Lehi, Utah

The Marz family business: a CNC machine shop with a notably diverse portfolio of work.

When Jeff Marz was a kid, he watched his older brother come home dirty and stinky from his job at a machine shop and thought, “I never want to do that.”

But in 1977, he tried his hand at cutting metal in the machine shop of a friend’s engineering company. “The first time I cut metal and saw the chips flying, I was hooked,” he says.

Marz spent the next 30 years machining and working in management positions until he started his own company in 2007. Now, with four of his 12 children working at Marz Precision Manufacturing, the company is truly a family affair.

“When I first started the business, I felt kind of lonely getting this going, but then my sons came on,” Marz says. “It’s just great to have the teamwork and be able to run ideas off each other and grow the business.”

Marz Precision Manufacturing specializes in CNC milling, with seven Haas mills and three Haas lathes in its inventory, as well as a few vintage workhorse manual machines. The company manufactures parts for a variety of industries, including medical devices, industrial electronics, firearms, and theme parks.

The shop’s machines cut titanium, stainless steel, brass, aluminum, and plastics. The company prides itself on high-quality, quick-turnaround work, and many of its customers are willing to pay top dollar for it.

“We never gouge a customer, but some customers pay a premium to turn work around in two or three days,” Marz says. “Quick turnaround time is something many of our customers really need to be competitive in their own individual industries.”

Marz is sole owner of the business and wants to keep it that way until he sells it to his sons at a discounted price. “They’ve earned some sweat equity, but that’s a few years down the road,” he says.

Photos courtesy Marz Precision Manufacturing

Challenges: Building the business without sufficient capital has been tough. When Marz started the company, six of his 12 children were still living at home, and he mortgaged the family’s house to get the company off the ground. “When you mortgage your house to start a business, failure is not an option,” he says.

Marz says the 2008 economic downturn nearly killed the business. He borrowed money that took him years to pay back. “Trying to grow the business without deep pockets has been the biggest struggle,” he says. “I’m a blue-collar businessman. I wish I had a rich uncle.”

Opportunities: Though he hasn’t figured out what they will be yet, Marz wants to create proprietary products that the company can market under its own brand and sell on Amazon. “We’re a recreational family — we own boats, motorcycles and off-road vehicles,” he says. “We’ll create products that can be used in those areas — I’m a Harley rider, and I haven’t found a good cup holder for my Harley. We’re looking to have a product we can call our own, but until then we’re happy to work for the companies we do.”

Marz says he would also like to expand the business to keep the machines running longer every day. “Until I’m running these machines two shifts a day, six days a week, we still have spindle time,” he says.

Needs: Marz could use more than the 2,500 square feet of space that houses the dozen-plus machines it uses to make components for its customers. “We’ve got the machines jammed into a small space,” Marz says. “We’re looking for a larger space. Our goal is to have our own building.”