Gov. Kim Reynolds made a stop on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at Osmundson Manufacturing in Perry.
The stop, owner Douglas Bruce said, was part of the company’s 115th anniversary celebration.
Reynolds congratulated Bruce and Osmundson for reaching 115 years and being a fourth-generation family owned company.
“We really appreciate you investing in Iowa and continuing to grow and expand in Iowa,” Reynolds said. “It’s really companies like yours that are the reason that we are seeing positive things happening across the state.”
Osmundson Manufacturing will soon become a fifth-generation company as Bruce’s daughter, Heather Bruce, will take over as owner on Feb. 1, 2019.
Heather is currently the Executive Vice President at Osmundson. She’s working to learn a little about everything within the company before the transition is complete.
Douglas and President Jim Tibbles will then move into consultant roles when Heather buys the company and starts as the owner on Feb. 1.
“If you listen to my dad, he says I’ve been trying to do this since I was eight years old,” Heather said.
Douglas agreed, saying his daughter told him ‘You know, someday I’m going to run this place.’
“She started washing the railings when she was four because she wanted to come out here with me on Fridays or Saturdays,” Douglas said. “This has always been home for her. She just loved being out here.”
Heather does remember talking to her parents in high school about owning the business in the future. She added that her parents came up with a plan when she was in college to make that idea a reality.
In the Bruce family, Heather said they don’t inherit anything. The tradition traces back to her great-great grandfather from Norway, who founded the company.
Heather attended college and earned her master of business administration and master of science in operations management, with a concentration in supply change.
After Heather graduated college, she moved to Pittsburgh and worked for PPG Industries on the logistics side for two years.
“My dad called up and said ‘I think it’s time. I’m ready to retire, so let’s come back and do this transition,’” Heather said.
She moved back to Iowa and started at Osmundson again in 2016. Before that, Heather had done a number of different jobs in the factory.
She remembers sweeping the floor in the shipping department when she was a kid. When she got older, her first job was working out in the tool and die department. She also shadowed the office manager for a summer and did inside sales.
Douglas helped bring the company into making disc blades. They produce tillage tools, Heather said, or “basically anything that engages the soil and turns up the ground.”
She would like to see Osmundson get into making tools for other crop industries besides soybeans and corn. Some possibilities could include sugar cane or cotton. She wants to diversify the company to help it weather the highs and lows in the different industries.
“I’m looking forward to the future growth of the company,” Heather added. She would also like to see it get into mining, reclamation of soil and construction.
The company has continued to evolve over the years. It was started back in 1903 where Wiese Industries is now. Heather said the company outgrew that location and relocated to 16082 141st St. in 1972.
Osmundson’s currently employs 80 on the plant floor and around 12 in the office area.
“My family has always said is that it’s not just a company, it’s a family business,” Heather said. “So out there in the plant, I don’t have 80 people, I have 80 families.”
She is looking forward to continuing that tradition and growing the company as a fifth-generation owner.
“I’m just grateful I have the opportunity to continue my family’s legacy with this company,” Heather said.