Quality Tank Solutions, LLC
Passion, dedication, workmanship
Business View Magazine interviews Jimmi-Jean Sukys, CEO of Quality Tank Solutions, for our focus on Manufacturing in the Food & Beverage Industry; Breweries.
Viewed as the “Cadillac of the industry,” Wisconsin’s own Quality Tank Solutions (QTS) excels as a full service tank manufacturer, specializing in all Sanitary Liquid Applications for the Craft Brewing, Beverage, Food, Dairy, and Pharmaceutical sectors. At the helm, CEO Jimmi-Jean Sukys is an intrepid woman entrepreneur, well respected in a mostly male-dominated field. In fact, this is the third stainless steel manufacturing facility she’s ran, but this one she owns outright. True to its name, quality is the top priority. QTS tanks/systems are designed specifically per customer specifications to meet and exceed expectations. It’s passion, dedication, and workmanship at its finest.
When it comes to brewing, QTS offers everything from single tanks to full custom brew houses, including set up and install. But that’s just the beginning! The menu continues with process piping and installation, custom fabrication, tank repair, platforms, and fittings and valves. Customers can even e-shop online for sanitary fittings, valves, and brewery hoses. QTS also provides the best equipment – chillers, boilers, grain handling – and lease-to-own options! Whether one’s expanding or starting from scratch, QTS craftsmanship and customer service ensures a smooth transition.
On the operations side, QTS has a highly-skilled team with 50-plus years of experience in the stainless industry. All QTS tanks are manufactured in Wisconsin, using only the highest quality materials and equipment with a focus on domestically sourced stainless. Speaking about the beginnings of the company, Jimmi-Jean Sukys shares, “We are a female-owned, family run business. Chad Sprinkman and Jimmi started Quality Tank Solutions in May 2012 with the concept of taking what we’d always done – which was stainless steel – and making it better by provided the best service in the industry with the highest quality products. Chad and Jimmi’s background is dairy, and food and beverage. Chad’s on the sales side of the company and Jimmi in design and engineering. We started with the mindset of focusing on the brewing side of the industry and we’ve grown extensively – today, seven-and-a-half years later, we have 88 employees.”
The company sells across the U.S. and also has clients in the Turks and Caicos, Canada, and South America. The corporate office, where it all started, is in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin and that location also houses a small manufacturing facility and warehouses. As the business grew, they expanded to Marshfield, Wisconsin (about 2 ½ hours north) and built a brand-new state of the art facility where about 55 people work. In food processing, everybody uses steel tanks, so QTS does a lot of work with cheese plants and dairy plants. Clientele include Schreiber, Heinz, Kroger, and Organic Valley. Beverage plants include Citrus Systems, Beverage Flavors, and King Juice. On the brewing side, the big boys like Founders Brewing and Three Floyd are clients. QTS also set up local craft breweries and brew pubs across the country.
As for competition, Sukys notes, “Our main differentiator from the competition is our installation team with a focus on service. Not only do we use sanitary installs, but we do industrial as well. So, you can come to QTS and we can help you design, create, and conceptualize your facility – whether it’s adding or changing or building brand new. In addition to the sanitary install, we install boilers, chillers, grain handling equipment, walk-in coolers; it’s almost a turnkey situation. That’s the biggest difference we offer.”
QTS is brewing up a storm of new growth, enough that they’re ready to expand the Marshfield plant that was built in 2017, and already expanded once in 2018. In the near future, they’re also looking forward to bringing onto the market some other opportunities for QTS in the components division. Instead of just making the tanks, they’ll be supplying the parts for those tanks to other companies.
Marketing is not our main focus. Sukys explains, “We do a few trade shows, here and there, but honestly it’s word-of-mouth. Once you get into this industry, everybody knows if you’ve done good or if you’ve done bad; if you’re the go-to people; if you’ve hit your deliveries or you didn’t; in the brewing industry, especially. They don’t buy from you unless somebody they know bought from you and you did a good job. There’s not a lot of room for error. Because there are so many stainless steel shops, you need to stay on top of it. We pride ourselves, number one, on service and the quality of our products going out the door – hence the name, Quality Tank. For the future, we’re looking to add 30 to 40 jobs over the next 4-5 years; looking to expand to new marketplaces; and continue with our diversification to keep people in jobs. That is what I hope, in five years, to say that we’ve accomplished.”
