UGA SBDC Entrepreneur of the Year
Ryan Loew is a Covington-based entrepreneur whose equipment maintenance company has expanded from 20 employees in 2016 to more than 150 industry professionals today.
As president of Process Equipment and Controls, he works with clients in the U.S. and abroad, including Fortune 500 companies that have outsourced their equipment and maintenance needs to Loew’s business.
He spent 10 years in equipment and machinery maintenance for a Fortune 500 food manufacturer, tasked with assuring all equipment ran productively and efficiently. During that time, he earned his bachelor’s degree in business.
It was then he decided to take a leap of faith as an entrepreneur and open an original equipment manufacturing business.
Loew knew his way around industrial and commercial food processing and preparation equipment. He also knows how best to manage the skilled millwrights, pipefitters and mechanics needed to do the work.
He had watched and admired his late grandfather, who ran an equipment fabrication shop and focused on hiring quality people. He saw an opportunity to merge the concepts of his grandfather’s business with his experiences as a technical leader.
In 2016, he turned to the UGA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for advice on cash flow management. His corporate clients typically stretched their payments to 90 days or more. But his employees, who made well above minimum wage, needed to be paid sooner.
Managing cash flow is the number one issue for any business, SBDC Faculty Member Mike Myers told Loew.
Loew worked with the SBDC to learn cash flow management tools. He also got some help in strategic planning for the next one, three and five years.
The key to his success, he says, is making sure that potential employees meet the company’s goals and vision through the vetting, hiring and onboarding process. Loew saw his sales increase 900 percent in the next two years.
“We’ve grown significantly,” he said. “Without the assistance of the UGA SBDC, we would not have been able to manage our explosive growth. We would have grown to death.”