Columbus, Nebraska, June 16, 2023 —  Behlen Mfg. Co. (Behlen), a leading manufacturer of metal products, headquartered in Columbus, Nebraska, has announced a strategic restructuring plan that will involve the closure of its Omaha, Nebraska facility – Behlen Technology & Manufacturing (BTM). The decision comes in response to external factors that have necessitated a comprehensive evaluation of their product portfolio and manufacturing operations.

The restructuring plan entails the closure and disposition of assets for the BTM/Omaha facility. These assets will be relocated to Columbus, where the business will be consolidated with the Custom Fabrication business. Once that is accomplished the existing facility in Omaha will either be re-purposed or sold.

“Today’s announcement increases our focus on growing the Behlen Country, Behlen Building Systems, and Behlen International & Diversified Products business units,” said Tom Boal, CEO & President of Behlen Mfg. Co. “This will position us to remain competitive in fluctuating economic environments.”

Behlen is pleased to offer the opportunity for the Omaha Plant workforce to transfer to its Columbus location. Those who choose to pursue this option will be welcomed into the newly consolidated business unit. This consolidation will enable Behlen to enhance efficiencies, foster innovation, and maintain its high standard of customer service.

Behlen remains committed to its customers, suppliers, and Partners in Progress (employees). Behlen is confident that this strategic restructuring will enable them to strengthen their competitive position, improve operational effectiveness, and deliver enhanced value to its business partners.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Juli Thelen, Communications & Community Outreach at (402) 563-7268 or email juli.thelen@behlenmfg.com  

Date: October 27, 2022

Columbus Field House Project

Columbus, NE – Check out the photos and live feed of the Field House project that is currently underway in Columbus, NE! This Behlen building will be an indoor sports and fitness facility providing exercise and wellness opportunities for all ages. The field house will be approximately 200,000 square feet.

The video link will take you directly to the iBEAM construction photos and live feed of this project.

Field House Project


Press Release – Date: September 8, 2022

Nebraska Companies Collaborate to Provide Smart-Tank Technology for Stockmen

Two of Nebraska’s most notable agricultural brands team up to launch the first-of-its-kind technology to help livestock producers manage water with less stress.

Smart-Tank Guardian™

Grand Island, NE – RealmFive and Behlen Mfg. Co. have teamed up to bring Guardian™ by Behlen Country, a patent pending, and first-of-its-kind stock tank monitoring technology, to market. Premiering at Husker Harvest Days near Grand Island, NE, September 13-15, Guardian™ incorporates leading technology to help livestock producers manage one of their most limiting factors: Water.

“Water is such a significant resource for livestock producers, especially cattlemen. At RealmFive, we are automating agriculture by accelerating the industry’s transition to efficient labor-saving & digital supply solutions,” said RealmFive co-founder and CEO, Steve Tippery. “Water management takes time and labor.

Those are two things in short supply these days.” Ranchers grazing or housing livestock must provide quality water. Until now, that has involved frequent trips to visually inspect water sources that often exist in remote locations. “When labor is short, there is often limited time to check tanks. Add in the dozens of miles driven daily, costs add up quick, especially with high fuel prices. Our reliable and easy-to-use technology helps cut down on the miles and wasted time spent,” says Tippery.

The collaboration is an effort by two brands dedicated to agriculture and based in America’s heartland. RealmFive, founded in 2015 in Lincoln at UNL’s Innovation Campus, focuses on automation and digital solutions for agriculture. Behlen Mfg. Co. is one of Nebraska’s oldest and most successful innovators.

With nearly a century of creating solutions for better farming and ranching, Behlen is no stranger to solving hard problems in the ag industry. “Innovation is in our DNA,” said Jeff Malousek, Behlen Country District Manager and New Product Development Manager. “From our earliest days, Behlen has helped innovate the ag industry. Pairing RealmFive’s connected solutions with our mechanical products is exciting. There are not a lot of tech solutions for range producers available today, and we want to lead the way to improve that with easy-to-use, producer-focused solutions.”

The way Guardian™ works is simple: Livestock producers or caretakers purchase the solar-powered device, and the device is ready to deploy at unboxing. To install Guardian™, a stockman simply scans the QR code on the device, follows the easy-to-navigate app, and drops the sensing unit into the water tank. Upon installation, users have access to a cloud-based platform they can access on their phone from anywhere! While the list of features is evolving, Guardian™ initially has the ability to report and notify users on a variety of factors, including water level, water temperature, geographic location, device health, and device status. Alerts and notifications keep users apprised of problems and empower them to act before catastrophes occur.

