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Printing money: an Indianapolis firm builds government monetary printing presses.

Family values, old-world tradition and new-age technology are blending nicely at Koenig & Bauer/ Egenolf Machine Inc. in Indianapolis.

Twin brothers Joe and Jim Egenolf and six of their children provide the family element to the corporation known as the largest press-repair shop in the Western Hemisphere. Joe serves as president and jim is vice president. The West German firm of Koenig & Bauer AG, which was founded in 1809 and is the world's oldest manufacturer of printing presses, brings the old-world European tradition to the operation. The result is a machine shop powerhouse capable of rebuilding printing presses anywhere in the world and assembling new presses from European parts at the southside Indianapolis plant, a combination that brings in sales of $8 million a year. More recent diversification includes consulting with Japanese auto plants in the United States, and a healthy rigging and contracting operation.

"The business has been very good to our family, and we've been good to it," Joe Egenolf says. "It's hard work, but it's been gratifying and rewarding."

The rewards started humbly when Joe and Jim's father, George, founded Egenolf Machine Co. in 1927, specializing in the repair and building of presses and machinery used in the paper industry. The elder Egenolf theorized that the business would always be stable because in strong economic times, firms would want new equipment that Egenolf could install, while in slow times, they would call upon the Egenolfs to rebuild existing equipment.

That philosophy served the firm well as it grew and prospered through the years. And it was only natural that Egenolf brought his sons into the business. By 1957, all five sons worked at the machine shop. The next year, the sons began buying into the business. In 1968, Joe and jim bought out their brothers and became the sole owners.

The firm continued to grow, but by 1979, the brothers were looking for some international clout that would add a key dimension to the firm, making it an international player. The twin brothers sold 41 percent of Egenolf Machine to Koenig & Bauer.

"That brought the manufacture of printing presses to Indiana, which is something we always wanted to do," Joe Egenolf says. The twins also sought the merger to help maintain the family tradition behind the business. "With a small business, we began to question how we could survive as a company if something happened to either one of us. We needed something bigger than us, and Koenig & Bauer provided the vehicle."

Joining the two firms meant that presses for which Koenig & Bauer won contracts to provide would be assembled at the Egenolfs' 23-acre facility on the Indianapolis southside. The Egenolfs also could keep busy traveling throughout the world repairing and rebuilding printing presses carrying the Koenig & Bauer name.

The firm has had no trouble keeping busy, with travels ranging from as far as the Orient to as close as the HeraldTimes in Bloomington. Past clients also include telephone book manufacturers, Donnelly & Sons Co. of Chicago, Inland Container Corp. and GTE. The firm recently installed a new printing press that will turn out hard-bound books for the National Geographic Society, a firm that prides itself on stunning reproduction of photographs.

To the Egenolfs, their work is more than just a job. It means becoming a valuable part of their clients' products. "When you see newspapers and magazines out on the streets looking good, you feel proud because that's part of you," Joe Egenolf says.

The relationship with Koenig & Bauer goes beyond installing and rebuilding ordinary printing presses. It also opened the door for the opportunity to build monetary printing presses. Koenig & Bauer builds 90 percent of the monetary printing presses in the world. So, it was only natural that when the U.S. government sought bids five years ago for four monetary presses, Koenig & Bauer put in a bid.

It took nearly two and a half years for the bidding process to be completed, but the Egenolfs were picked to build the monetary presses for the new U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving plant in Dallas-Fort Worth. The project became a milestone on two fronts: the new facility is the first printing and engraving plant built outside of Washington, and the presses are the first modern monetary presses to be assembled inside the United States. Previous monetary presses came from Europe.

It took two years to design and build the press parts and then several weeks to assemble the presses in Indianapolis. In December 1989, the Egenolfs got to see the fruits of their labors when high-tech tests of the presses began. The presses had to pass stringent government tests, which lasted through May of this year, before the printing and engraving bureau would accept delivery.

Security during testing was tight and required the presence of four Secret Service men in Indianapolis. From Washington, D.C., they brought four sets of $5 plates with no serial numbers to print money samples. The plates were kept under constant guard, and the Secret Service made sure no Egenolf employees nor any outsiders who caught wind of the project could get their hands on the equipment. "They even came with their own locks. They put the locks on every night and then cut them off and threw them away in the morning," Joe Egenolf says.

The firm completed several test runs consisting of thousands of proof sheets. Each proof sheet had to be accounted for by the Secret Service, then shredded after it was run. The Egenolfs literally had money to burn-the shredded money ended up at the Indianapolis municipal incinerator.

The special $5 money plates were recycled for another practical use. Secret Service personnel took the plates to the Chrysler Corp. foundry in Indianapolis, where they were melted down. "They are riding around in some motor blocks today," Joe Egenolf says.

The presses passed the tests with

I flying colors. Only three sheets were missed out of a test run of 40,000 sheets. The presses were disassembled in August so the parts could be shipped to Dallas for a mid-September installation. Printing should begin the first of the year.

