The addition of new investors out of Texas will not mean any significant operational changes at Rome-based OTR Wheel Engineering.
OTR CEO Fred Taylor said the company has been expanding dramatically and he felt it was better to bring in some investors rather than borrow money to fuel continued growth.
“I’d rather these guys come in, so they’ve invested their capital into the company,” Taylor said. The investment group comes from the Austin, Texas-area.
OTR has grown from a small farm-implement manufacturer more than three decades ago to become a multi-million-dollar business with over 125 workers in Floyd County.
After moving to Rome from Michigan in the 1980s, Taylor grew the business from a small wheel shop to the point where the company began to manufacture and distribute wheels and wheel components to customers in the Southeast.
Headquartered in the old Riverside Industrial Park, OTR now employs more than 600 worldwide. The company has offices in Canada, where North Shore Wheel became OTR Wheel Canada in 2017, as well as China, France, England and elsewhere around the globe.
“This basically gives us the freedom to grow dramatically more. Historically I’ve always stuck all of the money I make with the company back into the company, so this way, we have a nice big capital base to operate from,” Taylor said.
The addition of the Texas group means that there are now five stockholders in the company.
“There’s a long-term plan, maybe five years, or whatever, where they’ll probably take my shares out, but for right now I’m the CEO and there are no day-to-day changes,” Taylor said.