By Maria Surma Manka | Photography John Linn
Not many manufacturing entrepreneurs start their careers in the fashion industry, but that’s the journey of Diana Mini, president of Shark Industries. When her career in the Los Angeles fashion design industry stalled, she took the opportunity to start a business, Brake Drum Tool Company, with her father, manufacturing products for the automotive aftermarket industry. With no prior knowledge of the sector, she learned it from the ground up and eventually founded her own company, Shark Industries.
“We make 40 percent of everything we sell right here,” said Mini of her company’s facility in Rockford.
Shark Industries’ 50,000 square-foot building was made possible in part through financial assistance from the Initiative Foundation, the city of Rockford and others. “It was simple to move here, and it allowed us to own the building,” said Mini. “It also helped us create jobs.”
We asked Mini for the inside scoop on what keeps Shark Industries grinding along in its market.