RealmFive was founded in 2015 in Lincoln, NE. Since 2015 it has forged a new frontier utilizing leading agricultural technology for its customers. The “fifth-realm” of ag is a focus for the company, creating data-enabled solutions that solve industry problems at scale across the Livestock, Agronomy, and Ag Retail spaces.

Behlen Mfg. Co. was founded in 1936 in Columbus, NE, and has grown to become the leading manufacturer of livestock equipment in the United States. The Behlen group of companies have six production facilities located in Columbus, NE; Omaha, NE; McGregor, TX; Baker City, OR and two in Sarasota, FL.

For questions or more information, please visit the product page: r5ag.com/guardian or contact:
Austin Benes – RealmFive: austin.benes@realmfive.com
Jeff Malousek – Behlen Country: jeff.malousek@behlenmfg.com


Reprinted from Metal Architecture – Date: May 2022

Behlen Building Systems Featured in Metal Architecture Magazine


Behlen Building Systems

By Monica Garcia and Jared Barton / Reprinted from The Columbus Telegram – Date: June 18, 2022

Camp Pawnee to Build Gazebo

A new, rather unconventional gazebo is going up at Camp Pawnee.

As previously reported, in December 2021, the Platte County Board of Supervisors OK’d three improvement grant proposals recommended for approval by the Columbus Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) Advisory Committee. Part of the CVB’s Platte County Visitor Improvement Fund Grant Program, these projects received $133,000 in total.

Camp Pawnee, one of the three recipients, was awarded $10,000 for its project creating an entertainment pavilion. Said project is set to be completed within 18 months. The pavilion is unique in that it is made from the top of a grain silo.

(Pictured is the grain silo gazebo, or shelter, being constructed at Camp Pawnee. The gazebo will be usable for weddings, parties, family reunions and other outdoor events. Courtesy Photo)

Board member Jane Tooley said the next steps to complete are getting concrete poured and removing the metal band that holds the structure together.
“There’s a band on it now that is holding everything in place until we complete the concrete and then that will come off,” Tooley said. “We’re still talking about that.”

Camp Pawnee is open to the public from May through September. There are camping fees for those who utilize the camping spots, and are on a first come first serve basis. Currently there are eight spots with power and water and two with only power.

“Last year we figure about 3,500 people used the camp. Mostly locals but we have a lot of people that are traveling through and call and want to camp there,” Tooley said.

Tooley added that following the flood in 2019 that damaged the campground, the city helped them rebuild.

“The City of Columbus was very generous with us. We have gutted and rebuilt most of the buildings, redid the insides, we rewired it so everything is up to state code,” Tooley said.

The project also came with some help from Behlen Mfg. Co., who gave Camp Pawnee a deal on the materials.

“Behlen Mfg., they sold us the grain bin, all the materials except concrete, at a very reasonable price, at a very reduced price I should say,” Tooley said.
The camp was founded 103 years ago by the YMCA for their use, but eventually became a privately-run nonprofit, operated by an advisory board.
Katy McNeil, director of the CVB, said the camp is already beautiful, but that this is a change she’s glad for.

“It is wonderful to see the Camp Pawnee Advisory Board being forward thinking and looking for ways to improve their facilities and make their camping location a destination,” McNeil said.

Improvement grant applications are open between Sept. 1 through 30 each year. The funds for the grant program comes from a 2% occupancy tax on Platte County lodging businesses like hotels, Airbnbs and campgrounds. The funds are awarded for projects which improve, create or enhance visitor attractions, McNeil said.

By Samantha O’Conner / Reprinted from the Baker City Herald – Date: March 22, 2022

Hands-on learning: Touring Baker Technical Institute

A rainy day didn’t deter the Baker Technical Institute from welcoming state legislators, county commissioners, Blue Mountain Community College representatives, and company representatives from around the region for a tour on Monday morning, March 28th.

State Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, whose district includes Baker County, had visited BTI, which is based at the Baker High School campus, a couple years ago. Findley, along with BTI President Doug Dalton, worked with the Eastern Oregon Workforce Board to plan the tour showcasing what BTI has to offer students and adults. About 20 people participated in Monday’s event, including another legislator, Sen. Bill Hansell, a Republican from Athena, in Umatilla County.

