In 1990, my father, Gene Rahrig, left the corporate world to begin a new business providing professional services to the manufacturing sector, primarily focused on machine tool and automation equipment maintenance and troubleshooting.
Dad already had quite a reputation in the field – his first customers were beating down the door before the ink dried on the papers that formally registered his company with the State of Ohio. And so, Gene’s Industrial equipment Service was born. The following summer, I worked part time (under his close scrutiny) cleaning hydraulic tanks and changing DC motor brushes. A few years later, I took advantage of a full time position as his apprentice. I carried his tools for six months before he let me touch one thing that belonged to his customers, but I spent the next 4 years developing my own expertise with PLCs, CNCs, hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical systems with dad’s careful guidance. I also learned what it means to provide quality service to customers. The culture of Dad’s company was such that once we serviced a customer for the first time, we handled all their service needs going forward. Today, Gene’s Industrial serves many of the same customers that helped get the business started.
In 1999, I left my father’s employ at the invitation of GE FANUC Automation (now GE Intelligent Platforms) to service an installed base of 1200 GE CNC and PLCs in a large automotive powertrain plant in Indiana. There I would report to the customer’s engineering manager to support daily operations, manage retrofit projects and develop and maintain specifications for new plant automation systems. It was in this capacity that I began integrating manufacturing intelligence software systems with the plant floor systems. I latched on to how this technology was revolutionizing manufacturing efficiency and quality, and focused on learning as much as possible about it.
From 2005 to 2012, I served in varying commercial capacities selling automation and manufacturing information software and services, and consulting for customers in the area of Manufacturing Intelligence. In November 2012, I made the decision to return to my roots and escape the rigor of the corporate scene. Toward Zero was born.
23 years later, Toward Zero Company continues the legacy of Gene’s Industrial Equipment Service, providing expert system integration for Automation and Manufacturing Operations Management systems. Our goal is to help guide our customers through their transformation from companies that have equipment that runs well, to enterprises that use the equipment to run their businesses better. We’ll achieve our goals by focusing on our vision: Contributing, without boundaries, to manufacturing excellence.
- Don Rahrig