Jul 20, 2017, 10:25 AM
When Verne Wiley channeled his entrepreneurial spirit in 1982 to create Wiley Metal, a custom fabricating company, he did so with a value for serving customers and his hometown of Marion, Indiana. These values were also shared by Verne’s sons, Ed and Rob, who joined the company after graduating from Miami of Ohio, and Purdue University.
“Dad was a visionary in a lot of respects and he was inspired to apply his industry experience into creating a niche business that would focus on providing quality product consistency for a wide variety of client uses,” said Ed Wiley, President and co-owner. “His core philosophy allowed each of us to develop the business over time and be reflective of the industry environment. Marion was no different than a lot of smaller rust belt cities in the Midwest at that time. It had seen its share of manufacturing decline and there was certainly a sense of purpose towards creating and helping to build a business that contributed economically to our hometown.”
Today, the company supplies a variety of manufacturing clients with structural encasements, brackets, and other custom hardware ranging from display kiosks to trailer aero skirting. Central to the company’s success is its focus on listening to the unique needs of each client.
“I don’t think any of us would have been particularly interested in a business that didn’t have some dynamic nature to it. We are certainly very confident that we can spec build what companies want. However, it is so much more interesting to listen to a client’s specific needs and help them develop and design something that will work best for them. It clearly strengthens the business relationship and it highlights our specific skill set,” said Wiley.
With over 200 employees in three core locations, one could assume some degree of separation between family management and employee production, but the Wiley family assumes a proactive approach in labor communications and overall business input. “A number of our employees have been with us 20, 25, even all 37 years, and our business depends on their perspective and collaborative input. As owners, we’re proud of the sense of camaraderie; we respect what each member of the team brings to the table.”
A third generation of family participation is now in place as Ed’s sons, Ben and Mike, have recently joined in the family effort, continuing to build on the diversification and growth that the company represents.
“When you get down to it, the basis for our business is simple: we empower people who are dedicated to innovation and to providing quality products. To be able to do that with your family and people whom you enjoy being around makes for a very rewarding and proud experience.”