Making machine parts for friends turned into a thriving business in just two years for one local entrepreneur, thanks to training at Fox Valley Technical College.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect this business to take off so quickly,” says Chuck Duginski, owner of Grassroots Shop Services in Neenah, a quality-focused industrial repair and machine services shop. “We’re already looking into adding more space, but we don’t want to grow faster than what we can handle.”
Grassroots Shop Services began in Duginski’s garage as a part-time hobby. “I was a machinist all my life and friends were always asking me for favors,” he recalls. “When a total stranger came to see me, the light bulb went on that this could be a full-time business.”
Before launching his new enterprise, Duginski looked into training options through the Venture Center at Fox Valley Technical College, at the insistence of his wife, Mary Beth. “I was a little intimidated at first,” he states. “However, the e-seed™ program quickly taught a hands-on, 50-year-old guy like me how to run a business. Just learning to be aware of the different tax laws, for example, has saved my company a lot of money.”
Once launched, the business quickly outgrew his garage space. Within six months of moving into a larger space, Duginski hired his first employee, and six months later, his second. “Word has spread that we’re a quality shop, and we’re now in demand,” he says. “We have a full range of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines to handle every project. We want to be a company that keeps work in the United States rather than having it outsourced.”
Amy Pietsch, director of the Venture Center, points to Duginski as a true success story. “Chuck is a great person who had a vision, and then he took that dream and made it into a practical approach toward small business ownership,” she states. “The American economy needs more people like Chuck.”
The Venture Center is now working to encourage more entrepreneurship across the country by offering other colleges a license to provide the e-seed™ program in their areas. “More than 40 schools nationwide attended our launch last December,” Pietsch says. “Many of them are now taking the next steps in a train-the-trainer model to successfully implement the program.”
Duginski is also working with Pietsch to promote e-seed™. “In the future, I plan to go back to Fox Valley Technical College to attend some seminars and possibly receive more training,” he says. “I would do it now, but frankly, I just don’t have the time!”
Developed by Fox Valley Technical College, e-seed™ is a signature entrepreneur training program offered through the Venture Center. This hub of entrepreneurial activity has:
Launched more than 300 businesses, in industries like renewable energies, restaurants, organic clothing, eye care, home health care, retail, manufacturing, shipping and distribution, and many more.
Created a national training model that is being offered by other higher education institutions.
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Tuesday, Dec. 2 | Meet with an employment adviser to get assistance developing and preparing your resume, along with posting your resume on Wisconsin TechConnect.
Registration for Continuing Program Students - Spring Term
(10/20/2014 - 10/31/2014)
Want to visit us in person? Attend Discovery Day to experience campus life at FVTC.
(11/3/2014 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM)
11/4 Quick Start: Transportation
Tuesday, Nov. 4, 5-6 p.m. Learn about Fast Forward grant programs in transportation, then complete all your admissions requirements in one visit.
Mock Interviews - Appleton
Monday, Nov. 10-Wednesday, Nov. 12, Appleton Campus
(11/10/2014 - 11/12/2014)
(11/11/2014 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM)
(11/12/2014 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM)
Mock Interviews - Oshkosh
Thursday, Nov. 13, Noon-4 p.m., Oshkosh Riverside Campus
(11/15/2014 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM)
(11/15/2014 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM)
Small Business Job Fair
Monday, November 17, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., FVTC Appleton Campus, Room A170 (use entrance 16)
11/18 Quick Start
Tuesday, Nov. 18, 5-6 p.m. Learn about Fast Forward grant programs, then complete all your admissions requirements in one visit.
Explore Business Model Design
Own and operate your own business? Attend this free session to help you map and streamline your business model.
(11/21/2014 - 11/22/2014)
(11/21/2014 8:00 AM - 2:30 PM)
(11/21/2014 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM)
(11/22/2014 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM)
College Closed for Thanksgiving Break
Open Registration for Spring Term
(12/2/2014 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM)
(12/2/2014 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM)
(12/2/2014 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM)
12/3: On Campus: Concordia University Wisconsin
Thinking of transferring to Concordia University?
(12/4/2014 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM)
(12/4/2014 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM)
12/5 Quick Start, Transportation
Friday, Dec. 5, 9-11 a.m. Learn about Fast Forward grant programs in transportation, then complete all your admissions requirements in one visit.
(12/6/2014 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM)
(12/6/2014 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM)