Ewart-Ohlson, a company built on family principles, provides revolutionary machines for the continuously changing industrial market. Current president and 3rd generation Ewart, Brian Ewart, followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps to run the family business. Ewart-Ohlson’s success is fostered by its employees’ ability to acknowledge rapid industrial change and transform that into positive results along the way. This approach has propelled the company to make prosperous runs in the rubber, automotive, steel, and oil industries over the years. Ewart-Ohlson has now made the jump into running and supporting Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines, which allows employees to work on large-scale projects and specific computer automated designs their clients require. They have taken this highly automated end-to-end design and used it to satisfy even the largest client demands.
Ewart-Ohlson was founded by Brian’s grandfather and his partner Al Ohlson in 1942 in Akron, OH to serve the booming rubber industry. Shortly thereafter, Al Ohlson took over full ownership, but decided to keep the original name. The company moved to its current location in Cuyahoga Falls, just north of Akron, in 1958.
By the 1970s, Ewart-Ohlson moved away from the maturing rubber industry and made the switch into the steel and automotive markets. When the 1980s hit, oil exploration was on the rise and the company began to create the necessary machinery and develop skills to take on this new industrial market boom. By then, the company also began to explore the machining requirements of the aerospace industry.
Brian, a Princeton graduate, began to work for his father in the early 1980s, roughly around the same time Ewart-Ohlson made a push to enter the aerospace market. By the time he entered the family business, he had a wealth of industrial knowledge. When his father handed him the reigns to the company, it seemed there was no better fit to step in. Brian took over as president in 2009 and demonstrated the same leadership his father and grandfather had before him.
With Brian’s help, the company acquired the technology necessary to serve aerospace industry clients, which sparked a steady period of growth that continues to this day. The company saw funds from the US government, NASA, and Boeing pour into the development of projects that included space shuttles and large aircrafts. This was largely due to its ability to incorporate machinery precise and large enough to take on projects that most others could not. They had a unique ability to perform qualifying and rough machining operations on forgings for the aircraft landing gear industry. An example of Ewart-Ohlson’s capabilities is in its CNC lathes that have the capacity to machine some of the largest forgings produced for the modern commercial aircraft industry. The company has similar precise capabilities in CNC milling to aid the qualification of aircraft landing gear and CNC deep hole drilling. More recently, Ewart-Ohlson aided in the sizing qualifications required for the 7-ton landing gear cylinder forgings for the Airbus A380 super-jumbo airliner and NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Program. Ewart-Ohlson continues to offer solutions unique to each client with some of the largest and most difficult requirements.
With a profitable transition into the aerospace market, Ewart-Ohlson’s organizational success has continued for the last 30 years. The company’s ability to transition from one industry to another is a credit to their continuous acquisition of the proper technology, skills, and labor to serve their clients. Ewart-Ohlson has benefited from seamless leadership by passing a vision for success from one generation to the next.
Ewart-Ohlson and Cougar Mountain Software
Adapting to the changes of industry was important for growth, but the leaders at Ewart-Ohlson knew their internal operations must continue to expand and they must find better ways to support their systems. Finding a way to address their accounting concerns was at the top of the list. They purchased their first computer in the early 1980s, with the intention of using it to store important files and reduce the amount of work done by hand. Brian stated, “At that time, we were expanding and did not have the capacity or time to do accounting by hand. We wanted a system that would allow us to integrate the accounting files we had built up. We had several proposals from multiple companies and Cougar Mountain Software looked the most professional and was an appealing system for manufacturing companies.”
Cougar Mountain Software has also adapted. With the ever-changing technological environment, both organizations’ ability to adapt to their respective industries has been instrumental in their success. Both Ewart-Ohlson and Cougar Mountain Software achieved success through visions passed down from generations in which leadership was transferred from father to son. These comparisons might shed some light on why Ewart-Ohlson and Cougar Mountain Software formed a positive business relationship. Ewart-Ohlson now uses Cougar Mountain’s software to track accounts payable, accounts receivable, and sales, and the company is transitioning to the new DENALI system. Brian states, “We know the DENALI system will continue to make that side of our business run smoothly and give us the freedom to focus our attention on other areas of our business.” Three years into his presidency, Brian Ewart continues to focus on what made his company successful by adapting to the current needs of industry and their clients. Cougar Mountain Software shares in this approach by helping Ewart-Ohlson and other customers have the most up-to-date accounting system.