Startup of the Year

The story of Heartland Fabrication, LLC begins inside its co-owners’ previous company, which decided it would no longer service an existing customer base. When those customers began to ask where they could get that type of work done, Troy Young and Rod Wiegand saw an opportunity. Both men had served as head of the firm’s custom fabrication division at various times, garnering attention with their design work and attention to detail. With 45 years of combined experience, they had the know-how and felt ready to go out on their own. In May of 2018, in partnership with their wives, the Congerville, Illinois-based company was born.

Heartland Fabrication, LLC offers a variety of products and services in the area of fabrication design and repair, including custom fabrication, CNC machining, welding, sales and purchasing. In addition to custom manufacturing and design services, they repair trailers, farm equipment and other parts; offer welding repairs on items ranging from hopper bottoms and implement arms to lawnmower decks and backhoe buckets; and even stock an assortment of raw steel for walk-in purchase. Through Kory Farm Equipment, they also offer a complete line of high-end farm, home and hobby products.

One of Heartland’s most visible jobs to date is the 42-foot silo of support for The Barn III dinner theater in Goodfield. Nearby, the company recently completed a unique project at Zeller Electric’s new location, constructing custom interior showpieces, steel staircases and similar pieces to create a beautiful office-scape.

To get the firm up and running, Young and Wiegand turned to the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Bradley University, which assisted with customer discovery and helped them develop a business model and ultimately a business plan—which they successfully presented to a local bank to receive startup funding.

Running day-to-day operations is no easy task, and managing a growing portfolio of projects can be challenging. That’s why Young and Wiegand strive to provide a fun, light-hearted atmosphere for their employees and customers. They believe success is ultimately about “controlling the business and not letting it control you”—and stress the indispensable role of their wives in fulfilling many of their daily tasks. With a bright future ahead, managing growth and being there to serve their local community are the primary goals of this highly successful startup. PM