IRONWOOD — Burton Industries celebrated its 35th anniversary on Thursday evening at its facility in Ironwood’s Industrial Park, with spirits high despite the weather raining on outdoor plans.
The evening included a short presentation, as well as dinner, games and prizes.
The company has grown from a family affair in the basement of their rental house in Minocqua, Wis., in 1978, said Mark Leman, chief operating office, a time when gas was 63 cents a gallon, President Jimmy Carter was in the White House, and a postage stamp cost 12 cents.
Leman’s parents, Ed and Janet Leman, founded the company along with a friend of Ed’s. They named the business “Burton” for Ed’s middle name, which his mother later told him was incorrect. His birth certificate actually reads, “Bertram,” said Mark Leman.
After some time, Ed Leman bought 100 percent of the company. After Ed Leman passed away in 2002, Mark Leman and Gary Burnett Sr., chief executive officer, took over the company.
As the enterprise grew, they moved to the garage, then rented a small building. The company now has offices and a production facility in Hazelhurst,Wis., as well as the facility in Ironwood, which was built in 1997, and added on to in 2007, said Leman.
Chris Brees, human resource manager, said that Burton employs 75 people.
Burnett said running the business is 80 percent about people and 20 percent about technology and machinery.
“As we move forward, we will put our team first, because we want them to succeed in life as well as business,” said Burnett.
Burnett said the fundamentals of the business haven’t changed over the years, and won’t in the future: to build quality products, always put the customer first and work hard and long to get the job done.
Burton has seen a lot of changes in technology in the past 35 years, said Burnett, but the company will evolve with the changes over the next 35 years as it has in the past.