A bird's eye view

If expansion or changes in workflow are in your long-term plans, perhaps another view of your facility is in order. Kucera International Inc. offers that opportunity from its Willoughby office complex at Lost Nation Airport.

Robert Kucera founded Kucera & Associates in 1953 from a small room at Cuyahoga County Airport. By installing surplus military equipment into his plane, he began a company that provided high-tech aerial mapping.

After Kucera’s death in 1969, John Antalovich Sr. became president; in 1995, his son, John Antalovich Jr., stepped into the CEO role.

Today, five production offices and 110 employees generate $7 million in annual revenue, mapping more than 700 projects worldwide. And each year, more than $500,000 is spent to maintain the most up-to-date technology.

Mapping services are used in surveying, geographic data acquisition, industrial mining, forestland analysis, large-scale highway design, flood insurance studies, appraisals, planning and facility management. Often, large organizations expand in shortsighted phases. John Antalovich Jr. says that can lead to inefficiency and major logistical problems.

Kucera offers business leaders the opportunity to look at the big picture of facilities and surrounding land from a bird’s eye view where wasted space cannot hide.

Ford Motor Co. turned to Kucera a few years ago to document buildings and property at its Avon plant. Lubrizol in Lake County has used the service, as has Owens Corning at its plants across the country. But multisite corporations are not the only businesses finding themselves in need of aerial photography.

Kucera is working with the Cleveland Port Authority mapping the Lake Erie shoreline for planning and growth estimates. And the Cleveland Metroparks contracted mapping services for land development plans and flood studies at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Brookside Reservation. The parks and the zoo will use the photographs for strategic planning.

Kucera uses a variety of photographic and remote sensing technologies that provide details such as the location of manholes, drainage ditches, railroad tracks and utility poles. And infrared imagery is used by nurseries and agricultural companies to detect the health of vegetation and distinguish between small land and water masses.

Real estate companies are among Kucera’s fastest growing customer base, along with industrial, engineering and survey businesses, as the company provides site maps that may be required for building permits, says Antalovich.

Facility management has also provided growth for Kucera, and Antalovich says some of the jobs in process are on a large scale.

”They (company managers) need to know where everything is, which way to go, what are points of access and where fire hydrants are,” he says. ”We’re on the front end of that with the photography and the mapping work.”

The bottom line is that now more than ever, it’s important to think strategically about expansion. Today’s trim and tight mode will eventually give way to boom or bust and as strategists, you’d better be ready when increased sales have your company busting at the seams. How to reach: Kucera International Inc., (440) 975-4230 or www.kucera-gis.com

Deborah Garofalo ([email protected]) is associate editor of SBN Magazine.