A new preventative maintenance business for industrial machinery is looking to recruit up to 170 employees.
Wall Control Services at 6015 Highview Drive, Suite A in Fort Wayne started Guardian Machine Protection in May at the same location with the help of Robert Clark, founder and CEO of Scale Ventures.
Guardian is a woman-owned and led business founded to address a common manufacturing pain point by providing basic preventative maintenance with simple, predictable pricing.
“Business owners and maintenance managers turn to Guardian Machine Protection when their maintenance staffs are too busy attending to urgent issues,” Yan Wall, Guardian’s founder and CEO, said in a statement.
“Reactive behavior negatively affects the bottom line. We serve our customers when they need us, and we proactively engage with their teams to plan scheduled downtimes for preventive maintenance,” she said.
“Our monthly preventive maintenance plans keep costs simple and predictable,” she said. “It’s an honor to have so many customers put their trust in us.”
Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Guardian up to $1 million in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans and Northeast Indiana Works will support the project with additional hiring and training help.
Mechanical engineering and industrial maintenance technicians can help plants get longer life and top performance out of manufacturing equipment through proper care and maintenance, enabling facilities to operate production lines with minimal downtime.
There is a nationwide shortage of factory workers with this higher level of skill even though those jobs pay better than production work.
Wall Control serves an industrial customer base, similar to that of Guardian’s. When it makes calls, “we’re usually there to repair a machine, to fix a machine or to rebuild a machine,” said David Wall, CEO, who also serves as Guardian’s chief operating officer.
“We hear all the time from the maintenance staff, ‘we never get an opportunity to do preventative maintenance,’” he said.
“They’re focused on keeping machines up and running…. They’re not checking to see if everything’s working properly because they’re going from one machine to another fixing problems; that’s all they do.”
During maintenance visits Guardian technicians will talk to operators to check on machinery performance and will look for indicators of potential problems, much as an auto mechanic might look for signs of leaking oil or coolant or a hose that’s about to go out in a vehicle.
They bring what they learn to the attention of the customer’s maintenance manager, who can decide which steps to take next and may have Guardian address the issue on the spot. A company portal provides customers with online access to their historical maintenance records.
Guardian begins a customer relationship with a free assessment of regular machinery maintenance requirements in order to develop a schedule for technician visits tailored to specific needs, and the first three months are a trial commitment period, David Wall said.
With basic, silver, gold, platinum and enterprise monthly subscription plans starting at $1,000, customers “know how much service they’re going to get for a certain cost,” he said.
That helps them with planning because “it gives the decision makers what they want to know,” he said.
With 10 employees, Guardian plans to hire additional technicians during the next five years as its customer base grows, buying tools for them to use in the field as its workforce expands.
With a heavy concentration of manufacturing in northeast Indiana and proximity to Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland within a drive of three to four hours, Fort Wayne is a perfect location for Guardian, Wall said.
“We’re busting at the seams at our location. Probably in the near future we’ll be separating Guardian out at a different building,” he said. “We anticipate a pretty fast growth rate.”
Guardian expects to find technicians among graduates of associate’s degree and certification programs as well as military veterans. “We’re also looking for guys who might be in early retirement who still want to stay active but don’t want to do a lot of hard work,” Wall said.
For newcomers to the occupation, “we have guys at Wall Control Services who are highly skilled who can bring the new employees up to speed,” he said.
The Fort Wayne City Council plans to consider tax abatement support for Guardian’s eventual investment in more tools, equipment and a new location.
“I’m encouraged by the growth and success that Guardian Machine Protection is experiencing,” Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry said in the statement. “Our community becomes stronger and more vibrant through business investments and new jobs that make a lasting and meaningful impact.
“Our city appreciates Guardian Machine Protection’s commitment to being a recognized leader in the manufacturing industry,” he said.
The performance-based nature of the IEDC incentives means Guardian is not eligible for them until its new employees are hired.
“Indiana’s talented workforce and pro-growth business climate, paired with a robust and diversified manufacturing industry, create the perfect place for companies like Guardian Machine Protection to invest and grow,” Elaine Bedel, IEDC president, said in the statement.
“Guardian Machine Protection’s commitment to northeast Indiana will help advance the state’s reputation as a leader in manufacturing while supporting even more quality career opportunities for Hoosiers.”