Technician installing a diesel engine - SpecSys, Inc

How Specialty Systems Got Its Start

A native of Pierre, SD, Kevin obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of MN. He began his career taking his first engineering job with TRW Inc. in Los Angeles CA, working on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM). Wanting to raise his family in the rural Midwest, Kevin and Colleen relocated to Omaha NE for TRW Inc., working on the Air Force command center (where President Bush was taken in 9/11). Later leaving TRW, moving to Madison SD, Kevin engaged in his first mobile equipment design position for ROSCO Mfg, working with mobile asphalt equipment. Kevin is especially proud of bringing custom design control systems to the mobile equipment market, long before any were available from vendors.

After a few years with ROSCO Mfg, Kevin accepted a management position with Tyler Industries of Benson MN. During these years the expansion of GPS and electronic controls in agriculture was just getting started and Kevin was often a keynote speaker at international attended conferences on application of such technology. It was at Tyler that Kevin learned much of his fundamental business beliefs by way of the Tyler owner and a senior management team that mentored him, all while acquiring an executive MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

Knowing that Tyler Ind. was being positioned to be sold, and realizing this meant a Fortune 500 owner, Kevin liked the entrepreneur culture of private ownership and set out starting his own engineering business.

March 25, 1997, Kevin set up in the sun room of their Montevideo home. He began with nothing but a computer, a phone and the support of his wife, Colleen. Throughout the years there have been many ups and downs, two MN River floods, the dot com crash, great recession, 9/11 and COVID. Eventually the persistence and determination grew Specialty Systems (SpecSys) manufacturing and engineering to what we’ve all come to know.

SpecSys continues to provide opportunities for those who want to live in rural communities and still have a profession that offers them big city opportunities.

How Specialty Systems Got Its Start
Timeline 1997-2002

The Early Years

1997 - Kevin takes the leap in to entrepreneurship, hires the first employee & acquires his first office/retail space on Main Street in Montevideo, MN

1998 - Due to swift growth SpecSys makes the jump from engineering offices to also having formal manufacturing space.

1999 - SpecSys acquires Ingram Rollers, the first new company start-up. At the same time SpecSys receives its first international project!

2001 - Minnesota River flooded, rehoming geese to SpecSys’ front doors.

2002 - SpecSys manufacturing gets a new home in Granite Falls with the first large manufacturing facility with 110,000 sq. ft of space.

Expanding Our Capabilities

2003 - Ingram Rollers is sold off due to 9/11 economic downturn, SpecSys works to diversify knowledge and expertise across multiple mobile equipment industries

2005 - Kevin receives the Southwest Minnesota Entrepreneurial Business of the Year award at the Southwest Minnesota Workforce Summit

2006 - Acquisition of RVI Inc. with the doors opening officially January 2, 2007 to ring in the New Year!

Timeline 2003-2006
Timeline 2008-2013

Room To Grow

2008 - Added 83,000 sq ft of Manufacturing space in Benson, MN

2012 - Added 65,000 sq. ft of Manufacturing and Engineering space in New Ulm, MN & additional engineering offices in Cloquet, MN

2013 - SpecSys6 & Integral dx brands were launched, growing the RITALKA family!

From MN to Midwest

2015 - Expanded into South Dakota with 110,000 sq ft of Manufacturing space in Watertown

2016 - Expanded into Wisconsin with 210,000 sq. ft of Manufacturing space. Our largest facility to date.

2019 - Acquired offices in Plymouth, MN to expand white-collar positions

SpecSys, Inc. offers a full range of engineering and manufacturing services
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