The facility, which started about eight years ago in the Baker 5J School District, offers a heavy equipment operator school, a truck driving school, a health care program, training in agriculture, natural sciences and natural resources, and it recently partnered with Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative to start a utility worker training center.

Sandy Mitchell, program coordinator for BTI, explained that BTI is a technical college.

“We contract back with the Baker School District and provide all of the (grades) 7-12 CTE (career technical education) programs and then we also are licensed as a technical college in the state of Oregon through HECC, Higher Education Coordinating Commission,” Mitchell said.

She said BTI partners with industries across the Pacific Northwest to take BTI training programs to other communities.

“Right now, we’re in Eastern Idaho. In Idaho Falls, we have 20 students that we’re training in construction,” Mitchell said. “So, last week they actually poured concrete and they’re learning concrete masonry at a rest area. We do community projects and our instructors will go in and teach them.”

She said all 20 of the students learned skills in blueprint reading, construction math, how to find the volume, what you need for concrete, and how to order it.

Mitchell said BTI instructors also set up at remote location mobile classrooms with trailers that contain simulators that students use to learn how to operate heavy equipment such as backhoes and excavators.

“We feel really strongly about getting students as many certifications as possible,” Dalton said.

In healthcare, Dalton said BTI has mobile labs that allow instructors to work inside hospitals across the region, including in Pendleton, Heppner, Wallowa, John Day, Burns and Ontario.

“We’re now building labs to be able to teach medical classes from here into even smaller rural communities,” Dalton said.

Participants in Monday’s tour experienced the mobile heavy equipment simulators, including truck driving and logistics training. “These trailers go all over the Northwest,” Dalton said.

Patrick Raimondo, plant manager at Behlen Country’s livestock equipment factory in Baker City, attended the tour along with the plant’s human resources manager, Stacy DeLong, and Angi Boruch, quality and safety manager.

Delong and Boruch chose the truck driving simulator. Users settle into an authentic truck seat that moves just as a real truck would depending on terrain and road surface.

Patrick Raimondo using truck driving simulator
(Patrick Raimondo, manager of Behlen Country’s livestock equipment factory in Baker City, takes his turn operating a heavy equipment simulator at Baker Technical Institute on Monday, March 28, 2022.)

Three screens showed the view through the windshield, windows, and rear view mirrors.

An instructor chooses different driving scenarios for the student to deal with, including inclement weather, a deer leaping into the road, or a blown tire or other mechanical problem.“I’ve got to give it to the truck drivers, this is not easy,” Boruch said after her turn on the simulator.

“This is wild,” DeLong said.


Dalton led the tour from the simulators to the FFA greenhouse, where students were tending to flower baskets for the Mother’s Day sale. It will be held in person.
“90 percent of our ag program is directed at high school students, (the) FFA program here,” Dalton said. “We’ve got a full plant science pathway and a full animal science pathway, both. And then we offer ag business and ag technology and innovation classes.”

The BTI ag program was voted program of the year for Oregon and the region.

BTI also has an ESports team, the first in Oregon. The team participates in electronic sports tournaments.

In health care, BTI has courses focusing on rural medicine, including wilderness first aid.

“We train everybody from physicians that need continuing ed and we’re approved through the American Medical Association to give them rural life support skills,” Dalton said.

Dalton noted that BTI has a student base of about 2,000 students around the area and they are continuing to grow.

“We have a contract with the Baker School District, we do all their high school CTE (career technical education) and we ship middle school students up here to get started,” he said. “So, they are earning industry certifications here as high school students, which is awesome. We’ll train about 400 during the day here up until afternoon, and then at about 2:30 the adults start coming in.”

Dalton said the average starting salary for students who had completed classes was $56 per hour. He said BTI students learn to prepare resumes, go through mock interviews, and understand entrepreneurship and financial record-keeping.

“We celebrate work ethic and we talk about it every day,” he said.

BEHLEN PRESS RELEASE – February 1, 2022

Behlen Mfg. Co. Acquires Freeland Industries, Inc. and Freeland Trucking, Inc.

