Masterbilt, Incorporated began as South Bend Machine Works in 1944 where inventors Columbus Harris and William Egly designed and manufactured industrial parts. The company soon changed to Masterbuilt Products Corporation and invented the Traveling Sprinkler. The sprinkler was featured in the June 13, 1949 issue of Life Magazine and gave Masterbuilt its impetus for growth. Masterbuilt Products continued producing the sprinkler through 1960 but the direction of the company began to change in 1950 when Masterbuilt received its first government based manufacturing contract.
Through this contract, Masterbuilt began supplying Pratt and Whitney and soon added Bendix and Joy Manufacturing to its customer base. Seeing the potential for this new business, Ray Kowalewski purchased the company in 1960 and incorporated the new Masterbilt in 1961. Under his leadership, the company ceased production of the sprinklers, and concentrated on supplying precision manufactured products for the aerospace and defense industries.
In 1992, Ray’s son Larry Kowalewski and Bob Michalak bought Masterbilt after working on the shop floor for more than 20 years each. Holding fast to Masterbilt’s tradition of impeccable quality and customer satisfaction, the new owners carefully grew the company by investing in technology to enhance manufacturing processes and taking its expertise into other fields, including medical and industrial.
Towards the end of 2014, Larry retired from the business and Bob’s son Rob Michalak rejoined Masterbilt after spending nearly 7 years in operations management in the automotive and aerospace sectors with a major diversified industrial company. In 2015, Rob led Masterbilt’s investment in several new machines, improvement of the quality system, and the implementation of lean tools to improve operations and prepare for future growth.
Masterbilt continues advancing its technology and processes to improve efficiency, expand capabilities, and exceed quality expectations. Management has always maintained a streamlined workforce and has made constant process improvements to ensure competitive pricing. Masterbilt has separated from competitors through its commitment to developing and maintaining a superior personal relationship with customers. A rich history, manufacturing expertise, and continued focus on customer satisfaction make Masterbilt a premier supplier of precision machined parts.
1961 – 1992: Focus on aerospace and defense products 1992 – 2014: Expansion into industrial and medical