Difficulty finding skilled workers is a challenge across the board in manufacturing. That’s one reason why QTS has two locations. In Oconomowoc, it’s extremely difficult to find the skilled labor they need. “In Marshfield, though, it’s what we call the melting pot of the welders,” says Sukys. “There are many manufacturers here; a lot of medical industry and stainless. So, the working pool is much bigger to pull from in this area. And as always in different changing businesses, things go up and they go down. We have been very successful here in finding the right talent. But we also put our employees first. That’s part of our mission – we want our employees to know they’re part of the family; they’re part of the name Quality Tank Solutions. We put a lot of benefits back into them. We give a lot of added things, so our turnover rate is very low. And once somebody is happy, they usually want to bring someone else in.
“There is nothing better than hands-on experience. If you have a person who wants to learn and they’re eager and they’ve never welded before, but they have the desire and the knowledge, we’ll train them onsite. We’ll let them start at ground level. Sanitary welding is extremely different than 90 percent of other welding out there. It has specific requirements, especially TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding. It’s manual. You have to pass 3A or FDA, USDA – those criteria exist and they’re real. So, we do a lot of training. Sometimes, even the welders that come in with a certificate might not touch something which is going to be on the raw side (something you’re going to digest). They wouldn’t be able to weld on that until they go through our program and pass our test. We actually certify them for that.”
Suppliers are key to the success of QTS and recognized as valuable assets, and the company is pleased to give them a shout-out. “Our stainless steel suppliers are amazing,” says Sukys. “First of all, they’re domestically sourced, which is great. We really pride ourselves on that. Guy Metals in Hammond, Wisconsin is our main supplier of our sheet steel. We’ve had a lasting relationship since day one and he’s been amazing; also, VNE Corp. in Janesville, which supplies all our fittings. We have a lot of local manufacturers we deal with: Fristam Pumps out of Middleton; Rath/Gibson in Janesville for all our tubing; Walker for all of our domed heads. We’re proud to support, locally, as well as to give back to our communities.”
A point of honor: QTS won a local award from the Wisconsin Business Development group (WBD) for being innovative in the stainless steel industry. Fun little tidbit – they coined Jimmi-Jean the “famous steel lady” in Milwaukee for all the different projects the company has done. Most importantly, Sukys wants people to know, “Quality Tank Solutions is all about our people. That’s what makes the difference. We have some of the best-qualified people working for us that put their heart and soul into everything they do. I couldn’t be more proud of the staff and the team we’ve assembled. They treat our customers just like they would want to be treated and that really means a lot to us.”
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AT A GLANCE
Who: Quality Tank Solutions, LLC
What: Full-service sanitary tank manufacturer
Where: Headquarters in Marshfield, Wisconsin
Omega Thermo Products LLC – www.omegathermoproducts.com
Omega Thermo Products is a manufacturer of Laser Plates and Custom Heat Exchangers for hundreds of different applications, providing its customers and end users with optimum solutions for their heat transfer applications. Located in Stratford, WI Omega supplies its components and systems to a variety of industries including the water, beverage, food, chemical, pulp & paper, dairy, pharmaceutical, refrigeration and marine industries.
Omega’s laser-welded heat exchangers are America‘s most customizable, highest quality, integral tank jackets. Omega’s proprietary technology provides greater process efficiency, longer life cycles, and cost savings, thus ensuring a more sustainable operation. Our Wisconsin facility services customers throughout North America with development, support, engineering, and manufacturing, as well as a network of dedicated Omega sales and business partners.
Lechler, Inc. – www.lechlerusa.com
Bacteria is the enemy that lurks inside every tank and if not properly removed, it can have devastating effects on your next production batch. The proper cleaning device could make all the difference to ensure your tank is bacteria free so that your process runs smoothly.
For over 140 years, Lechler has been successfully developing and manufacturing spray devices based on innovative products, unmatched quality and engineering expertise. By working directly with tank manufacturers and end customers, they provide solutions for tanks in all shapes and sizes. From a simple rinse to removing the most difficult soils, Lecher offers a broad line of extensive tank cleaning products that meet hygienic requirements.
Spray performance and accuracy are critical to applications. Lechler’s Measurement Technology Center is equipped with state of the art equipment for testing and developing nozzles that produce dependable results. TankClean Simulation is a unique software service that is available to customers. TankClean makes it possible to select the ideal nozzle for your tank by simulating the existing cleaning process and detecting any problems.
The quality of your product starts with a clean tank and if your tanks are not equipped with the proper cleaning devices, it’s not too late to make a change and ask the experts.
- Testing and lab capabilities and software for simulating tank cleaning
- Wide product offering
- Clean small to very large tanks
- Simple rinse to removing the most difficult soils
- Sprays entire surface area inside the tank to ensure a clean tank
- Improved mechanical action requires less time for cleaning
- Consumes less water for cleaning
- TankClean Simulation Software