Being precise can be a good philosophy in life. It’s also what has kept a local family-owned business thriving for four decades, even with a change of families.
Dean Svarc, owner of J C Milling, 1275 Turret Drive, feels passionate about manufacturing, so much so that he and his wife, Dominique, bought the company in 2015.
Svarc’s career really began in the ’90’s, after taking machining classes in high school.
“The industry, back then, was actually having a really hard time,” he said. “Everything was going overseas to China. So, I toook an alternate route while still having actual CNC machines in my basement in my house. I actually had a drive-in basement, and I had a CNC machine down there.”
That alternate route was corporate information technology.
Svarc is back in manufacturing now, and the basement is now a 22,000 square-foot plant in Machesney Park.
“I saw what I thought was the foundation of a really wonderful business, a high quality precision shop, that if I could incorporate some of the experiences and knowledge that I have, we just took a great shop and possibly moved it even higher,” he said.
J C Milling has customers in industries where getting it right is not only important, but lives may depend on it.
“We do stuff that’s gas and oil, underground, under the ocean,” he said. “There’s stuff all the way, doing life support systems on the International Space Station. And this stuff is complex! A lot of it requires 4th axis, 5th axis machining.”
Pieces made at J C Milling can be used in medical procedures involving blood transfusions, or controlling nuclear reactors.
J C Milling’s focus is on short run, precision pieces, but workers can handle anything – engineering, design, manufacturing, quality control.
“I’ve got to give these guys credit,” Svarc said. “The guys have adapted to change, unbelievable [change], since I took over. I took everything they knew and changed it. Not in the sense of the machining aspect, but everything around the machining aspect.”
Many of those employees were there when J C Milling was named Manufacturer of the Year by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.
“I was lucky enough, I was able to have my team there, a lot of my senior team there,” Svarc said. “So, it was a really great experience, to have them see what the rewards of all their efforts and what they’ve been trying to do.”
Svarc said he still has a good connection with the original owners, John and Helen Czaczkowski, and they visit the shop every few weeks. Svarc says he occasionally gives John a call to show him things J C Milling is working on.