Milford native Austin
Stauffer didn’t go very far to find his post-secondary education at Southeast
Community College in Milford. He graduated with a degree in Manufacturing
Engineering in 2007.
“Design and manufacturing have always
been a subject of interest for me and the fact that SCC was in my own backyard
made it an easy decision,” he said.
After interning at Kawasaki in
Lincoln, Stauffer worked at Pacific Engineering, Inc., a composite fabrication
company that worked on design and development for the U.S. military.
“One of my favorite projects was
being part of a team that designed and manufactured a torpedo launcher as part
of the Navy’s Surface Ship Torpedo Defense System that we installed on the
U.S.S. George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier.”
When he was between jobs, Austin and
his friend Ryan Stauffer (no relation) came up with a revolutionary idea. The
duo co-founded Levrack, storage solutions for garages, farm shops, you name it.
It came from a need for storage in their own farm shop. He thought existing
ones were too expensive, inflexible or just didn’t look very good. So, in 2015
they came up with their own version.
“Levrack is a high-density shelving
system designed around pallet racking,” he explained. “It’s space saving
capabilities and modularity make it the ultimate tool for any shop, garage or
workspace that has a storage need. Later
that year we won the People’s Choice First place in the National Farm Bureau
Entrepreneurs competition for our design.”
The following year they took the
product to market, and it has grown quite a bit with the help of social media. Their
Instagram page was discovered by the co-host of a show called “Garage Rehab” on
the Discovery Channel, as well as “Fast N’ Loud” which opened many doors for
“It really helped establish our brand
within the automotive world and beyond,” Stauffer said. “Levrack is now six years
old and services a variety of markets from residential garages to hospitals and
Austin and his team even got
the attention of auto enthusiast, Jay Leno. Through a mutual connection in Los
Angeles, they ended up sending two Levrack units to Jay Leno’s Garage. Leno
even called up the support
line himself to ask a question about installation.
“Later that year we were in
L.A. dropping in on a few of our clients and we were invited to go check out
Leno’s Garage,” Austin explained. “He was super gracious with his time and took
us on a two-hour tour of his collection, telling stories and of course, jokes,
along the way.”
Stauffer said the most
rewarding part of this business is all of the people he has met, and the places
they travel to throughout the United States and Canada.
“We recently shipped Levrack
kits to SpaceX and NASA, so each day is a new adventure,” he said. “You never
know what kind of email is going to land in your inbox.”
As for the future, he hopes
to continue to grow the brand awareness of the Seward company, and keep
designing new products and tools to help service new and existing customers.
When he’s not running the Levrack business, he enjoys flying as he just got his