What do oil, bacteria and large black horses have in common? Wichita businessman Scott Schwindaman.
Schwindaman is owner and CEO of Lubrication Engineers and a vice president and investor in Alpha BioSystems, which makes bacteria-based soil fertility enhancers. He and his family have also raised, bred and trained black Clydesdales on 160 acres south of Goddard for the last 19 years.
Schwindaman, 54, is married to Janet and they have three grown children.
Q. What is Lubrication Engineers?
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A. We are a manufacturer of heavy industrial lubricants. This is a company that sells worldwide through independent dealers. We sell lubricants, and the training on how to use them. … These are very engineered, very technical lubricants. We do all of the formulation work. It’s not the kind of things you buy off the shelf.
Q. How is Alpha BioSystems, which makes bacterial soil fertility enhancers, doing?
A. It still continues to grow. It is such a new marketplace in farming that it still has to gain some traction, but it’s up and running. … The growth rate is 70 percent a year. It’s now a $3 million business.
Q. You traveled to Des Moines and Austin with city leaders in the last two years. What did you learn there that can be applied to Wichita?
A. When I go to other cities I look at what they are doing to promote entrepreneurism, how do they keep their businesses, and how they retain their talent. Both of those cities have business incubators and accelerators, and they are growing and scaling companies up to where they are larger and creating jobs. In Wichita we really don’t have that.
Q. What did the defeat of the sales tax last week say about Wichita?
A. I was on the yes side of the vote and what it tells me is that we still have divisions between two powerful factions and, for the good of the city, they have to come together and formulate a plan that both sides can agree on. The conversation is already starting, but we better get a plan in place because every day we don’t is another day we fall behind.
Q. You have one of the premier Clydesdale horse breeding and training operations in the country. Is it profitable?
A. You don’t make money on a horse operation.