GOGEBIC COUNTY - What does it take to start a business from scratch? Ask Neil Balduc, founder of Tritegrity Machine LLC in Ironwood, Michigan. Neil started Tritegrity in nearby Bessemer in 2019 in his garage with just one machine, one employee, and an email address. He poured his heart and soul into growing the business, working countless hours to make it a success. 

Today, Tritegrity has grown into a successful steel parts manufacturer with a new building, almost a dozen manufacturing machines, five employees, and clients throughout the country. Neil's determination and focus on relationships has resulted in a business that not only provides his community jobs, but also values integrity, fun, and growth. Neil chose the name Tritegrity to represent the three pillars of integrity: trust, honesty, and respect. He envisioned building a workplace that treats people with integrity and fosters a fun company culture. Neil felt that these two critical elements were lacking in the industry, and he wanted to make a difference.

Building relationships is key, advice Neil gives to other entrepreneurs. “It’s not just about making money,” crediting his success to the right mindset, determination, and focus on relationships. Neil cultivated personal connections with many people and organizations that supported his growth, including LeAnne Kachmarsky with Apex Accelerators for government contracting guidance, Kristin Smith with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) for manufacturing improvements and connections, Elizabeth Bernhard with the Manufacturing Growth Alliance (MGA), Steve Lehto with Michigan Works for employee training assistance, Vicki Schwab with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) for expansion resources, and local government support from Tom Bergman with the City of Ironwood for website and building recommendations, among many others.

Neil gives special thanks to the support he received from the Michigan SBDC and his SBDC consultant Daniel Yoder, who provided guidance on financial planning for his expansion, website development, his Google business listing, energy efficiency reimbursement applications, as well as referrals to many of the organizations and partners listed above. When asked how the SBDC helped support him, Neil shared, "Daniel is awesome. Even when he doesn't have the answer to something, he doesn't just shrug it off. He puts in the effort to assist me in finding the right folks and resources to get the job done."

What’s next for Tritegrity? Neil is now focused on expanding his team, customer base, and processes to provide more advanced services and automation to allow for more complex and specialized jobs. “We especially want to grow with the technology we use so we are able to support more advanced processes and automation. Once you get going, you start getting into more complicated jobs…that’s what makes it fun. Taking on a job you are not fully comfortable with and getting that opportunity to learn and perform successfully? That’s what excites us the most.”

Learn more about Tritegrity at tritegritymachine.com.