The History of Cubic Designs
Posted on 12/14/2016 by Cubic Designs
Cubic Designs was founded in 1986 by Don Otte and Mike Giffhorn. Prior to forming Cubic Designs, Don was an engineer at Rite Hite. When Rite Hite decided to leave the mezzanine business, Don saw an opportunity to start his own business. Don decided to start Cubic Designs with a small group of engineers. They soon realized that they needed someone to run the sales side of the business and asked Mike Giffhorn to join the team. Mike, a perennial entrepreneur, jumped at this opportunity since he always had interest in owning his own business. Within a year of starting they landed a large project on the east coast which was the breakthrough they needed to get Cubic Design off the ground.
From 1986 to 2000 Cubic Designs outsourced the manufacturing of their mezzanines to a company in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. But by 2000, the company had grown enough to merit opening their own manufacturing facility. Before they found a location, they found the person they wanted to run the manufacturing plant; Tom Bella. Tom was extremely experienced and knowledgeable. Mike and Don knew they had found “the one” to run their plant, now all they needed was a facility. They purchased land and built a facility in Waupaca, WI not far from where Tom and his family lived and this became the home of Cubic Designs’ manufacturing operation. The plant has grown substantially since it was opened, undergoing 4 separate renovations. In 2000 the plant was 25,000 square feet and by 2014 Cubic Designs had more than quadrupled their space to 107,000 square feet. In 2014 Tom Bella decided to retire, and the plant is now being directed by his son, John Bella.
Over the years, several buildings in the greater Milwaukee area have been home to Cubic Designs’ corporate offices. Cubic Designs was originally located on the North West side of Milwaukee but they quickly outgrew that facility and decided to move out to New Berlin where they built a new space on Victor Road. In 2010, when space started to get tight at the Victor Road location (despite the installation of a mezzanine to optimize the vertical space) Cubic Designs acquired and renovated a facility on South Westridge Drive in New Berlin. The team moved into this building in 2011 and another expansion is currently underway and set to be completed by early 2017.
In 2000 Accurate Installation was founded by Jim Giffhorn. Accurate Installations specializes in all types of installations; from mezzanines to racking and beyond. The Accurate team has traveled across all 50 states, and internationally, installing projects. Over the years Accurate has developed a system for managing each project, from the planning stage to finishing touches, which allows them to efficiently and accurately install large material handling projects while minimizing disruption in the facility. Accurate Installations became a trusted partner of Cubic Designs, and currently installs over 25% of Cubic Designs’ projects.
By 2005, Cubic Designs’ mezzanine business was well established and they decided to venture into the safety products arena. That year they launched a safety products line. They now offer a full line of standard and custom safety products ranging from bollards and aisle guards to gates and stairs.
As Cubic Designs continued to grow, the group of owners decided that it would be worthwhile to look into selling the company, but they had high expectations for potential parent companies; they wanted a partner who would help facilitate growth, allow them to run their company as they had in the past and shared the same core values. Along came MiTek, a Berkshire Hathaway company, who ticked all the boxes. In October of 2013, Cubic Designs was acquired by MiTek. Since the acquisition, Cubic Designs has continued to flourish.