Michele and Dennis Pecha outside the new Fifth Avenue offices and shop for Nortec USA,
which has moved from manufacturing into marketing, training and engineering.

Local Manufacturer Nortec USA Changing Focus Revitalizes Its Focus, Adds a Downtown Office.

Nortec USA, a long-established local manufacturer of agricultural and landscape equipment, is entering 2019 with new offices and a revitalized focus.

The company, owned by Dennis and Michele Pecha, has purchased an office and shop in the 500 block of Fifth Avenue, creating a business presence downtown that will focus on marketing, training and engineering.

“We’re very excited,” Michele said. “We simply outgrew the corporate home office and we love our little community and needed a presence here.”

“We’re expanding our business plan with the new office and shop location,” Dennis added. “Many factories choose to move overseas for economic reasons, so to have that kind of overhead and inventory would have been the end of Nortec.”

Instead, the company is turning to micro-manufacturing, using small, expert shops across Wisconsin to build products in small quantities.

The most visible change is the new office and shop, located in what was formerly North Auto, and renovated with assistance from the city of Antigo facade and entrepreneur grant programs.

“I wish I had a nickel for every time someone asked me what we were doing,” Dennis said. “People have been very curious what we are up too.”

“The city of Antigo has been wonderful to work with,” Michele added. “We’ve had really good support.” Dating to 2000, Nortec originally operated a manufacturing plant on Cherry Road, building its varied line of agricultural and recreational trail equipment in-house.

But the 2008 recession put an end to that and forced the company—which had an outstanding reputation for its product lines, sales and service—to reinvent itself.

“There are lots of job shops with state-of-the-art equipment in Wisconsin that can do the actual manufacturing very expertly,” Dennis said, with Nortec currently working with five across the state and always looking to add more. “In a year or two it will be double. We already affect 250 subcontracted employees.”

Nortec’s main customer base is reached via the Internet, again eliminating the need for a large showroom. Instead, Nortec relies on 38 sales representatives scattered across the U.S. with parts and equipment shipped worldwide.

Instead of a large plant, the Antigo headquarters is needed more as a central meeting place— for gatherings of buyers, manufacturers and sales reps—and a location for factory outlet and demo and parts sales, and repairs as well as marketing.

“The days of having several vendors are coming to an end,” Dennis said. “Dealers want to do business with less vendors and vendors with more product offering. This is the direction we are taking.”

The company has several new pieces of equipment that the Pechas said will have a large market presence, include silage facers, which they call Nortec’s “market niche,” very popular with high end dairy farms. They explained that unlike the conventional method of removing feed with a bucket, the Nortec facer quickly shaves feed from the face of the pile each day. The result is consistent high-quality feed that is easy to load and mix uniformly.

Nortec is also close to introducing a bale shredder designed for Skidsteers or compact wheel loaders.

“I think we have a winner on our hands with this one,” Dennis said. “It’s a huge market with lots of opportunities.”

Other products include subterranean rock pickers; ginseng, root and vegetable diggers; straw chopperd for landscape mulching; rotary brooms for sweeping side walks, parking areas and ice rinks; material haulers; and a wide range of landscape and Force trail grooming equipment for operations ranging from backyard trails to large recreational complexes.

All are designed to be pulled by tractors, Skidsteers, ATVS or UTVs depending on size.

The Pechas said that the diversification and micro-manufacturing are the keys to the future.

“My intentions are to make Nortec recession proof,” Dennis said. “All markets have their up and downs, it’s just a fact of life. The key to overcoming this is not to get locked into and dependent on just one market. A new release for 2019 is the 5th Generation Raptor for both tractor and Skidsteer, which has great potential for launching Nortec as the industry market leader of soil processors.”

The new engineering department, coming later this year, will help achieve that goal as well, he said, with Nortec becoming an engineering group committed to improving existing and designing new product lines.

“You have got to be progressively changing as a business, looking at the needs, the demands and what people want,” Michele said. “It’s getting bigger and we’re growing. We needed this.”

Source: Antigo Daily Journal Prime Time February 2019 Edition.