“Northwest Bank’s Kent Kohlbacher has been instrumental in bringing us ideas and helping us explore strategies for growth. To have this banking relationship so close at hand locally, and with none of the usual layers, has been a real asset.”
David Gollob, Chairman and CEO, Barnes International
Barnes International Chairman and CEO David Gollob says ‘serendipity’ played a role in helping him take his family’s company from just $3 million in sales in 2005 to over $50 million today.
Barnes is now the global leader in producing engineered coolant filtration systems for the world’s metalworking industries – a company so good at what it does that is was named GM Supplier of the Year in 2017.
When the Great recession left only Barnes and a few others in its industry standing, the company saw an opportunity for growth, through acquisition of several major competitors and the expansion of its capabilities. For that, Barnes needed a business banking partner that shared its vision, says David Gollob.
David Gollob calls it serendipity, we call it The Power of YES!
“Northwest Bank practices what they preach. They’re local, and very community minded. It’s not just all about the numbers for them. Craig Carlson is like our financial doctor, making sure we’re practicing good preventive medicine, so that when something does come up, we stay healthy.”
Pastor K. Edward Copeland
When New Zion Baptist Church’s circa-1920s building on Rockford’s southwest side began to show its age, Pastor K. Edward Copeland turned to Northwest Bank’s Craig Carlson, his longtime commercial banking partner, for advice. The church would likely need to borrow to pay for an expensive new HVAC system, but Craig Carlson had a better idea. Northwest Bank had just come into possession of a much newer building at a good location on W. Riverside Blvd. The facility would enable the church to grow its congregation and help Pastor Copeland launch some new endeavors, like a free Christian legal clinic and more youth programming.
Today, just a few short months later, New Zion is going strong at 4747 W. Riverside. But that’s just the half of it. Northwest bank and Pastor Copeland also worked to help a young new ministry get its start and buy the old New Zion building, even raising money for the new ministry’s down payment.
For everything to have fallen in place so quickly and without a hitch, Pastor Copeland put his faith in Northwest Bank and says a higher power was at work -- and the Power of YES!
“Northwest Bank has believed in our business model and they’ve been there for us through all the inevitable business cycles. That trust, and their willingness to back our strategic initiatives and the expansion of resources is an important part of our success story.”
Rob Young, President Midwest Packaging
2012 was a watershed year for Midwest Packaging, today a leading local manufacturer of corrugated shipping containers and industrial crating. In 2012 the company was half the size it is today but thinking ‘big’ – as in big boxes. By investing in an advanced, $1 million Langston Flexo Folder Gluer, Midwest Packaging knew it could automate the production of a wide variety of large box styles in just one setup, giving the company a significant flexibility and throughput advantage over competitors needing several machines, multiple setups and more time and money to produce the same box. Purchasing the equipment, however, and adding 50,000 sq. ft. to the facility to accommodate the resource, was a stretch.
Northwest Bank, Midwest Packaging’s longtime business banking partner, came through with the financing, and the rest is history. Northwest Bank believes in Midwest’s ‘Go Big’ strategy, and the company continues to outperform, and out-invest, in productive new machinery and software that make project planning and production more efficient.
Midwest’s Rob Young believes in thinking ‘big’ but staying local – and the Power of YES!
“Northwest Bank’s willingness to help us expand when our business was bursting at the seams was a big reason we’ve stayed here. Not every bank is eager to help a small, local business like ours. With Northwest and Rob Gillette’s help, and at the urging of my wife Jennifer, we’ve added the space we need to accommodate 600% growth in just the last year.”
Eric Deutschmann, EJR Owner
EJR Technologies’ owner Eric Deutschmann credits his Mom for getting him started early as an entrepreneur and one of the area’s leading experts in the design, service and repair of engines for power sports. “EJR really started when I was in the 6th grade,” he recalls. “I wanted a dirt bike and my Mom said, ‘if you want one, go out and build it!’”
Today EJR Technologies in Belvidere, IL is known as one of the best shops in the area for the work they do; so good in fact that many of the area’s dealers of what Eric characterizes as ‘big kids’ toys’ – everything from motorbikes to boats, ATVs to snowmobiles – rely on EJR to take on custom engine design and other service and repair jobs. Now, Northwest Bank, and Northwest’s Rob Gillette are helping EJR take the business to the next level, by financing a 3,000 sq. ft. addition to the small building Northwest helped EJR occupy just a few years ago.
EJR’s Eric Deutschmann likes that Northwest Bank considers no business too small – and the Power of YES!
“Running a small business like ours isn’t for the faint of heart. Every day, we’re faced with tough decisions. Can we buy that new CNC machine, and still make payroll? That sort of thing. Whatever we need, Northwest Bank and Rob Gillette are there for us. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”
Mike Wilson, Owner, Wilson Manufacturing Screw Machine Products Inc.
