Monday, 19 March 2012 by David Tuma
Editor's Note: The Belton Economic Development Corporation is promoting existing industries by setting up a series of stories in conjunction with The Belton Journal. In many communities so much emphasis is put on attracting new industry that little is down for those businesses already in Belton.
The first in the series is on Belltec Industries run by the Jones family that has a long storied history in the Belton community.
Founded in 1988 by Clyde Jones and his two sons Donny and David, Belltec Industries began to manufacture and market a unique, patented down pressure posthole digger. Since then, the company has expanded into other types of hole drilling equipment such as hydraulic drive attachments for skid steer loaders, backhoes and excavators, along with augers to drill rock and the hardest dirt. As a result of hard work and innovation, Belltec is able to make the promise, "We drill holes fast, where others fail."
Beginning in 1934, Clyde's father Glen and his uncle Lynn left the farm to open a hardware and implement business in the small southeast Iowa town of Cantrell (pop. 350).
In 1945, Glen started Continental Farm Machine Company in Minneapolis, Minn. to manufacture and market a universal tractor-mounted posthole digger. The Continental digger was equipped with its own cable-reel operated power lift, which could be set to a predetermined depth and would automatically raise the auger from the hole.
In 1946, after time served in the Navy, Clyde went to work for the family company. That year Glen sent Clyde to Belton to assist in the start up of a new company. The building was erected and by January 1947 Continental Belton Company was in production making a new, more refined model of the digger.
In 1958, Clyde left the family business to start Mohawk Equipment Company. Rotary cutters were the first products made and marketed by Mowhawk. Later a broad line of equipment was added – Rear Blades, Chisel Plows, Tool Bars and Lister/Bedders to name a few.
During the 1980s both Continental and Mohawk were sold. Both are still in existence, although operating under another company name.
The company employs 24 and works hard to retain them.
"Our three priorities are safety, quality and production," David Jones said. "People show up with five fingers on each hand and they leave with those fingers. We have done the physical work having grown up in the industry and it helps us run the business when you have done the work.
"We can't compete moneywise with the big boys. People stay with you by the way they are treated. We do care about our employees. I do some of the deliveries myself so I can talk to our customers. I can also see the weather conditions in different parts of the country."
During a tour of the plant, it was obvious there was a connection between the Jones family and their employees. Jones stopped several times to talk to his employees, down to the details of who that employee got to this part of the country and what hobbies they had.
They are a family-owned business and they divide up the different parts of running the business. Allen does sales, Donnie develops equipment and David deals with the operations end of the business.
Customers and employees are the key parts of any successful business that lasts through the ups and downs that will come.
"Our customers come first and if they have an auger break we try to get them one as fast as we can even if we have to adjust our production schedule," David said. "We want to grow but not at the expense of quality. A rate of 95 percent right isn't good enough."
Belton has held onto it's Jones's over the years and there is a reason. "The people and their faith they have in this town is special," David said. "This area has great weather but it is the people of Belton's belief in doing the right thing and the passion they have for their community is what makes it special. People don't work here for recognition and they do what is best for the town."
Clyde is still in the office for several hours a day and keeps the boys in line if needed. Belltech Industries makes some of the best auger equipment in the country. They produce 250 types of augers that can be used to cut threw granite or grain.
"One Saturday Dad and I were in the Mohawk plant when I was very young," David said. "He was showing me things no one else sees. He said everybody looks but so few people see."