Gerbers of Montana (website) has been servicing the Great Falls and the sounding communities since 1911. However, it operated under a different name until 1967. Strong Scott manufacturing of Minneapolis wanted a presence further west in the United States. So, in 1911 they started Strong Scott of Montana in Great Falls. In 1967 Gerber industries, another manufacturing company in Minneapolis, purchased the branch and renamed it Gerbers of Montana.
Dan Brown, the current owner, has been with Gerbers of Montana since 1976. Brown started out in sales and brought the company into the hydraulic component business. In 1985 Brown was promoted to manager and in 1988 he purchased the business.
“It’s been really fun to see the generational changes over the years where actually in my career we’re on the third generation, especially for a lot of the farmers,” Brown explained.
Gerbers of Montana primary serves the grain and feed industry and specializes in services like fabrication, machining, industrial parts distribution, and manufacturing. Design in another element under their umbrella. Brown never received any formal education in design but states that he has an aptitude for it.
Gerbers of Montana business manager Jill Tranmer states, “He has so many formulas and drawings and designs in his head that any customer can call with the most random questions that you can’t begin how to fathom to solve, and he knows the answer."
One example of his design work involves three of the largest all-electric, 40,000 bushel an hour distributors. Brown states he designed them in his head at six o’clock in the morning over a cup of joe.
“A lot of coffee involved,” Brown laughed.
Employees including Tranmer emphasized to MTN the immense knowledge Brown holds within his brain. Stating that he can often answer customer questions off the top of his head many manufacturers would have a difficult time answering.
Tranmer spends a lot of her time trying to soak up as much knowledge as she can as she is one of the employees in line to take over the business once Brown retires. However, MTN was told Brown wouldn’t be retiring anytime soon.
Tranmer admires, “His work ethic, his knowledge, his passion. I hope I can continue that on and grow what he’s already been successful in and take it a little bit further in this new world that we’re in."
With 47 years in the business, Brown is not only recognized for his knowledge, but for his character too.
“He does everything for everyone around him. Whether it be employees, customers, anyone,” Tranmer explained.