HANNAH SCHRODT Columbus Telegram
COLUMBUS – A local manufacturing leader, Phil Raimondo, Chairman and CEO of Behlen Mfg. Co., died Sunday.
“Phil was a great guy, a great businessman,” said Senator Mike Moser of Columbus. “The Raimondo family have been big supporters of the Columbus community and believers in Nebraska and believers in manufacturing in the United States.”
Behlen Mfg. Co. was founded in 1936 by Walter D. Behlen. Wickes Corp. took over the company and Phil Raimondo’s father, TR Raimondo, was the managing director.
TR Raimondo – along with Dick Casey, Bob Theilen and Steve McGill – bought the Columbus-based company in 1984 to return it to local ownership. They would have invested $ 30 million and lost $ 7 million in the first year. In June, Behlen was valued at $ 300 million.
“They were so important to the Columbus area because they saved Behlen from the brink of extinction,” Moser said. “They did a great job of making him stronger than he’s ever been before.”
Last year, the company celebrated 36 years of local ownership. Behlen also has locations in Omaha; Boise, Idaho; Baker City, Oregon; McGregor, Texas; and Sarasota, Florida, according to its website.
At a celebration in June to mark his 85th birthday, Phil Raimondo attributed Behlen’s success to its more than 1,200 employees.