Roser Technologies, Inc.

According to Crawford County business owner Jack Roser, if you offer your customers a quality product, if you are responsive and build solid relations with them, they will keep returning. But a business also needs solid financial footing. When Roser needed a business plan to support a loan request, he knew he could go to the Clarion University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and get results.

Jack Roser is co-owner, with his uncle Dan Roser, of Roser Technologies, Inc. (RTI), a specialty firm that services, repairs, and fabricates machinery used in the steel industry. Thanks to the SBDC, the Rosers are now owners of RTI for the second time. They started the business in 2001, then sold it to a German corporation in 2002. When the German parent company divested itself of its U.S. plants in 2006, jeopardizing 27 good paying jobs, the Rosers bought it back.

At the outset, Clarion SBDC consultant Cindy Nellis’ work on the RTI business plan was instrumental in securing the $700,000 the Rosers needed to purchase machinery and begin operations. RTI got underway in 2001 and, thanks to the niche that the Rosers had found in a declining industry, created a lot of interest among steel companies.

Within a few months, a large German-owned steel industry service company that wanted to diversify offered to buy the Rosers’ Titusville company. After repeated bids, at increasingly favorable terms, the Rosers sold their business. Dan Roser, who had extensive experience in steel manufacturing, stayed on as operations manager.

Before the terms of the five-year corporate buyout were complete, however, the German parent company, which had invested heavily in RTI, changed direction and offered to sell the plant to the Rosers for three million dollars

The Rosers wanted to run their company again – and also wanted to be able to keep the jobs it represented in the community.

“I ended up back at the Clarion Small Business Development Center,” said Jack Roser. “We needed help figuring out the business plan and they had helped us get started in the first place.”

Initially the bankers were skeptical about the deal because on paper the local plant seemed to be losing money. Once again consultant Cindy Nellis, asking what Roser describes as tough questions, worked through the figures with him. In the process, they uncovered and eliminated significant overhead charges from the overseas corporate headquarters, which helped convince the lenders to approve $3.5 million in financing.

“It was hard, but Cindy and her business student interns really made me think,” says Jack Roser. “Their fresh ideas, research, and great software prepared me to face the bankers.” He adds, “I would not have gotten funded without them.”

Sales of $2.2 million from RTI’s first quarter in business exceeded their expectations and Roser expects increasingly profitable years ahead. The company now employs 34 people.