Andy Rosenband expected professional soccer to be his life’s passion. Instead, it’s manufacturing.The Chicago Heights native spent seven years as a forward in Major League Soccer, including two years at the Chicago Fire. Then he rebuilt his family’s business: From two employees and $3 million in revenue in 2009, Rosenband has grown Morgan Li to 200 employees and $47.6 million in revenue.
Manufacturing had always been his father’s game. Phillip Rosenband ran metal fabricator Morgan Marshall Industries until 2003, when he sold the business to a company that shut down operations. But, crucially, the Rosenband family still owned the Chicago Heights factory. In 2008, they received a phone call from an old customer: Walmart. The company wanted to refurbish some in-store fixtures. Was it possible?
At 29, Andy Rosenband’s soccer career was winding down. He decided to tackle the new challenge. Though he had his family expertise and ties to old customers to tap, at the start, it was still just him and one other employee in the otherwise empty facility.
“I was fortunate enough to have the start, but I’ve put in countless hours of blood, sweat and tears to build this company into what it is now,” he says.
Since then, he’s moved beyond refurbishment and back into manufacturing in-store fixtures. Customers include Claire’s, Adidas, Old Navy and the Ritz Carlton. The company also is working with marijuana business Green Thumb Industries. Dispensaries are “an area that’s going to see huge growth, and we’re in at the ground level already.”
Yoder Custom Design in Valparaiso contracts to do work for the Chicago Heights company. Though Rosenband is diligent and direct, says owner Jon Yoder, that’s not what makes him impressive.
“I don’t know how he can be happy so many days in a row,” he says. “It’s delightful to deal with.”
Photo by John Boehm