Wilson Manufacturing Screw Machine Products must be doing something right. In the 22 years or so that this Rockford, IL manufacturer of small precision ‘screw machine’ products has been in business, the company has expanded seven times. Most recently, they’ve moved into yet another Rockford, IL facility – all with the help of financing from Northwest Bank.
While Northwest can’t help much with Wilson Manufacturing’s most pressing challenge – finding skilled machinists – owner Mike Wilson relies on Northwest Bank and Northwest’s Rob Gillette for practically everything else. “If I have a need, Northwest’s there for us,” Mike says. “And what’s really amazing? You walk into the bank and they know my name and they’ll even ask my wife Shary about the grandkids. That tells you a lot about how they look at their customers.”
Mike Wilson appreciates the relationships – and the Power of YES!
“Northwest Bank has been key to our $3 million business expansion project tripling our manufacturing capacity with our new Machesney Park facility. Just as important as the financing, though, has been the guidance we’ve gotten from Northwest’s Craig Carlson; he’s been instrumental in helping us benefit from local and state programs that foster business growth.”
Tim Burns, Owner, Quest7 Inc.
Every time an Amazon Prime jet flies into Rockford Tim Burns must smile. The explosion in ecommerce, sustainability and digital printing are fueling unprecedented growth in the use of corrugated packaging. As a manufacturer of industrial knives used on the machines that produce these boxes, Tim’s family owned company, Quest7, has been a major beneficiary of this industry growth.
Today, just 10 years after transitioning from a distributor to a full scale manufacturer, Quest7 is tripling its capacity with a $3 million expansion that includes a new 24,000 sq. ft. facility, productive new machinery, and doubling of its workforce. Making the move from a much smaller building in Beloit to the new facility in the Machesney Park Enterprise Zone took two years of planning, says Tim Burns, and a lot of help from Northwest Bank’s Craig Carlson. “We’ve had a long relationship with Craig, and we’ve really leaned on his expertise and guidance to benefit from local, RAEDC, and DCEO/Advantage Illinois programs that enhance small business growth,” says Tim.
Quest7’s Tim Burns likes Northwest Bank’s out-of-the box’ thinking – and the Power of YES!
“Sheryl and Northwest Bank have been amazing at every level, from servicing the mortgages that make the dream of affordable home ownership a reality for 170 Rockford families, to taking the pain out of the PPP process, to financing a new truck when our old one died.”
Keri Asevedo, Executive Director, Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity (HFH) is a not-for-profit organization with a simple vision: a world where everyone has a decent place to live. They’re working to make it happen in all 50 states and 70 countries. Thanks to the Rockford Area HFH, the dream of owning an affordable home has come true for 170 area families.
“The majority of the homes are built from scratch, in partnership with low-income families that partner with us, put the work in, and ultimately benefit from a very affordable mortgage,” explains Rockford Area HFH Executive Director Keri Nelson. “Proceeds from our ReStore, along with donations from individuals, churches, and other organizations help fund these home-building projects. Northwest Bank has been a Godsend, jumping in to service 100 active mortgages at no cost to HFH when our previous banking partner was acquired.”
Keri credits NWB’s Sheryl Haberle for carrying the banking burden for all HFH’s day-to-day needs. “She’s so accessible, whether it means getting us to the head of the line for PPP, lining up a loan for our new 20 ft. box truck or helping us with our on-line banking needs.”
For Rockford Area HFH, there’s no place like Northwest Bank.
“You really get a sense for the benefits of banking locally with Northwest Bank. You never have to worry. Everyone’s personable, helpful and accessible. Sheryl’s usually a step or two ahead, keeping us informed and suggesting new things that can help our business.”
Kathy Thomas, Office Manager, Lincoln Rent-All
If Lincoln Rent-All & Sales didn’t exist you’d have to invent it. It’s a business model that works beautifully for thousands of area homeowners and businesses that prefer to rent, rather than buy, high-quality equipment for periodic lawncare and construction projects. The burden of buying, maintaining and servicing the best brands in the business -- everything from Stihl chain saws to Toro tillers instead falls squarely on the shoulders of Lincoln, and its commercial banking partner Northwest Bank.
“I’ve been here 11 years, and for years before that Lincoln has always relied on Northwest Bank to meet all its business banking needs,” says Lincoln Office Manager Kathy Thomas. “It’s been a great partnership that I don’t believe could be replicated with a bank that wasn’t part of the community. They helped Lincoln expand with a second location, and of course back all our financial needs for new equipment. But it’s the little things that Sheryl does for us that really add up, whether helping us with PPP, putting check-scanning in place…always keeping us aware of new things to take advantage of.”
Lincoln Rent-All gets its business banking horsepower from Northwest Bank.