Sen. Dean Heller visited Vineburg Machining, Inc., in Mound House on Wednesday and said the world doesn’t know the hidden gem Northern Nevada’s industry is.
“People don’t realize the great work that’s going on in this area,” said the U.S. senator, who told Vineburg’s brain trust he grew up spending much time in a similar business his father had in Carson City.
“Just so you guys know, I grew up in a machine shop,” he said. “So it’s great to be here.”
The occasion for the visit was a tour of Vineburg with Gerd Poppinga, Sr., the founder, president and CEO, Sven Klatt, the general manager, and Gerd Poppinga, Jr., vice president, as well as representatives from Advantage Capital Partners.
Advantage Capital infused $2.75 million in loan money under a federal-state program into the expanding machine shop under a New Markets program nationwide.
Before the tour, Heller peppered the Vineburg executives about their machining work, the new equipment made possible by expansion money, the firm’s history and its customers.
Klatt said Tesla Motors coming to Nevada, and the new machines are “opening doors” and the company currently has 134 active customers ranging from other local manufacturers like Click Bond, Inc., to national and international firms.
He said much of the business from other area firms was garnered mainly by word of mouth over the years. He also credited the firm’s craziness at rarely turning away work.
“We have the ‘yes, we can’ attitude and the new equipment,” Klatt added.
The founder mentioned his firm came years ago from California as a survival move. He recalled California days in tough times, when he decided “we can’t do it here; it’s too expensive.”
He said he brought along nearly 20 key people in his move of the firm to Northern Nevada.
The Advantage Capital representatives on hand were Steven Stull and Scott Murphy, the latter a former congressman from upstate New York who had served with Heller in Congress before returning to the private sector.
Murphy told Heller Advantage Capital had selected Vineburg for the loan program money last year because the executives there knew how to keep efficient in good times and bad, and are committed to training skilled workers.