2019 Washington Manufacturing Awards, Innovator of the Year

Gold: Bogert Manufacturing Inc., Pasco; Silver: Techni-Grip, Tacoma
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  • TOOLS. President and CEO Richard Bogert takes pride in the Bogert Group team’s ability to develop “meaningfully unique” products.
TOOLS. President and CEO Richard Bogert takes pride in the Bogert Group team’s ability to develop “meaningfully unique” products.

This article appears in the May 2019 issue. See more about the winners of the 2019 Washington Manufacturing Awards hereClick here for a free subscription.

GOLD AWARD
Bogert Manufacturing Inc., Pasco

“There ought to be a tool for that.” When that’s the case, CEO Richard Bogert and his team and family of companies are the ones to figure out what will get the job done. Pasco-based Bogert Group is an umbrella for businesses that make military equipment, hydraulic pumps, accessories for recreational boating and small aircraft, and a line of jacks for safely lifting heavy equipment. The commonality, Bogert says, is that the products are “meaningfully unique — they need to do something meaningful and it can’t be something that is already being done.”

The companies keep a fast pace of product development, adding more than one new product a month, and turning an idea into a testing-ready prototype in as little as a week. That’s accomplished by having the 26-person workforce extensively cross-trained. “A welder may also work in fabrication and be trained to be a machinist or perhaps do CAD or 3-D printing, aid in product design, testing or video production. A sales person also may work on marketing, graphics, accounting or customer service. No one gets burned out doing the same thing every day.” Bogert has grown to more than $7 million in annual revenue, up 160 percent from the previous year. Net profits are about 30 percent and the company is debt-free. Perhaps best of all, “We have very little competition in the marketplace because we are often the sole source for the type of product we produce,” Bogert says. “We create solutions.”

SILVER AWARD
Techni-Grip, Tacoma

Every weekend craftsperson and tinkerer knows how important it is to hold a project in place to be able to work on it. That becomes even more crucial when the project is a machined part with tolerances measured in minute fractions. Techni-Grip was born from a related company’s efforts to solve the problem of holding objects firmly enough to be worked on, but not so hard as to damage or distort the piece. Techni-Grip’s system also makes manufacturing more efficient by reducing setup and changeover time. When others got a look at the system, they asked for one, too, and a company was born.

Techni-Grip reported a 13 percent gain in revenue over 2017, and more growth should be coming as the company rolls out a hydraulic, automated version of the existing product line, employing a design that will allow customers to upgrade without having to scrap the tooling they have. The company also is putting an emphasis on research and development to devise the next generation of tools that work in the automated, robotic and lights-out factories of the future. 

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