Thanks to the determination of one family and the dedication of some outstanding employees, Springfield manufacturer Nudo Products Inc., has grown from humble beginnings.
In the summer of 1954, the late Sam Nudo Sr. and his brother founded a small business selling awnings and floor tiles. During those early days, they occasionally took their products door to door. Eight years passed, and in 1962, Sam and his wife, Wanda, purchased his brother's share of the business.
During the years the couple's business grew and prospered - and so did their family. Together, the couple raised five dark-haired sons. One by one, the Nudo boys grew up and joined their parents in business. Finally, with an abundance of family cooperation, Sam and Wanda's dream became a reality.
The eventual success of the awning business allowed the Nudos to finance a lamination business. "The lamination business involved their sons Tom, Sam Jr., Tim and Pat and quickly became a successful player in the national panel markets," says Mark Bate, president and CEO.
"Nudo was sold in April 2008 to a group of investors the Nudo family sought out to take the company to the next level," Bate says. "The company had enjoyed 54 years of growth, having reached a very impressive list of national customers in over 19 market segments, but knew it was just scratching the surface of the size and reach it could achieve and realized that it would need help to get there.
"The decision was a joint decision by Sam Sr. and Sam Jr., Tim and Pat. There was a lot of good sweat equity by Sam and Wanda and all their sons over the years to grow the business to a strong national supplier, but they all realized that to really achieve the next step, they needed some help and financing," Bate says.
In addition to the investment of a leading private equity fund and three major U.S. banks, Sam Jr., Tim and Pat Nudo all remain investors in the business and are active in monthly board meetings. Sam Jr. also continues to provide guidance to the business as a consultant.
"Today, Nudo Products Inc. manufactures a variety of wall, ceiling and flooring panel systems that are used in everything from agricultural buildings to commercial buildings," Bate says. "We are one of the largest producers of trailer doors, farm building wall systems, panel systems for RVs and architectural panels for commercial buildings and restaurants.
"If you can think of a panel needed, Nudo can build it," Bate says. "We also produced our own accessories, including moldings for the panels, rivets and other attachments. Nudo is also one of the largest manufacturers of high density poly ethylene sheets in the country with the ability to customize colors and additives to meet customer's unique needs. This all gives Nudo a unique ability to be cost effective on commodity panels while having the range of products that meet any need of our customers."
Most of the business' volume is sold in the Midwest, but Nudo also has significant customers in the Eastern and Western parts of the United States.
"This growth has been based on the good basic premise that if you provide a good quality product at fair prices and deliver complete and on time, you will win a customer's loyalty," Bate says.
"As Nudo Products has done this over the years, the word spreads among farmers, commercial builders and architects, and the business continues to grow," he says. "The main job of the company today is to retain these principals and reach more markets and customers to take the business to the No. 1 panel manufacturer in the country."
Wanda and Sam Nudo are gone now; however, some of their original employees still work for Nudo Products. "Nudo employs close to 150 full-time employees, mostly working in Springfield in jobs ranging from machine operators to inside sales, inventory control, finance, purchasing, shipping and management," Bate says.
The still-expanding company operates out of six buildings totaling close to 500,000 square feet of operating space. "Combined, we take up more than two city blocks and have plans in the works to grow the business beyond this," Bate says.
"We also employ a national sales force located in territories across the entire United States. Our employees have a very impressive tenure with some of them dating back to the original start-up of the company. Our employees know their jobs and do it better than any other folks in the industry. This is the major reason Nudo has been successful over the years and will continue to be successful in the future."
Bate says he is not only proud of what Nudo employees do for the business, but also of what they do for the community. "Nudo Products has created Nudo Cares, a volunteer group of Nudo employees from all different roles - operators to executive management - that have the simple purpose of 'Helping the Springfield Community One Person at a Time.'
"Our most recent project was to sponsor a food, clothing and toy drive at our main facility located at 1500 Taylor St. - at the corner of Taylor and South Grand - to benefit the Kumler Outreach Ministries and Toys for Tots," Bate concludes. "These are tough economic times for everyone, and Nudo employees have decided to something about it and volunteer our time to those less fortunate. This alone tells you what kind of company Nudo is."
Story published Friday, January 8, 2010 ( Volume 5, Number 1 )