TEA, S.D. (KELO) — Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work with robots? For the people at DeGeest Steel Works Co. in Tea that’s just another day.

But it’s not just the machines that keep the small business running.

The company has been around for three generations now; each one growing more advanced than the last. But, sometimes, to keep things working toward moving ahead, you can’t forget what’s worked in the past.

“We are a contract job shop. We make stuff for other large OEM’s; Our challenge, that we do, is we try to innovate ways to manufacture parts for our customers,” President of DeGeest Steel Works Co. Derek DeGeest said.

DeGeest builds all kinds of devices for all kinds of clients.

“You’re kind of blown away really… I was. I’m kind of familiar, generally, I read some of the literature and materials about what this company does, but to see it first hand and personal, all the automation, the robotics, the amazing amount of technology,” South Dakota Representative Senator John Thune said.

The company’s president Derek DeGeest was recognized as 2019’s Small Business Person of the Year in South Dakota. Senator John Thune paid them a visit to congratulate him. He says to see a small company grow this advanced is a sight to behold.

“It’s exciting always to see good things happening with South Dakota businesses and see family businesses that have really. not only survived for a really long time but prospered continued to grow and expand and do great things,” Thune said.

The team has worked together and spent years bringing new and innovative technologies to the forefront.

“We spent the last two years designing and planning for our addition and we’re very excited to be able to launch our new paint line system,” DeGeest said.

What’s really kept this place running isn’t the automated machines, but the beating hearts behind them.

“Our employees are always something that our family has valued. Through our three generations, that’s the one thing that we take great pride in and we’re only as good as the people that we have that work here,” DeGeest said.

“To me, that was the thing that stood out more than anything else, is just that if you have a small business that is committed to innovation, committed to finding a better way to do things you’re going to see some really cool things happen,” Thune said.

“The key to our success is the empowerment of our people and then believing in our team and letting them help us continue to grow,” DeGeest said.

If you would like to learn more about DeGeest Steel Works you can visit their website.