Twin Pines Manufacturing

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In 2001, when Bob Kovalcik moved his small manufacturing operation, Twin Pines Manufacturing, to Indiana County, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center (SBDC) helped him obtain financing for the move by working with him to develop a business plan. At the time, his main line of business was specializing in plastic and rubber molding equipment for the auto industry. Between 2001 and 2009, his business seemed to expand and contract with the economy. As the shale gas industry began to expand into Pennsylvania, Kovalcik went searching for ways to diversify his product base and was able to identify some potential opportunities.

The SBDC discussed these opportunities with Kovalcik and helped him analyze and implement a strategy to pursue them. One of the opportunities required a significant capital outlay. Financial estimates of capital costs versus potential returns were prepared, which led to further research and understanding of how the new industry operated and the likely extent of the drilling that would ensue.

Consequently, Kovalcik partnered with a much larger company to make the molds for an opportunity he had identified. He then became a distribution outlet for the molded product he had helped design and the extended line of products made by his partner, Federal Mogul. In addition to his machining work, he now sells hydrofracking spare and replacement parts, e.g. cement plugs and hammer union seals.

In fact, he even designed a hammer union seal that can be sold at one third of the cost companies are now paying. The new seal will also yield better performance.

Interaction with the Marcellus industry combined with awareness of his company’s strengths in rubber molding have led him to identify a number of additional opportunities to replace out-of-state suppliers with local alternatives of equal or better quality.

With the SBDC's help, Kovalcik has diversified his product offerings, doubled his employment from four to nine, invested in computer controlled equipment that offers the company additional capabilities and increases quality and productivity, and brought a higher level of quality and functionality to some of the products used in hydrofracking. Now, 80 percent of his business is from Gas & Oil and his traditional lines of business are picking up again.

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