After decades of working in sales for other companies, Gehle Loomis at age 48 had a vision to begin his own engineering and sales business. At the time, there was a need in the market for metal work engineering, and Gehle knew he had the skillset. His son Randy, a recent college graduate and only one year into his career in Chicago, would move back to Rockford to help bring his father’s vision to life. Tool Engineering Industries was born on October 1, 1979 in the basement and childhood home of the Loomis residence.
Father and son, and eventually Gehle’s daughters too would work side by side. Unfortunately, Gehle’s life ended early just four years later in 1983 due to complications in surgery. Randy and his sisters Vicki (1986) and Lorri (1984) would continue their father’s legacy and push Tool Engineering forward. In the summer of 1989, Tool Engineering grew out of the family’s basement and moved into a rented space in the Old Atwood Building on North Main Street in Rockford. Business was picking up, and warehouse space also became necessary as Tool Engineering forged into new territory of buying and selling machinery.
By 1993, it had become time to purchase land to house Tool Engineering, now a company of 5 people. Built upon 2.25 acres in Machesney Park, they made the move in July 1994 into an 8,000 sq./ft. building. It wasn’t long before they outgrew the original structure, and an additional 24,000 sq./ft. was added on in 1998. By 2000, even more growth was imminent, so the adjoining four acres were purchased with an eye towards future expansion. At this same time, the Tool Engineering name had been changed to Loomis International, Ltd.
As Loomis International continued to prosper, other companies began to form to address more needs in the tooling and fastener industries. On February 4, 1998, on what would have been Gehle’s 67th birthday, National Header Die was born. Randy had started his own header tooling company, which had also been a dream of his father’s. In 2004, Armor Coated Technology (ACT) was formed. All three companies now employ 60 people, a long ways from their humble beginnings.
Since the beginning in 1979, Loomis International Ltd. has been the home to three generations of Loomises. Today father, sons and daughter work side by side just as it was 40 years prior.
In March of 2018 we moved to our current location of 176,200 sq./ft. on 32 acres in Byron IL.