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Jeffersonville Company Amatrol Finds Success In Flexibility

Courier Journal

Date: Friday, July 22, 2011, 12:22 AM EDT

Amatrol did its best in 2010 and expects to do still better this year despite the down economy.

The Jeffersonville company defies by redefining, ever eager to be relevant. It adds products and markets and accepts no excuses for not turning on a dime. While some 75 employees make things, the other 60 make plans.

“I spend a lot of my time asking, ‘Where are we going next?’” said Paul Perkins, the president.

Amatrol, which is near Port Road, has roots in engineering design, but 30 years ago Amatrol linked itself to education and has not looked back. It helps schools and businesses teach and train, selling them an ever-wider range of intricate ware, hard and soft.

Interest swells in alternative energy, so Amatrol also now provides goods and guidance for others to make more from wind and the sun. And as manufacturers increasingly go global, Amatrol increasingly goes global with dozens of far-flung clients.

“Our whole approach is to develop relationships with clients,” Perkins said. “Our No. 1 goal is to make them successful.”
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce named Amatrol the state’s small business of the year in 2010. Business First also saluted it last year. Being honored reflects the firm’s ability to change in stride with technology. “That’s what makes it fun, too,” Perkins said.

Perkins’ late parents, Don and Bobbi, started both the firm and its ability to be flexible. Paul’s sister, Suzanne Allen, is chief financial officer. Brother Todd is chief operating officer. Being private, Amatrol worries less about quick profit. Instead of knee-jerk changes, Amatrol makes thoughtful ones.

Rita Hudson Shourds, chancellor of the Ivy Tech Community College campus in Sellersburg, is impressed by “the foresight it has to spend time on what is to be in the future.” The college relies on Amatrol products plus Paul Perkins serves on its regional and state boards.

Bronson Ellis, energy training coordinator of the High Plains Technology Center in Oklahoma, said Amatrol helps him teach skills applicable to the real world. Ellis said Amatrol indeed sells what he most needs to buy. “They’re willing to look at anything,” Ellis said. “They listen. That’s how they stay ahead.”

Amatrol has mostly homegrown work force, testimony to the Louisville area’s brainpower. Once at Amatrol, people stay, on average, a decade or more. The staff grows because orders do, and Amatrol expects to add on to its building on Centennial Boulevard.

What is ahead for those workers is whatever must be. Amatrol is set in its ways about being flexible. “Our folks work on new stuff all the time,” Perkins said.

Dale Moss’ column appears on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Comment on this column, and read his blog and previous columns, at www.courier-journal.com/moss.

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