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Wichita, KS
Wichita, KS
Patricia Koehler
J.R. Custom Metal Products

My father started this business in 1974. He was an immigrant from Mexico and came here to go to school. After he finished, he ended up helping other individuals start a business, and decided to go out on his own.

J.R. Custom Metal Products focuses on metal and sheet metal fabrication. We work with mowing, aircraft, motorcycle and other manufacturers that need parts made for their assembly line. We have 79 employees.

Since we don't have our own product, we have to make sure we don't focus on any one industry. I'd say we're not more than 25% in one industry. That helps today, with the slowdown. We've had numerous customers that closed down or slowed down their production line. It affected us, but we were able to find other work.

My dad had the opportunity to move the company somewhere else, but there is something about the entrepreneurial spirit that this community has. And even though it's known for aircraft, it is actually diverse in many different industries. We're also centrally located, so we can ship to our customers in Alabama, Texas, Illinois and elsewhere in the United States.

I had always grown up in the office. I started with answering the phone and writing invoices, and it just moved on throughout the years. My dad, who passed away two years ago, turned the business over to me in 1995. I have two brothers and a sister, brother-in-law and sister-in-law and two children who are also involved in the business. We are a family operation. -Ellen Lee

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