually produced after market automotive parts before getting into lawn mower production in the 1920s. Cooper Manufacturing focused on lawn and garden products and was led in the middle of the 20th century by the sons of the original pair of Coopers. In 1976, the company ceased its lawn mower production line to focus on gaskets and light gauge metal stamping.
The company was bought by Interface Solutions in 2005, but is now owned by a private equity group.
Woltjer said the key to maintaining its place in the manufacturing field through the years is choosing solid companies as customers.
"We've always pursued high quality customers," he said.
Woltjer said they continue to adapt for the future to keep the company on solid footing.
"We are now starting to pursue some automotive based customers as well," Woltjer said.
Interface Sealing Solutions is hosting a 100th anniversary open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 9 at its 410 South First Ave. location. Current employees, retirees and their families are invited to the event.