Technical Metal Specialties co-owner Tim Michel,
left, U.S. Small Business Administration District Director
Eric Ness, First Bank Financial Centre Vice President
Matthew Schwechel, Technical Metal Specialties co-owner
Thomas Sheahan and First Bank Financial Centre Senior Vice
President Mark McCune stand with the 2013 Wisconsin SBA
Volume Lender award given to First Bank Financial Centre
Wednesday at Technical Metal Specialties.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
NEW BERLIN - The Oconomowoc-based First
Bank Financial Centre was honored by the U.S. Small Business
Administration Wednesday for its efforts in making hundreds
of loans to small businesses and veterans last year.
The community bank received two awards - one
for making 263 SBA loans totaling over $100 million in Wisconsin
in 2013, and another for the 18 loans it made to veterans, which
exceeded its set goal of 12.
First Bank Senior Vice President and Chief
Lending Officer Mark McCune said he was especially pleased by
the bank’s ability help out veterans.
“We are really proud of this,” he said. “We
want to try and give something back, so we tried extra hard to
try and get this last part of the lending factor. We believe it
is a big role that our community bank can help.”
The ceremony was held at Technical Metal
Specialties, Inc.’s new facility in New Berlin. The company
designs and manufactures products ranging from seat frames for
mass transit use to menu boards for fast food restaurants and
has even gotten involved in federal contracting.
Last year, financial assistance from FBFC
allowed TMS co-owners Tim Michel and Tom Sheahan to move their
business from a pair of cramped buildings in Milwaukee to a
spacious 108,000 square-foot building.
That loan also helped the company to stay
“We probably wouldn’t be in business right now
if it was not for (FBFC) and the SBA,” Michel said. “It is that
extra piece that helped us move out of where we had been for 23
years and into a much nicer facility and helped us to grow the
According to Michel, if everything goes
according to plan this year, his company’s profits could
increase by 30 percent. TMS has also created 10 new jobs -
increasing its staff to 60 employees - and lease out a $600,000
Mazak Optiplex 3015 laser cutting machine.
Eric Ness, the Small Business Administration’s
Wisconsin District director, said helping businesses like
Technical Metal Specialties is exactly the reason the SBA
“One of the big things that a lot of small
businesses tell us is, they have the dream, they have the idea,
but how do we make this work?” he said. “They had this dream,
but... somebody had to take a risk on (them), somebody had to
give (them) capital, and that is where we roll in.”