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Our Town Lexington: Orthman

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 10:45 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - We are learning about a manufacturing company that has its roots deep in central Nebraska, but is now a world-wide producer of equipment.

During a visit to the Orthman plant just north of Interstate 80, we learned about the history of the business from Justin Troudt, who is the vice president for sales and marketing. “It started in the early 60′s by Henry Orthman at a facility north of Lexington about two miles,” Troudt said. “Henry started it when he was around 50-years-old. He decided to re-engineer existing equipment to make it work better for farmers and for himself. Really, it turned into a business from there. Bill Orthman, his son, came back after a stint in the Army, and helped him take over the business. It’s been a great employer ever since here in the community of Lexington.”

The original technology that Henry Orthman developed was tool-bar technology. “Tool bar being, that’s what the row units mount to in three-point equipment,” Troudt said. “Our products today are row-crop cultivation equipment, strip till, we graduated into some earth-moving equipment, and we also service the wheat market with some fallow tillage-type equipment. And, we assemble certain custom-made planters for John Deere here at this facility.”

The new Orthman facility near the interstate was built in 2015. “We needed more room, obviously more manufacturing square-footage,” Troudt said. “Building a new facility gives you the option to take advantage of new manufacturing technologies. That is what this facility is all about. We have more efficient flow, and the latest technologies like lasers, and boring machines that are out there today.”

The Orthman brand is heavily involved in the Lexington community. “Orthman was a huge donor to the local YMCA,” Troudt said. “You have to be involved in the community if you are an employer like this.” Troudt says Orthman now sells products in 14 different countries around the world. “We have a smaller facility in South Africa,” Troudt said. “We assemble product there in the effort to service that marketplace. We always joke here at Orthman that we are not sure Henry knew what the vision was for his company. But, it would be pretty awesome to have him see what it has become today.”

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