Driving Innovation

TEAM Industries
Written by Robert Hoshowsky

In business for over 50 years, Bagley, Minnesota-headquartered TEAM Industries remains a highly respected, vertically integrated engineering and manufacturing leader in drive train technology.
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Widely known for delivering quality, innovative and highly dependable products and solutions, privately held TEAM Industries has been serving the market for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) with “reliability enhancing components” since 1967, and shows no signs of slowing down after all these years.

Working closely with all customers, the highly experienced staff at TEAM Industries provides a tremendous range of services to meet customer needs, from providing valuable input on product designs to manufacturing extremely efficient, state-of-the-art drive train technology systems made to exacting client specifications. At TEAM Industries, the company’s many engineers, sourcing specialists, sales staff, CNC operators, quality experts, and assembly workers recognize that the success of their clients is paramount, and a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the company. “Whether you need TEAM to design and manufacture a complete driveline solution, or supply a simple set of gears, we’re there for you from concept to completion,” states the company on its website.

From transmissions and transaxles to Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs), axles, electric vehicle drivetrains, and four-wheel drive systems, the talented employees at TEAM Industries regularly take on many challenging projects. From design and engineering to contract manufacturing, CNC machining, electric vehicle drives, and drives and powertrains, TEAM Industries also has the capabilities for make-to-print components. Working with practically every kind of ferrous (iron-containing) material and non-ferrous material available, the company takes on projects involving extruded, cast, forged, or wrought works.

Widely acknowledged as one of best of its kind in the world, TEAM Industries originally started by another name – Motek Engineering and Manufacturing – in Cambridge, Minnesota, founded by Don Ricke and his wife, Bea. Don acquired valuable hands-on skills early in life, working at the family farm and its blacksmith shop. Later serving in the Navy during the Second World War, marrying Bea and fathering three children, Don pursued his education, receiving an engineering degree from North Dakota State University.

Soon after graduation, Don worked for a number of highly respected companies, including General Electric in New York as a mechanical design engineer, then later returning to Minnesota and U.S.-based multinational conglomerate Honeywell, where he served as an aeronautical engineer for guidance systems used on NASA’s pre-Apollo program; in fact, Honeywell was so impressed with Don and the caliber of his work that the company asked him to relocate to Florida. Although the offer was tempting, he chose instead to stay in Minnesota, and took a position as a machine shop engineer before starting Motek Engineering and Manufacturing in 1967.

Always innovative and with an eye on emerging markets, Don saw the rise of the snowmobile industry and seized upon it, utilizing some of the early CNC machining technology and creating custom-made products. Soon, Don’s son David – while still in high school – began working at his father’s company. Starting off as a cleaner to gain experience and further his interest in the machining and manufacturing business, the teenager soon worked his way up, learning shipping and receiving, supervising the night shift, and learning how to operate machinery, among other skills.

Gaining considerable work experience, David set out on his own, starting his own business in Minnesota’s Roy Lake area in the 1970s. After a number of years, he closed the company and returned to the family business in 1980. Along with his father, the two expanded TEAM Industries and relocated the company to Audubon, Minnesota to be nearer to key customers. “This would give the new facility a good labor force, easy transport of products and materials, and would bring jobs to a rural location,” states TEAM, which soon embarked on contract manufacturing and making components for CVTs used by clients in the golf cart and snowmobile sectors.

Over the coming years the company grew considerably, with CVTs becoming an integral product for the business, which soon received work from the likes of Polaris for its line of All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), along with contracts from other well-known and respected companies such as IBM, Toro, and Fairmont Railway Motors. In fact, many of the transmissions designed by Don in the Eighties were patented. With TEAM-Audubon having the first CNC gear hobber in Minnesota, the business expanded. Opening a third facility in Bagley with David as President, the new location soon became the company’s corporate and design engineering headquarters. According to the company, “Don’s dream had finally come home. TEAM Industries was asked to design a better shifting, quiet transmission; one year later, they were making 60,000 transmissions.”

Throughout the ‘90s, TEAM Industries continued its expansion, focusing more and more on design-engineered product with less of an emphasis on make-to-print components. With a growing customer base, TEAM began working for giants like Arctic Cat, Bombardier, Yamaha, John Deere and others, designing, developing, extensively testing, and producing a range of advanced four-wheel drive systems, gas and electric transaxles, CVT transmissions, and other products, furthering its industry-wide prestige.

Having built on its reputation over the decades, TEAM Industries is now widely known as a world-class manufacturer. With Don passing away in 1997, his son David took over the role of company President and CEO, proud of all that the business and his late father accomplished. Today, TEAM Industries remains a key rural employer, bringing quality jobs to the locations in which it operates.

With the tagline “Driving Innovation®,” TEAM Industries truly has been at the forefront of often-complex driveline solutions for over 50 years. With its dedicated and experienced staff, the company works with its customers from project inception through to completion – including engineering, prototyping, testing, design and full-scale manufacturing – providing single-source engineering products and solutions, all conducted in-house. From design and design verification to engineering services, metallurgy, product development, rapid prototyping (using steel, aluminum, stainless steel, bronze, or plastics), production drawings, 3D modeling and CAD services, failure mode and effects analysis, structural finite element analysis, cost analysis and much more, TEAM Industries is your trusted partner every step of the way.

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