Katie Spika, President & CEO of Spika Design & Manufacturing, Inc. in Lewistown, Montana stared out of her window into the expanse of the serene Montana landscape faraway wondering how the pandemic that had blind-sided businesses worldwide would impact her market.
Her gaze fell on the empty space adjacent to the factory premises. Plans had been afoot for a factory expansion to get the company positioned for supporting a resurgence in manufacturing in America when the pandemic hit. Major corporations were pulling back on capital expenditure.
An incorrigible optimist, Katie called for a management meeting.
“We know that the pandemic has brought in a new uncertainty to the economy, but it also brings to the forefront the need for a more dependable supply chain for our nation’s industry; we must stick with our plans to invest in expanding our capabilities.”
Such a bold move was not exactly new territory for a company that had quite literally been tempered and shaped in fire.
Katie’s father, Tom Spika, has always had a knack for building things. He had been using his talents to build fancy wooden birdcages in a small shop on his family farm when a devastating fire ripped through, burning down his workshop. After building a new shop in 2001 to continue this passion, Tom began receiving requests to do contract manufacturing for several businesses, primarily utilizing aluminum.
In 2008, he set up a shop in Lewistown, MT and before he knew it, what started as an independent, wooden aviary shop on the Spika farm had now become a family and woman-owned, small manufacturing business employing over 50 full-time staff throughout rural central Montana.
“Looking back, that moment in my life [the fire] was most certainly a blessing in disguise. What looked to be the greatest setback I could have faced was in fact the very thing that allowed my dream to take root.”
– Tom Spika
In 2020, Spika Design & Manufacturing saw the opportunity to expand their services, increase efficiencies, and reduce costs by offering powder coating services in-house. After talking with their banker at Little Horn State Bank, the Spika family was introduced to Dakota Business Lending and the SBA 504 loan program to assist them with this project. The company simultaneously used the SBA 504 loan and SBA 504 Debt Refinance programs to construct a 4,400 square feet addition to their facility, purchase powder coating equipment, and refinance their current real estate debt.
“The SBA 504 loan program was a great way to take advantage of the low interest rates and government programs that are available today. It’s a complicated process but having someone like Dakota Business Lending to walk us through it was so valuable to us.” – Ashley Morris, Controller
Over the years, as Tom and his wife, Carol, have slowly transitioned parts of the company’s ownership and all of it’s operations to their two daughters – Katie (who now serves as the President/CEO) and Bekhi (the company’s Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing) – Spika Design & Manufacturing, Inc. has built a sterling reputation as one of the few woman-owned small businesses in the world whose products provide safe access to workers in industries of the future, such as electric buses, spacecraft, and satellites. Looking back, the Spikas are incredibly grateful for this business opportunity that has brought their family together in a unique way while contributing to the economic progress of central Montana.
“As far as family businesses go, our family is so blessed. We support each other’s abilities and complement each other in a way that builds our family and our business. When we achieve something, we achieve it together. It feels good to be a part of that.”
This article was written by Dakota Business Lending with permission from Spika Design & Manufacturing and is not to be edited or redistributed without permission.