Dan Brockman was a college student in the late 1960s when he took a part-time job at a manufacturer who also happened to be looking for a hard chrome plater.
One of the tasks Brockman was given was to find a suitable plating operation for his employer to use, and he discovered there were not many platers to choose from.
“I went back to my college class and wrote a 70-page business plan with a few other students on how to run a hard chrome plating business,” says Brockman, who eventually used the plan to open what is now Techmetals in Dayton, one of the premier finishing operations in North America.
“I was 20 years old and thought I knew it all,” he says. “I started the business and never even went back and finished college. My first plating tank was a Rubbermaid trash bin, and we used a car battery charger as a power source. I thought I could easily fix this problem.
$1 million in Just the Second Year
In just its second year of operations, Brockman – who was joined by John Stickel to start Miami Precision Chrome — and his young team earned over $1 million in sales, a remarkable accomplishment for the young engineer who www.FinishingAndCoating.com is featuring in its “Legends” series to highlight pioneers in the finishing industry.
After Stickel’s departure in the mid-1970s, Brockman was joined by longtime friend Mike Franz. With the increasing demand for metal plating, a new and larger facility was necessary. Soon after, they would introduce an electroless nickel division, Electroless Nickel of Dayton. They eventually opened up several other finishing and machining businesses, too.
“I also like to invest in stocks, and one of the major rules is to be diversified,” Brockman says. “One of the first things in all my business plans was I wanted to be in at least five sectors.
From 12 Employees to 260
In 1982, the company was renamed Techmetals, and all the different finishing businesses were combined into one. Since then, the company has grown from 12 employees and 80,000 square feet to more than 260 employees and their current 160,000-square-foot facility.
Today, Brockman is mostly retired but still visits Techmetals offices frequently, where his son, Phillip, is now president and CEO.
“Phillip has continued a lot of the things that we started, which was continued training for employees and showing appreciation to the staff,” Brockman says. “You are only as good as your employees.”