Entrepreneurial cousins launch new business

Staff writer

It’s not their first trip around the block, but cousins Tom Oborny of rural Marion and Ethan Oborny of rural Durham have launched their first official business. ET Fencing and Fabrication LLC began operations in June.

“Ever since we could drive, we’ve been doing stuff together and always building something,” Ethan said.

“We know what each of us is good at and we both always are thinking four steps ahead,” Tom said.

Their work ethic is strong. Both men have younger brothers who, they said, aren’t as interested in working as they were at their age.

The cousins said they used to spend “hours and hours” making bullets from lead and creating various things out of metal.

They built a “swamp buggy” out of old combine parts and built a smoker.

Two summers ago, Clinton Kroupa and Morgan Wheeler helped them tear down a rock house near Beloit. They trucked the rock to their shop and sold it in December for a nice profit.

Last fall, they began thinking about the future.

“It was a conversational piece,” Tom said. “What are we going to do with ourselves after we get out of college? We don’t want to get 9 to 5 jobs.”

They felt the need to be close to home so they would be available to help their fathers in their farming operations at certain times of the year.

After concluding they could build fence and make things, they spent the next year preparing to launch their business. They developed a logo, attended auctions, looked for sales, and collected shop equipment and tools. With used lumber, they built an office in one corner of the shop.

“If we would have had to buy everything new, we couldn’t have done it,” Tom said.

They have completed several jobs already, including building a pasture fence and corral. They have two service trucks for providing equipment repair to farmers in the field.

Tom uses a 1946 Chevrolet 1½-ton truck that was owned by his late grandfather, George Oborny. The two men rebuilt it after finding it abandoned in a pasture. It is equipped with a portable welder.

Ethan uses a “cheap” used horse trailer to carry his portable welder, air compressor, torch, and other tools.

He said he would be available during the winter to rebuild planters and drills. The men also will make small metal items upon request.

Both men are recent graduates of Hutchinson Community College. Tom has an associate’s degree in welding, and Ethan has an associate’s degree in ag diesel mechanics.

Their headquarters is a machine shop at 1164 290th Rd., owned by Ethan’s father, Dan.

Contact numbers are (620) 381-0367 for Tom and (785) 366-6168 for Ethan.

Last modified Aug. 11, 2016