Brothers Mike and Don Tvetene have been in the farming and manufacturing business all their lives. As part owners of their family’s Tvetene Turf Farms business and part founders of Trebro Manufacturing, establishing AIH Manufacturing was part of a natural progression toward excellence in the industry.
Mike Tvetene’s vision for business expansion is clear. Having already owned the 2,400-square-foot property at 5840 Titan Ave. in Billings, an additional 9,600 square feet of warehouse space is all he and his brother Don needed to make AIH Manufacturing come to life.
AIH broke ground in September 2015 with the help of general contractor S-Bar-S. Ryan Stichman, S-Bar-S project manager details the pros and cons of construction.
“The original building was an S-Bar-S building,” Stichman said. “It was kind of fun to add on to an existing structure of our own for a new customer.”
Despite weather-related snags, a previously established working relationship between S-Bar-S and AIH eased the process right along.
Stichman’s favorite feature was the wash bay, lined with steel-stud walls designed to keep moisture out. It’s ideal for AIH’s many pressure washing needs.
Taylor Electric, Kenco Security, Systems Technology Consultants and Custom Concrete all were part of the project. Wired, powered and built with as much local help as possible, AIH’s March 15 soft opening allowed them to quickly give back to the contractors and subcontractors that made the building expansion possible.
Mike Tvetene says AIH stands for “as it happens,” implying that if someone needs work done, AIH gets it done.
Room to grow
With more than 50 years of combined experience, Tvetene’s team of welders, machinists and fabricators required ample space for production.
Terry Miller, AIH project manager, explains the perks of the building.
“It’s decently located, accessible from two streets and close to the highway,” he said. “We can pull in a full semi if we have to, and the wide doors and high ceilings allow for large farm equipment.”
With machining and welding areas, the up-and-coming manufacturing company specializing in small to large repairs of “anything and everything” relied heavily on Taylor Electric Inc. to get its equipment up and running as soon as possible.
“They gave us excellent power and did a stellar job,” said Mike Tvetene of the local electric company’s key role in powering their impressive equipment.
Ed Taylor, co-owner of Taylor Electric Inc., credits his unique relationship with Tvetene for the construction’s success.
“Mike is a friend of mine, and (AIH) and I had a word-and-a-handshake kind of relationship,” Taylor explained of the no-blueprint design build. “Having a good relationship was key. If I didn’t know them so well, it would’ve been nerve-wracking; but we knew what we were getting into.”
The four- to five-month project was an easy fit for Taylor Electric, having already utilized AIH’s services for their own custom needs post-construction.
“It’s been a two-way street,” said Taylor.
AIH’s CNC machinery, manual metal lathe, pressure washer and embedded electronics speak to the volume of services it offers.
Anything and everything
Machinist Chaz Cormier explains what AIH can do.
“We work with stainless and hardened steel, aluminum, brass – you name it – and rebuild things like hydraulic cylinders, repairing whatever’s needed or building new,” he said. “With the 8-station programmable CNC machine, we can cut any style of thread and designs simulated in 3-D.”
In layman’s terms, AIH works on anything from a prosthetic arm to a rail car.
Not to be confused with a mechanic shop, AIH builds parts that other companies use to repair machinery such as a lawn mower or mining equipment.
“When a mine or refinery shuts down, they need (the problem) fixed right away,” said shop manager Dallas Borden.
Hence where AIH gets its name.
“There’s a strong sense of urgency,” explained marketing director Racquel Kaelberer. “Somebody might not be making money if they need something fixed.”
There’s not much AIH can’t do.
According to office manager Tisha Hague, the manufacturing company can fabricate and design for any of the contractors that assisted in the building’s construction.
A two-way local business exchange, AIH not only tries to hire locally, but purchase and service locally as well.
“We try to buy local as best we can,” said Miller. “It’s 90 percent of what we use.”
Community centered, AIH also keeps local with its hiring process.
Taking a chance
With the goal to expand in mind, AIH trains students from the Billings Career Center to get them started on a career path.
“We’re helping the city of Billings out by creating jobs,” explained Cormier, who contacts Center students interested in welding.
From repairing ejector boxes for large mining equipment to helping out a traveler with a hard-to-find Dodge part, incoming apprentices have the best mentors at their disposal to get the odd job done.