Initially, Steve Burke simply had a hobby in his garage and basement but that interest evolved into AIRman Inc. in 1995. He saw opportunities and the need for pneumatic control systems and actuators, so he decided to take a big risk and start the company.
Shortly after he began the business, he realized he would have to move to a larger facility to accommodate the range of special products he was producing. He risked his life savings to sustain the company in its early days, but it was a risk that paid off. His wife worked with him to make sure the family stayed strong, and today she runs the accounting side of the business.
Initially, the marketing approach of the company was that of blank-sheet-of-paper product development response to any and all customer application requests. There was no catalog of standard products, and while this approach appealed to clients, but eventually it became very labor intensive. The company had to find a way to improve margins while producing cost-effective and rapid responses for customers. They decided to narrow their marketing to a customer base that would provide the greatest volume and best overall margins, which they found in heavy vehicle and medical equipment sectors.
Sixteen years after founding his company, Burke is still the epitome of an entrepreneur as he remains connected to all levels of his company. Decision-making powers are shared among managers at various level and he makes sure that key managers remain connected to the business through ownership and incentive compensation programs that are unlimited. His passion for the business, his dedication to his people and his strong leadership capabilities have attracted about 35 skilled engineers, technicians and equipment operators, with a staff turnover well below the national average.
How to reach: AIRman Inc., (248) 960-1354 or www.airmaninc.com