Company rolls in new businessPresident and CEO of NCCM Brad Niccum explains, “We make high-tech rollers that go into production equipment.”
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
President and CEO of NCCM Brad Niccum explains, “We make high-tech rollers that go into production equipment.”
Vice President Mike Tasker said, “Our full operations will be here in River Falls.”
NCCM moved to the River Falls Industrial Center, 715 St. Croix St., in late January.
The group of six people started a new company after acquiring 3M’s mill- roll business involving non-woven product technology. The material is used widely throughout the primary metal and automotive industries. It competes mainly with rubber rollers.
Niccum said, “Mike and I were both employees of 3M,” adding that together they managed the company’s mill roll business product line.
They acquired the company’s intellectual property, trade secrets and exclusive software related to the mill roll product line. Tasker says it was a bit like an employee spinoff.
NCCM is in the process of transitioning all the business operations. It plans to add one more staff member immediately and double its staff by this fall after the business’s manufacturing operations move to the RF Industrial Center from Prairie du Chien.
Niccum said, “We have roughly 30 partners across the world offering our products.”
“We’re on seven continents,” said Tasker.
The group of six specialists will take responsibility for the business, manufacturing, logistics, overseas shipments, customer service and all the other aspects of the business.
3M will remain the primary supplier of the non-woven material used in the mill rolls but but agreed to let NCCM make the most of that technology while it focuses on its core business.
HR & IT Communication Representative Julie Niccum said the group has been careful to build a company that will endure. Unlike many business ventures these days, NCCM does not plan to build itself up for a quick and profitable “flip sale.”
Julie said, “We wanted to be in it for the long haul.”
She said it was important to NCCM that it build strong core values and a company that can contribute to the community through benevolence and by providing living wages with insurance benefits.
She feels fortunate and proud that the company could hire in such hard times.
Operations Manager and longtime local resident Dean Benoy said he got laid off from a local company last fall and spent many months unemployed. He and NCCM were pleased to find each other.
“It feels really good to work with people you can respect,” said Benoy, “Just good people.”
Customer Service Specialist Maureen Burth worked for 3M for 37 years before taking an early-retirement offer as the company downsized. She tried odd jobs including a fast-food restaurant. As a former international customer service specialist, she found a perfect fit at NCCM.
Tasker sees value in longevity.
“You have good people and you end up with good product.”
Julie says the company plans to live by its mission statements: Internally, it commits to, “Provide a working environment that will ethically foster excellent employee relations through continued education, benefits and personal growth of employees.”
Its external mission: “To create unequalled value to customers through advanced roll and brush technologies which will improve their product quality, manufacturing costs, productivity, and reduce their environmental foot print.”
Julie said the young company has already begun to identify local, worthy causes to which it could contribute such as the River Falls Food Pantry and Free Clinic of Pierce and St. Croix Counties.
Tasker said, “Tom Elbert (building owner) was key in bringing us to River Falls.”
He said Elbert’s efforts began as long as six months ago and were soon joined by former City Administrator Bernie Van Osdale, St. Croix County EDC Director Bill Rubin and others.
“Everybody at the city has treated us great,” said Tasker.
Benoy also credits the building owner, “Tom has been really great in making sure we have what we need.”
That includes plenty of space for expansion and moving in the company’s manufacturing operations. All in the group agree that the price of space in the RF Industrial Center was another aspect that drew them to the renovated building.
They say they feel good about their new home in the St. Croix Valley and won’t miss the long commute into the Twin Cities.
Niccum attended UW-River Falls and lives in Hudson. Tasker just moved to Prescott, and Benoy has lived in River Falls all his life.
Tasker said, “We all have strong ties and sense of community.”
The group says 70% of its sales come from global markets, but Julie clarifies, “It’s important that we be a U.S. company.”
The employees say they’re thankful for the values they learned from 3M, which Julie says invests in its employees. She said the company was good about training and education and taught them many good practices.
Niccum, an inventor who’s developed a patent every year for the last seven, said he hopes to bring other technologies to market that will help the company expand further in the future.