Believing in the American Dream
PONCA CITY, OKLA. – In 1995, Michael Engster arrived in Oklahoma from his native Germany with $178, a family and a dream.
He found his American Dream in Ponca City, Okla. After contacting other states, Engster believed that Oklahoma offered him the best opportunity to build his own business. Engster established Centerline Inc., a small business that repairs and remanufactures spindles.
Engster describes machinery spindles as small engines within a machine. He learned that most production machines that contain spindles are expensive, produce high volume and are used almost constantly. When these machines are broken, they are extremely expensive to replace and cause major loss of production. Engster found his market niche by repairing spindles quickly and efficiently.
Centerline’s employees have been trained in Germany and Switzerland, as well as the United States; therefore, the company has succeeded in repairing both European and domestically made spindles.
Eight months after opening its doors, Centerline had ten employees and was turning a profit. Today, Engster serves 350 customers worldwide, including aviation powerhouse, Boeing. The company’s sales are near $3 million, and Centerline employs a staff of 23. In 2001, Engster was named Oklahoma’s Small Business Person of the Year.
“I am very grateful to America and to Oklahoma for giving me and my family the freedom to be successful,” said Engster. “The state, the people, the bankers, the pioneer technology center – everyone helped us. It’s overwhelming.”
State of Oklahoma Department of Commerce
900 North Stiles Avenue / P.O. Box 26980
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73126-0980 U.S.A.
Tel: (405) 815-6552 Fax: (405) 815-5237