Greg Heitz and his
sister, Stephanie Fleming, took over Grafton’s Exacto
from their father in 2000.
Photo by Mark Justesen
GRAFTON — Exacto Spring may be a funny name for a
company, but there’s an interesting story behind it –
and the name makes a lot of sense.
Heitz started the company in 1960 in Rockford, Ill. By
1964, he decided to move to Grafton to position himself
closer to his Milwaukee customers.
he found himself driving back and forth, the “Exact
Change” sign at the Illinois toll plazas struck a chord
and led to the name for the newly relocated business.
wanted to make springs that were exactly the same every
time. “Exact change” became “exact spring” – and Exacto
Grafton-based company manufactures tight tolerance,
hard-to-make springs and wireforms.
Exacto will be honored by Ozaukee Economic Development
in September as this year’s Mid-Size Business of the
Exacto Spring’s products can be found in everything from
medical devices to military applications. However, about
half of their production goes to automotive-related
“There’s not a car on the road that most likely does not
have our spring,” said Greg Heitz, son of the founder
and co-owner of Exacto Spring. The manufacturing company
produces parts for Chrysler, GM, Ford and Toyota, to
just name a few.
Exacto works with its customers to design custom,
high-end products. Unlike the springs found in things
like pens, Exacto’s springs and wireforms are made to be
incredibly reliable, lasting a lifetime. Exacto creates
and designs its products for critical applications “that
will save your life in car accidents and operating
tables,” Greg Heitz said.
company has retained its family-oriented roots. Heitz
and his sister, Stephanie Fleming, took over the
business from their father in 2000. As co-owners, Heitz
and Fleming have continued to grow Exacto’s impact
around the world.
comparison, back in 1960, they started with one
customer. Now they ship to 15 countries.
about 155 employees across three buildings on its
Grafton campus, it’s no small order to produce all of
the custom products they need to their customers.
workforce has been very loyal. We’ve had people who’ve
been here for 30 years and above,” Greg Heitz said.
employment loyalty in abundance, Exacto hasn’t had to
look hard to find a reason to give back to the
“We’ve been heavily involved in the community for 54
years,” he said. “We’re happy with Grafton. We like the
people, the workforce, the community.”
Through the years, their philanthropic support has
included mostly health care programs and education,
through many of the schools in Ozaukee County.
Heitz said he aims to continue the model that has helped
the company get to where it is today.
really are into the applications that require the best
of the best,” he said.
Businesses of the Year
Ozaukee Economic Development recently announced its 2017
Businesses of the Year. The annual award, which started
2013, recognizes businesses that have seen significant
business and job growth and are strong community
year’s honorees are:
Small business – Fiddleheads
Mid-size business – Exacto Spring
Large business –
The businesses will be
recognized Sept.26 at OED’s Business of the
Year/Economic Forecast Breakfast at the Ozaukee Pavilion
on the county fairgrounds in Cedarburg.