Tom King, President and co-founder of Supertrak/Marden Industries, started his career as a mechanic specializing in Caterpillar heavy machinery. When King's employers decided to go into business designing custom agriculture and forestry equipment, they asked him to work with the engineer to design and build the prototype.
"Once it was finished, we tested it for more than a year," he said. "When my employers decided they wanted to start a company to build these custom machines, they gave me the opportunity to be a partner in the company. I went on to become president and managing partner. In '92, we purchased our vendor Marden Industries."
Supertrak primarily designs and manufactures mobile off-road machinery and also does other custom work for large companies outside of the agriculture and forestry industries.
"We go to the field to research market opportunities," King explained. "We'll determine if there's a unmet niche need and design the configuration that fits the unmet needs of that niche. We don't look at what competitors are doing. We look at what competitors are not doing."
King's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to plan. "You need to have a very secure business plan to launch a business," he said. "You need accounting and foremost accountability, meaning financial budgeting and forecasts with goals corresponding to your five year plan."