Nomad celebrates 20 years manufacturing specialty vehicles
Columbia Falls firm Nomad GCS marks its 20th anniversary this yr.
The enterprise commenced in a loved ones barn in the vicinity of Creston, as mates and associates Shane Ackerly, Clay Binford, Seth Schmautz and brother Will Schmautz resolved to make a mobile command middle for organizations like the Forest Provider, which required to be in a position to entry the Net and converse remotely although combating forest fires.
The very first trailer, which took the crew 1000’s of hours to build, did the occupation. It also doubled as an world wide web hub for holidaymakers in the summer of 2003. The companions established up the trailer around the gift store in West Glacier so tourists at the time could accessibility their e-mail and surf the net — for a modest price.
This was 4 a long time right before the first Apple iphone.
The calendar year 2003 would stop up getting an historic hearth yr and Nomad promptly went to perform for the Forest Company on the Wedge Canyon Fireplace up the North Fork.
“If we didn’t have a substantial hearth yr, matters might have been different,” Will Schmautz, CEO of the corporation reported in a new job interview.
Now Nomad is a multi-million dollar business and employs about 200 men and women at its facility on U.S. 2 south of Columbia Falls, earning specialty autos for federal, condition and private organizations about the state and the world.
But the enterprise has most absolutely modified in excess of the years. Schmautz noted that wildland firefighting is about 50 % of 1% of its small business.
The federal govt as a complete, having said that, carries on to engage in a substantial role in the enterprise, with 60% to 70% of orders coming from federal companies, 15% from state and nearby governments and 15% from the private sector.
The business requires pains to collaborate with shoppers to develop cellular command facilities and tools to their requirements.
On the nearby front, for example, the firm built a mobile mammography unit for Logan Overall health, so the healthcare facility can do mammograms for distant communities in western Montana instead of acquiring individuals vacation for hrs to the clinic.
The firm not too long ago was awarded $20 million in the Defense Appropriations monthly bill alongside with laser producer BlueHalo to create a mobile procedure that would use lasers to shoot down drones in war. Schmautz claimed Blue Halo is acquiring the lasers and Nomad will develop the car or truck to support it.
The business demands additional workers, Schmautz noted. It could use yet another 50. It is by now expanding operations to Alabama, Nevada and Maryland exactly where it demands enable with engineering and complex guidance. It is also contemplating one more production facility in Libby.
Around the a long time, Schmautz said the main of the small business has remained the identical and it’s not all about the products.
“Almost all of it is going to close up in a museum or junkyard,” he said. “We’re setting up partnerships and associations to clear up troubles.”
He mentioned there have been some notable clientele over the yrs, like the Army Corps of Engineers.
“They proceed to impress me on how well they do organization,” he claimed.
He also claimed the function they’ve carried out for the Air Pressure has been gratifying as properly.
“It feels so darn important,” he said.
The four companions are still close buddies now.
“We all acquired gravel bikes so we can go out and journey collectively,” he said. A team holiday is also in the is effective.
As for the barn in Creston?
Schmautz explained they experienced to choose it down very last calendar year just before it fell down on its possess, but they have strategies to rebuild it and use some of the old timbers in the new construction.