In the early 1950s, John D. Rockefeller purchased and donated more than 30,000 acres of land to expand Grand Teton National Park. As adventurous souls began to explore this newly acquired alpine terrain, Jackson resident Norm Meller set out on an adventure of his own.
From the basement of his home, Norm began producing tooling and machined parts for manufacturing companies in Utah. His startup, Teton Machine Company, grew over the course of three decades before making its move to Payette, Idaho, where the company resides today.
As project scopes continued to increase, Teton Machine transitioned from a basement to a 30,000 sq. foot manufacturing facility, and from cam-operated screw machines to CNC Swiss lathes, dual spindle CNC lathes with live tooling, and CNC mills, including a horizontal cell with two machining centers sharing a 16-pallet automated system. Teton’s inventory even includes a collaborative robot, aptly named Norm. This breadth of machines allows the company to complete each part with as few operations as possible.
“There is a tremendous amount of preparation and planning that goes into a project before we even begin to cut the part,” said Teton Machine President Andy Oyervides. “Quality is at the top of our mind for each of our products, and the same quality processes are used on a part that goes to NASA as one that goes into a toy train engine.”
As a contract manufacturer, Teton Machine makes products for various industries including aerospace, medical, industrial, scientific, oil and gas, semiconductors, and firearms. Customers come to Teton with everything from sketches on a napkin to detailed CAD drawings.
“I once met a painter in the Bi-Mart parking lot to look at a model he’d jerry-rigged together,” Andy recalls. “I brought it in, dissected it with our estimating team, finalized the drawings and then we moved forward.”
Andy emphasizes that by partnering with other machine shops and local resources for anodizing, heat treatment and additional finishing touches, Teton is able to find solutions to serve their customers from beginning to end as a true one-stop shop. For Andy, this type of relationship building is not only vital to the success of his business, but to the success and growth of his employees. He stresses the importance of networking, particularly for entrepreneurs and those just starting out.
“Business leaders are very willing to share their experiences with someone new to the industry, so those connections are extremely valuable,” said Andy. “Joining and staying engaged with a good manufacturing association like the Idaho Manufacturing Alliance (IMA) is a great way to make those connections.”
As a longtime member of the Idaho Aerospace Alliance, a charter member of the Idaho Manufacturing Alliance and the incoming president of IMA Board of Directors, the advantages of joining a statewide association are on the tip of Andy’s tongue.
“The benefits IMA brings to the table are huge,” he said. “You can contact the association with a problem, and they’ll find a member who has a solution. The ability to quickly tap into resources ultimately saves companies a lot of time and energy.”
The IMA Board of Directors includes representation from manufacturers, education, commerce, labor and more. Andy said the board’s diversity helps to create opportunities for member growth, and his goal is to ensure the association’s leadership team has the resources and advisory support needed to continue providing value to members through networking and training.
“The ability to network, share ideas, problem solve together, and collaborate on projects and resources is priceless.”
To learn more about Teton Machine, visit their website at www.tetonmachine.com.