Ron Abbott, MTC Graduate, Owner of Ever-Fresh Design Celebrating 10 Years in Business
One thing that makes Marion Technical College such a special place is the individual stories of our students. There is a wonderful mix of high school students, traditional college students, and adults who are working, raising families and taking classes to earn their degree. Life experience mixed with young minds creates a teaching environment for all involved.
Ron Abbott falls into the adult student category. “It took me nine years to complete my two-year degree, but I wouldn’t change the experience one bit,” he recalls of his long journey.
Ron started his college career in Fremont, but being from the Marion area, he and his wife returned home. He continued his education by enrolling at Marion Technical College. His wife also started attending MTC for a bookkeeping certificate that Ron said she still uses today for the family business.
While attending college a class or two at a time, Ron worked at several employers taking on different engineering technologies positions at each company. He was a Detailer, Designer, and CAD specialist.
School and work were not the only responsibilities that Ron had. He also had a growing family at home. He and his wife, Cathy, had two young girls. In the same year, Ron finally received his Marion Technical College diploma in engineering technologies and rounded out the family with a newborn baby boy.
Ron was feeling really good about the direction of his life. “I finally earned my degree, and with a great wife who had been so supportive through all of the school, and three remarkable kids that I could now enjoy a little more. Things were great.” To top things off, Abbott was offered his “dream job” shortly after graduation.
Ron began a job in Columbus at a large automated process company doing research and development work. He loved everything about it. “The job was great; the company had great benefits and was very flexible. I also developed one of my five patents while working there,” he said. “But after several years of Columbus traffic the drive started to take a toll on me.”
He was offered a position with one of his previous employers in Marion as a Mechanical Designer and was soon promoted to Engineer. The company was sold and moved out of the area after several years. He then found a position locally as a Production Manager doing automation an robotics work. Once again, the company was sold and moved out of the area. Ron then worked locally for a large mobile equipment manufacturer as a contract Engineer and then for an air conditioner manufacture in northeast Ohio. They allowed Ron to stay on as their Engineering Manager working out of his home and later in the new Marion office. He only drove there a few times a moth. During this transition his kids were growing up and the long distance relationship with his company was wearing thin. It was at this time that Ron knew he was ready for a change.
He lined some things up, purchased the equipment and CAD software that he needed and he decided to open Ever-Fresh Design. “I gave my two weeks’ notice without having a single customer,” he recalls.
He knew he had to get busy so he worked up a letter of introduction for the new company, started cold calling companies that he felt he could potentially do business with and landed one client with about 20 hours per week worth of work. That was exactly what he needed to break even and stay afloat. The business has been growing ever since. “In the past, I felt a bit guilty about having so many jobs over the years, but with each different job came new experience and skill sets that very few people can claim to possess,” Ron added.
Hard work, a little luck, and the ability to adjust are what kept his business going. “Originally, my product line was limited. I was mainly doing CAD work and then farming out the actual production” he said. “I realized that I could make more profit by building the equipment myself. It was around this time that my son, Ryan, decided that he wanted to learn the business and be a part of it, too.” This allowed Abbott to kick it up a notch.
Now, ten years later, Ron and Ryan have built a solid business designing and manufacturing automated equipment. They have done work for several manufacturers locally and across the state to increase productivity, build new equipment, and fix existing machines. We are always looking for more business,” he adds as he wraps up the story of his career.
Marion Technical College is proud of the fact that our alumni make opportunities, continue to grow, and become local business owners. “My education at MTC was a huge part of my life. It was grueling and not always fun, but I definitely use things that I learned every single day,” he said.
To learn more about your possibilities, visit mtc.edu/programs or call 740.389.4636.