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Bedford Heights (Cuyahoga County), OH – For more than twenty-five years, Cardinal Fastener, the latest addition to NDC Grow America Fund’s (GAF) family of borrowers, has been proud to say that it has been keeping the country together, its bolts found in such iconic American structures as the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge.

More recently, the Cleveland-area manufacturer of industrial “fasteners” has added a new industry to its customer base: the green energy industry, specifically manufacturers of power-generating windmills. 

“They already had a good business, but when they found a new market for their products in the green energy industry, the forecast for their future was blue skies,” says Dryck Bennett, the GAF loan officer who underwrote the $1.0 million working capital loan.

”In just the last two years, Cardinal Fastener has turned a small emergency order for wind turbine fasteners into a significant line of business and added 15 new jobs as a direct result,” notes Pat Thomson, GAF President.  “The GAF loan will allow Cardinal to build on its own success, providing the manufacturer with working capital to grow the business, and in the process, create more jobs.” Cardinal currently employs 48.

In January 2009, the bolt maker’s growth in a region better known for job losses and business closings, caught the attention of the White House.  Just four days before his inauguration, then President-elect Barack Obama paid a visit to Cardinal and joined in a celebration of Cardinal’s success that served as a backdrop for his American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan (ARRA).

The foundation of Cardinal’s success – alongside a reputation for quality and customer service – is a manufacturing theory called “lean thinking.”  “Lean thinking is a concept that brought us from a process layout to a product layout, thus streamlining manufacturing and eliminating waste,” explains John Grabner, Cardinal Fastener’s president. “The result is that Cardinal can provide same-day service on most orders. And all of our raw materials are American-made.” Grabner started Cardinal Fastener in 1983 and implemented lean thinking in 1998.  He’s such a proponent of lean thinking principles that he lectures on the topic.