History of Ajax Metal Forming Solutions
The company now known as Ajax Metal Forming Solutions was founded in 1945 by Swedish immigrant and inventor Erick Julius Ajax. Erick was a skilled machinist with an entrepreneurial spirit who received several U.S. patents for his product ideas.
Following his retirement, Erick’s two sons, Bud and Warren, operated the company as E.J. Ajax & Sons through several stages of growth until 1982, when the company was purchased by Erick’s youngest son, Sheldon, and his wife, Barbara.
Working out of a 6,000 square foot plant in south Fridley, Minnesota, Sheldon and Barbara continued to grow the company. Sheldon and Barbera’s sons Erick and Tom joined the firm in the early ’80s and learned the business, advancing through various positions in production, purchasing, human resources, and customer account management.
The firm relocated to its current location in 1988, leasing 12,000 square feet of manufacturing space containing two production bays. Business continued to flourish throughout the 90s, requiring expansion into a third bay and bringing production space to 18,000 square feet.
Ajax has invested heavily in machinery and people over the years, and is now a full-service, advanced manufacturing company. This archive photo shows Sheldon Ajax atop a truckload of Bliss stamping presses purchased by the company to increase stamping capabilities, circa 1960.
Sheldon and Barbera retired in 1997 and sold the business to Tom and Erick. Together, these two grandsons of the founder embarked on a growth plan that included the acquisition of the building and subsequent occupation of the entire 60,000 square foot space.
What followed was a second location next door that serves as the main office, larger and more advanced machinery, and workforce development initiatives that paved the way for year-upon-year of revenue and profit growth.
Erick Ajax retired in 2017 and Tom Ajax in 2018, having together built an impressive legacy of business acumen, bold innovation, and outstanding corporate citizenship.
In the fall of 2017, Heartland Equity Partners of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, acquired a majority ownership position in E.J. Ajax and Sons, Inc. and changed the name of the company to Ajax Metal Forming Solutions. Heartland is an investment fund focused on growth, good stewardship, and honoring the legacy of previous owners by preserving their values and creating good jobs in Midwestern communities.
Erick and Tom Ajax continue as equity owners and have joined the board of directors. Don Wellman, vice president of sales and marketing, also expanded his ownership position and provides leadership for the growing customer relationship team at Ajax. All other production and office staff remain with the company.
In May of 2021, announced the opening of a new manufacturing location in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. The facility will be the company’s second location and will serve new and existing customers along the Atlantic Coast.
“We did our homework, and the Raleigh/Durham area checks all the boxes,” said Ajax Vice President of Sales Don Wellman. “It’s obvious that the people of the Carolinas take great pride in their work ethic.”
This new Ajax facility is dedicated to sheet metal fabrication and related metal forming services.
The Ajax Pledge
At Ajax, we’re committed to maintaining our reputation as Minnesota’s premier supplier of metal fabrication and stamping services. We pledge to meet or exceed expectations by:
Being an ethically and socially responsible business.
Working safely without a single lost-time injury.
Maintaining and developing customer partnerships that enhance mutual success.
Delivering every part on time and exactly to print.
Providing our colleagues with opportunities for personal growth and achievement.
Being the most well trained, well educated and diverse company in the metal forming industry.
Fairly compensating every one of our colleagues based on job skills, effort, and teamwork.
Embracing and conforming to all environmental and governmental regulations.