Columbus, Nebraska, February 1, 2022 —  Behlen Mfg. Co, headquartered in Columbus, Nebraska, has signed an agreement with Freeland Industries, Inc. and Freeland Trucking, Inc. (Freeland), located in Portage, Wisconsin, to acquire industrial tank and feeder assets to expand their product offering.

Lynn Van Epps, President of Freeland, and the current leadership team will continue to manage the daily operations of the Portage, WI manufacturing facility and trucking company crews. Jen Miller, President of Behlen Country, will lead the efforts to integrate Freeland and Behlen through the transition.

“Today’s announcement increases our product offering to the farm, ranch, and home markets. Behlen Country brings a strong distribution system that supports many different items being on one truck directly to our customers,” said Jen Miller, President Behlen Country. “This acquisition expands our offerings to meet the ever-growing demand and rapidly changing needs of our customers.”

Freeland Industries, Inc. is a family-owned company in the fourth generation of ownership and leadership. Freeland was established in 1909 and manufactures steel stock tanks, hog troughs, creep feeders, and structural foam plastic tanks. Freeland has been providing customers with high-quality products for over 110 years. The goal at Freeland Industries is to “provide the highest level of quality at a fair price, along with service and friendliness!” Bringing together the Freeland goal and approach to business with the Behlen vision statement, “Where Teamwork and Change Make Customers & Employees Better Off!” is a winning combination, continuing a culture of customer service and family values.

Freeland Trucking, Inc. was established in 1983 to provide an “Irregular Route Common Carrier” for transportation and delivery of Freeland products. Behlen Mfg. Co. has BMC Transportation with a common carrier license to provide delivery throughout the contiguous 48 states and Canadian provinces. Combining these two trucking fleets will continue to support the growth and keep pace with the expanding customer business, quality products, and timely deliveries.  

Behlen Mfg. Co., headquartered in Columbus, Nebraska, is a world-leading metal manufacturer with diverse business units, including Behlen Country (the nation’s leading manufacturer of livestock equipment), Behlen Building Systems, Trident Building Systems, Behlen International & Diversified Products (grain systems, strip joining presses, and custom fabrication), Behlen Technology & Manufacturing, and Hilton International Industries (precision winding machines). BMC Transportation has a fleet of over 100 owner-operators, which delivers Behlen products throughout the U.S. and Canada. www.behlenmfg.com. Additional U.S. locations include Baker City, Oregon; McGregor, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; and Sarasota, Florida.

Freeland is the 13th acquisition for Behlen since its return to local ownership in 1984.

BEHLEN PRESS RELEASE – November 30, 2021

Behlen Mfg. Co. Announces Tom Boal as President

Columbus, Nebraska, November 30, 2021 —  Behlen Mfg. Co. is proud to announce Tom Boal has accepted the role of President of Behlen Mfg. Co.

Phil Raimondo “I am honored and grateful to be given the opportunity to become the President of Behlen, a position I will not take for granted.   My goal in leading Behlen is to build on the foundation and strategic direction to continue our great relationships resulting in helping customers grow so we can grow.”

Tom began his career with Behlen in June of 2018, where he has served as the President of the Behlen Building Systems division. He was elected to the Behlen Board of Directors in August 2021. Tom has proven to be a strategic and innovative leader who energizes his team. He has demonstrated the ability to create a vision and drive change through forward-thinking solutions, streamlining processes, improving quality, and strengthening customer service.

In making this decision, Chairman Emeritus -TR Raimondo noted the following, “Tom is a key member of our Leadership Team and success, and we are confident in selecting him as President of Behlen.  Behlen Culture is built on the foundation put in place through our Global Values and Basic Beliefs, which is important to our Partners in Progress (employees). Tom supports maintaining this culture at Behlen.”

Tom earned his MBA from the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University graduating with honors as a Welch Scholar. He has a BS in Agricultural Engineering from Iowa State University. Tom is slated to become Chairman of the MBMA (Metal Building Manufacturers Association) Board for 2022; he is a member of ASABE (American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers); and NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers).

In addition, a team of TR Raimondo, and Lyle Burbach (Senior Vice President), now serve as Office of the CEO, while Tony Raimondo, Jr. (CEO of Hilton International Industries) serves as Chairman of the Board.

