Twenty years is a long time to be in business—just ask Jeff Jacobson and Don Deibert, general manager and former president, respectively, of Counterpart, Inc., based in Brookings, South Dakota.“We both began our careers in manufacturing at Daktronics, here in Brookings,” Jacobson said. “As the company grew, we began outsourcing to keep up with demand. But that can sometimes take too long and it slows down production. So we looked at the parts we needed and found we could easily produce them on our own, and in 1996 we branched off and founded Counterpart.“The great thing about Brookings is how open to opportunity the community is,” Jacobson continued. “Think about how Brookings has changed in the last 20 years or 10 years, even the last five years. The innovation and opportunities in our community have evolved so much, and given our proximity to the I-29 corridor, it gives us an edge against our competitors.”Which is just one of the many selling points Jacobson says he uses when recruiting new talent.“We have access to a wide, unique talent pool,” Jacobson said. “We take on students from South Dakota State University (SDSU) and Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) and other tech schools. But we also engage the local high school students, too. In fact, we’re hosting students through our facility during Manufacturing Week to show them exactly what’s happening in their community and how it impacts the world around them.”Jamie Brutty, director of human resources at Counterpart, adds that it never gets old seeing the students’ reactions when they learn what’s being produced in their own community.“I imagine it’s the same way for many of the manufacturers in Brookings and across South Dakota,” Brutty said. “It just goes to show how little the average person knows about manufacturing, so that’s why this week is beneficial to growing awareness of the opportunities manufacturing can provide you.”Brutty adds that Counterpart is just one of several local manufacturers that will open its doors up to the community on Friday, Oct. 7.“Twin City Fan, Dakota Mobile Hydraulics, Falcon Plastics, Daktronics and Larson are involved in this year’s facility tours during Manufacturing Week,” Brutty said. “Tours will be offered to students and the general public from 1-4 p.m. and I think people will be really impressed with what they see.”Jacobson says the tours help counter the assumption that manufacturing isn’t important to our economy.“I think manufacturing is appealing to today’s society because we live in an ‘instant-gratification’ culture,” Jacobson said. “It is rewarding, especially for me, to come to work knowing by the end of the day, we made a product. It’s satisfying to watch our products from start to finish and I enjoy knowing the products I made impact the production of even bigger products.”Jacobson says that as manufacturing continues to evolve, the company finds innovative ways to maintain its high standards, building its reputation for solid customer satisfaction.“Twenty years in business teaches you a lot of things, and we continue to learn every day,” Jacobson said. “Our team is committed to the high-quality standard we set out to achieve 20 years ago. We have a great partnership with our community and the State of South Dakota so our success is just as much theirs as it is ours.”Counterpart Inc. incorporated in December 1995 and began producing quality parts for local companies according to those companies’ unique specifications. Since then, it’s grown to a full-scale, 80,000 square-foot facility that can handle anything from the smallest components to the largest assemblies its customers require.Learn more about Counterpart and its career opportunities by visiting www.counterpartfab.com.Photo: Jeff Jacobson, general manager, Counterpart, Inc.
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