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NEW YORK - Allen J. Berning, founder of Rochester, Minn.-based PEMSTAR Inc., was named the 1999 National Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Emerging Entrepreneur category. In five years, PEMSTAR has grown from a startup, into a $165 million company focused on high-precision electromechanical engineering and contract manufacturing, with facilities in six countries.
In 1993, IBM, Rochester`s second largest employer, announced a consolidation and reduction in its disk drive operations. This downsizing left a pool of engineers, technicians and assembly workers in the city. Aware of the high CM growth rate and the city`s need for a new business to grow, Berning put together a team from IBM upper management that negotiated enough capitalization for a first-rate startup and immediately sought to distinguish itself as a company with complex product and project capability.
PEMSTAR specializes in solving customers` problems through early intervention and intensive engineering, working with a blue-chip list of more than 50 large- and medium-sized companies in six industries. The company guides clients through the engineering phase into low-volume production, then moves the customers` operations to appropriate international partners to take advantage of low labor costs. PEMSTAR maintains majority ownership in and forms joint ventures with manufacturing facilities to ensure desired production capabilities. The company was launched in 1994; revenues are expected to exceed $250 million for the fiscal year ending March 2000.