The Egenolfs hope to build more monetary presses. The company recently placed bids on building four more monetary presses for the government.

Keeping pace with the ever-expanding technology in the printing industry keeps the more mundane jobs rolling in at Koenig & Bauer/Egenolf. Most of the rebuilds the firm does, at an average of $1 million per job, involve some installation of computer equipment that drives the printing presses of the high-technology era.

"Nearly all of our rebuildings are upgrades in equipment," says Joe Egenolf. "Computers today run automatic registers; there are electronic eyes that pick up markings and reset printing plates, where before all that was done by man."

Both brothers say they find their biggest challenges in rebuilding old presses and making them like new. But the question increasingly becomes, how new is new? "The electronic era changes so fast, that by the time you go from designing and installing the electronic package, roughly 18 to 20 months, it's al ready outdated," Joe says.

Yet, the constant challenge of trying to keep pace with technology keeps the brothers searching to rebuild presses. "It is mind-boggling what you have to do, because each job is so different, but when you grow up in it and have been around it all your life, it's just like a big puzzle you have to put together, " jim explains.

Through it all, the brothers have made a formidable team for business prospecting and troubleshooting. The two travel throughout the world to oversee jobs the company's crews are working on, while visiting other firms where they submit bids for new work. The brothers stick mainly to jobs in the United States and Canada, but they have shipped parts and assembled them in Sweden, Mexico, Canada and Japan. They rarely are in the Indianapolis off ice for an extended period; each of them logs 150,000 to 200,000 miles a year traveling to oversee various jobs.

Both the twins and their employees marvel at how much alike the two think. Jim can call here and ask a question. I can be 2,000 miles away and call the same day and ask the same question. It's uncanny," Joe Egenolf says.

That propensity to think alike led the brothers to agree on diversifying their operation in an effort to broaden the company's base. Four years ago, the brothers spun off an existing contracting and rigging operation into a separate firm, dubbed, appropriately enough, Egenolf Contracting and Rigging Inc. It specializes in machinery moving and installing, heavy hauling, plant relocating, hoisting, erecting and rigging.

"The paper industry has its ups and downs, so we went into rigging to keep up with the ebb and flow," says Jim Egenolf. The diversification also enabled the brothers to find additional uses for the equipment in their machine shop. Rather than see it sit idle when the machine shop and printing-press operations are down, the rigging operation allows the company to get a better return on its investment in equipment.

The diversification also allows another generation of Egenolfs to assume leadership roles in the business. Joe's son Tom is president of the rigging company while Jim's son, Mike, serves as vice president.

"We aren't scared to try anything," Mike says. Among the firm's jobs are moving a $30 million computer for Eli Lilly & Co., installing vaults in the state's tallest skyscraper-the Bank One Tower in Indianapolis-and moving a large canoe into the Indiana State Museum. A second diversification-arranged just last year with a Japanese firm-has increased business for the Egenolfs about 15 percent to 20 percent, the brothers estimate. KPC Egenolf Inc. is an engineering and consulting firm that specializes in helping Japanese companies set up plants in the United States. The firm helps coordinate business between Japanese companies and U.S. contractors.

KPC started innocently enough through an advertisement in the Yellow Pages. Indiana Precision Technologies in Greenfield saw the ad and phoned the Egenolfs for assistance with installing machinery. Since that time, KPC Egenolf has helped with the startup-of 20 Japanese firms in the Midwest.

Through it all, the Egenolfs remain committed to keeping all their operations true family affairs. In addition to son Mike, Jim has two daughters, Diane Swint and Joanie Egenolf, who also are working for the firm. joe has another son, Pete, and a daughter, Carole, who work at Koenig & Bauer full-time. Another son, Matt, works at the firm during summer vacations.

It's obvious the Egenolfs don't share some people's fears about going into business with family members. To the Egenolfs, family has been synonymous with business and success, away of life to pass on to their children. "You tell your kids this is no different than working for a large corporation. in a corporation, you have your politics it's all in how you want to handle it. You have to forget your disagreements when you get home," Joe Egenolf says.

In the future, the two brothers predict their Japanese consulting work will grow as the decade of the 90s progresses and that their other operations will continue cooking along. While they expect the recent German reunification to have some effect on their relationship with Koenig & Bauer, it remains uncertain to what extent.

And no matter what the future brings, the Egenolf twins hope to remain a vital part of the business as long as they can. Beyond that, they would like to see their children continue to guide the business, long after they are retired. "Dad worked here until he was 80," Jim Egenolf says. "He looked up and said, "Well, I think I've served my apprenticeship.' I hope to do that, too."
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Title Annotation:Ventures; Koenig and Bauer/Egenolf Machine Inc.
Author:Sylvester, Rosemarie
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Article Type:company profile
Date:Nov 1, 1990
Words:1961
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