Thirty years ago, Jim Waller, an enterprising filtration engineer working out of his garage in Madison, Tennessee, launched a company he named Des-Case. Today, that same organization is a multi-million dollar corporation that manufactures and markets products and services around the world and is a leader in precision lubrication and contamination control.
In 1983, Waller didn’t have a clear idea that helping organizations solve their reliability problems would lead to something big. He merely used an engineer’s ability to understand what customers were facing and found a way to satisfy that need by inventing the desiccant breather.
“We started out offering a simple solution that works really well for a widespread problem,” said Waller, Des-Case founder and chairman. “Now, it’s a livelihood for some 70 employees and is bettering lives all around the world. I’m proud of everyone at the company and the possibilities for our future.”
A Tradition of Success
When his first five prototype breathers worked exceptionally well for A.E. Staley, he manufactured 100 more. But he didn’t stop there. Waller’s entrepreneurial spirit took hold and the company opened its first manufacturing facility in Tennessee, and quickly enhanced its initial product offering. Sales growth warranted an expansion in 1997, and the company doubled its capacity. Des-Case Europe was added in 1998.
In 2007, Des-Case relocated from White House, Tenn., to Goodlettsville, Tennessee, to a space with more than three times the previous manufacturing capacity, allowing for increased production of standard and enhanced offerings and additional personnel to support the company’s large distribution network and OEM partners.
With the merger of AMS Filtration in 2011, Des-Case now offers a complete line of specialty filtration and vacuum dehydration to its already robust line of desiccant breathers, filtration systems, and consulting and training services.
And 30 years later, Des-Case has grown into an international presence, with products and services designed to help industrial customers solve the challenges faced by the contamination of oil. Ultimately, Des-Case offers solutions that save customers time and money, and pay for themselves in very little time.
“Every employee, past and present, has played a part in our reaching this milestone,” said Brian Gleason, president and CEO of Des-Case. “We all have reason to be thankful and proud of what we’ve accomplished together…so far.”
A Few Words of Advice
Now in his 70s, Waller says he’s learned valuable lessons along the way. He encourages fellow entrepreneurs to hire good people. “It’s about the people. You can make the greatest product in the world, but if you don’t have the right people to build, market, and sell it, it’s worthless,” Waller explained.
And above all, he says don’t be afraid to make mistakes. “I know you don’t think you’re going to mess up, but ask yourself if you’re prepared to fail along the way. If you’re not prepared to fail, then don’t play the game.”
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