Reprinted from The Catalyst – By Dawson Brunswick (Columbus Chamber President) & KC Belitz (Previous Columbus Chamber President) – Date: December, 2021

Remembering Phil Raimondo

As we close out manufacturing month, I, along with the entire team at the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, want to acknowledge the impact and contributions that Phil Raimondo had, not only at Behlen Mfg. Co., but to the local and state manufacturing community, especially the Columbus area.

Phil Raimondo

While I only had a few months to get to know Phil, I quickly realized he was a pillar in the Columbus area. This was especially demonstrated at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, where he helped lead the manufacturing community throughout Nebraska on weekly Zoom calls by sharing best practices and the procedures they had put in place at Behlen to protect their Partner in Progress (employees). Behlen Mfg. Co. also stepped in to help employ those that other employers furloughed through the uncertainty of the pandemic.

It is also important to note that through Phil’s leadership, Behlen has been committed to supporting the community through various programs (too many to list all), such as Drive For Five, United Way, STEM Education, the Quality of Life initiative, Dream It. Do It., Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Go Red For Women, Habitat for Humanity, and most recently, the Cattleman’s Ball and Kramer Education Center.

In June 2021, Behlen celebrated their 85th anniversary, where KC Belitz was the emcee. KC, a longtime friend and colleague of Phil and previous chamber president, also shared the following comments:

“Phil was proud to be a manufacturer. By definition, that means he like making, creating, building things. That describes a lot of manufacturers. What made Phil unique was how he took that desire to “build” and applied it across his life.

Phil was truly interested in building people and building his community, just as much as he was interested in building grain bins, gates, and steel buildings. He invested in the Behlen Mfg. Partners in Progress personally and through his corporate decision-making. He was always so proud when he talked about how much Profit Sharing the employees earned during any given year!

He was equally invested in building his community. When it would’ve been easier to say “no,” Phil said “yes” to Columbus. He and his family invested in the Quality of Life Centers and the Columbus Area Future Fund campaign as lead donors. They invested in schools.  They supported almost every cause in our community.

Just as important as the financial investments, Phil invested his own time in community projects. He certainly could’ve sent others to be campaign chair for United Way or serve on the Chamber committee to build workforce recruitment incentives, but instead, he did it himself and spent hours of his time as a result. But by doing so, he built a stronger community in his adopted hometown.”

Phil led a successful company and took that responsibility very seriously. He was a proud manufacturer. But he also saw that company as a vehicle to build people and build community, and in that, he was a unique leader and a unique human being.”

Phil was a great person, a leader in every sense of the word. The Chamber team is grateful for the time we had with him and his commitment to the Columbus community.

Reprinted from The Husker Harvest Days Program Guide – By Curt Arens – Date: September, 2021

John Kearney – A Great Guy To Work With

You really can’t talk about live cattle handling demonstrations at Husker Harvest Days without mentioning John Kearney. He was a vital part of the cattle handling demos, including the first session that demonstrated only three livestock chutes.

John Kearney

For well over 30 years, John worked with Lexington veterinarian and entertainer, Dr. Joe Jeffrey, to educate HHD audiences. John, age 72 of Overton, passed away on July 13, 2020, at the CHI Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney.

Born on Jan. 16, 1948, John graduated from St. Ann’s High School in Lexington in 1966. He worked for area farmers until he entered the U.S. Army in 1968. After his service, John worked as a welder at Perkins Manufacturing, and later as a salesman for Big Valley and Behlen Mfg. Co., traveling all over the country to farm shows like HHD.

When HHD added live cattle handling and side-by-side chute demonstrations, John was one of the early organizers. “He was a great guy to work with,” says Jeffrey of his old friend. “He was fun to be around. John always had his talk ready to go during the chute presentations, and we would try to trip him up. But he never missed a beat.”

Jeffrey, along with chute operators and sales staff from different companies, who put on the cattle handling at HHD worked hard to build the demonstrations into something that was educational and entertaining. “We had a lot of fun teasing each other,” Jeffrey says. He notes how early organizers like John worked together to make the demonstrations as popular as they have become.

Jeffrey says that John was very good with people and knew how to talk with producers. When he wasn’t working, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, going out to eat and attending church. He was buried with military honors at St. Ann’s Cemetery in Lexington.

The team at Husker Harvest Days, as well as Nebraska Farmer magazine, extends our sincere condolences to the Kearney family, and gratitude for all of John’s hard work in building up HHD cattle handling over the years.


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