Spika Design and Manufacturing ready to show off expansion

By: 
DOREEN HEINTZ
Reporter

Last fall Spika Design and Manufacturing began adding a 6,000 square foot addition to its current building west of Lewistown. With new contracts being added continually, plus adding more engineers, Spika Design and Manufacturing continues to flourish in Central Montana.

Currently, the company has 60 employees and runs two crews each day in their production department. The company continues to need new employees. Due to that and to allow the general public the opportunity to see this unique manufacturing company, Spika Design and Manufacturing is holding an open house from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 23. 

Brats, hot dogs and beverages will be served, and tours of the facility will be given every 15 minutes.

“We want to take people through our entire process from start to finish,” said Bekhi Spika, the current director of marketing at Spika Design and Manufacturing. 

Bekhi, who has a degree in journalism from the University of Montana, never saw herself working at the family business, but yet here she is. She now admits that her job is a perfect fit for her.

One of Bekhi’s primary functions for the company is to drive people to the company’s website through contacts, facebook and other avenues. 

“We really want people to see that manufacturing is not the dirty business that some people visualize it,” said Bekhi in her planning for the open house. “We are a real family business from top to bottom. We have added certain amenities to our building I think really show that off.”

The company now has a large breakroom for its employees. In the breakroom are a couple of freezers that are always stocked with ice cream for the employees. In the engineering room, there are several desks that were custom made by the company. The desks easily go up and down so the engineers can sit or stand at their desks.

Bekhi said she also has a desk being custom-made for her. 

Another important employee for Tom Spika, the founder and CEO of the company, is his daughter, Katie. Katie began in Bekhi’s current position and is now the COO (Chief Operating Officer) for the company. 

“Katie really puts all the pieces together for the company so we run more efficiently,” said Bekhi. “Katie is very good at making technology work for the company.”

On a TV screen in several different places throughout the building, there is a screen that comes up which shows exactly where the company is in the production of each of the designs the company has a current contract for. The screen also shows how efficiently each department is completing their portion of the contract. From the ordering of bolts to the ordering of toilet paper, every thing goes through purchasing. 

“We don’t want to overstock anything,” said Bekhi “so our method of ordering is very efficient.”

Although efficiency is a big part of making the company run smoothly, the sense of family is still the most important part of Spika Design and Manufacturing. 

“We want people to feel comfortable and part of the family when they work here,” said Bekhi. 

Spika Design and Manufacturing has an impressive list of companies they provided equipment for including such names as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, KUKA systems and the U.S. military. The company is very active in the Lewistown community and partners with other Lewistown area manufacturing companies for some of their projects. 

“We look first to the Lewistown area for our employees,” Bekhi explains. “We could relocate to someplace like Billings or Bozeman to find employees much more easily, but it is part of who we are that we provide good paying jobs for people in our community.”

For the second summer Spika Design and Manufacturing has four interns working for them – two from high school and two from college.

“We are constantly working for work force development,” said Bekhi. “We are also working with five community representatives to help with this development.”

 

Spika representatives attend large German trade show

In April of this year, four representatives from Spika Design and Manufacturing had the opportunity to travel to Germany to participate in the Hannover Messe, which is the largest industrial trade show in the world. A grant through the Montana Department of Commerce allowed Tom. Katie, Bekhi and Jeff Ruffner, the Director of Business Development and Professional Engineer, the opportunity to attend this yearly event. 

“This trade show gave us more international exposure,” said Bekhi about the opportunity. “We were able to put faces with names who have had contacts with. It also allowed us to increase our brand awareness in Europe and develop some new contacts.”

One of payoffs of attending the trade show was gaining a contract with KUKA, which is a major designer of robots. 

Spika Design and Manufacturing is also part of “Dream It. Do It.” Network, launched by the Manufacturing Institute. The purpose of Dream It. Do It. is to change people’s perspective of the manufacturing industry.  With an expected increase in manufacturing jobs over the next several years, the initiative promotes manufacturing as a top tier career choice in the United States. Dream It. Do It. promotes manufacturing to three distinct target markets: students, parents and educators.

The Lewistown area is very lucky to have Spika Design and Manufacturing, along with other manufacturing companies in Central Montana. Spika Design and Manufacturing, along with Hi-Heat,  HCR, Inc. and Allied Steel provide many employment opportunities for good paying jobs in the area.

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