Diversity has helped a Spencer manufacturer succeed in more ways than one.
Demco, which has had a facility located in Spencer since 1995, has been able to lean on its many products that are manufactured for several different industries and has also taken innovative hiring approaches.
Although some industries, especially agriculture, have seen better days economically, Demco has relied on its diversification to ensure its success. The company builds a variety of equipment and trailers for the agriculture, RV and rental industries.
“The ag economy’s been down, but trailer sales have been very busy for us,” said John Tatman, plant manager for Demco in Spencer. “The diversification has helped tremendously. If you look at the whole picture of our company, between ag, king pin trailer sales, the RV industry and the rental industry that we’re involved in, we’re very diversified.”
Supporting diversity in Spencer
Though product diversification has helped Demco, so too has its approach to diversifying its workforce – and showing support of diversity throughout Spencer.
Demco made its support for diversity known publicly by co-sponsoring a diversity-focused event held in June by the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation.
That event featured a documentary followed by a panel discussion on how communities like Spencer can advocate for diversity. Workshops were held the next day that gave businesses and other stakeholders more insight into supporting diversity.
“We want the community to know that we support diversification and that we are a diverse company,” Tatman said. “And that was a very good event.”
At its Spencer operation, Demco has partnered with a service that recruits employees from Puerto Rico. Those employees move to Spencer and begin working full-time.
Tatman said the arrangement has worked out well for the company. Demco in Spencer employs five individuals who were recruited through the service and plans to add more soon.
Demco history goes back to 1950s
Demco primarily builds agricultural products and other trailers in Spencer. At its headquarters in Boyden, the company also builds agricultural products, as well as many products for the RV industry.
Demco, now in its third-generation of family ownership, was started in 1950 by Robert Dethmers as Dethmers Manufacturing Company, specializing in agricultural industry equipment production.
Demco’s history in Spencer stretches back to 2000, when what was then known as Mauer Manufacturing was sold to Lakes Enterprises. Demco was a primary investor in Lakes Enterprises.
“Maurer Manufacturing was started in 1990 by Bob and Peg (Maurer) down by their farm in Sutherland,” Tatman said. “Moved to Spencer in 1995.”
In 2016, Demco bought out the other investors to become the sole owner.
No matter the name, the Spencer operation has been a consistent manufacturer and employer.
“We’re producing the same products that we did back when we were Maurer or when we were Lakes Enterprises,” Tatman said. “We’re primarily an ag and trailer manufacturer.”
Tatman added that Demco is hiring at both its Spencer and Boyden locations.
“Both facilities are looking to hire,” Tatman said. “In Spencer, we’re needing to hire roughly five to 10 people right now. And that’s across the board between welding, fabrication and finishing departments.”
Demco operates four days out of the week in Spencer.
“Production runs four 10-hour days,” Tatman said. “We’re producing seven kingpin trailers a week, we’re producing 10 head transporters a week and probably about 75 to 100 extensions or tip ups per week.”
The Spencer Business Spotlight is a monthly feature sponsored by Spencer Municipal Utilities. Follow SMU on Facebook for community-related updates.