Graydon Udelhoven, Owner of Gray Machine Co., Top 10 Admired Leaders of 2023

Graydon Udelhoven
Gray Machine Co.

Graydon Udelhoven, Owner of Gray Machine Co.

“Don't wait to start something large”

With Graydon Udelhoven as the owner, Gray Machine Co. produces high-quality products for the oilfield, mining, and automotive industries. They use the latest technology to produce products that are reliable and accurate and take pride in satisfying their customers and transforming concepts into reality.

Graydon has no professional qualifications; he regrets not finishing high school. He always wanted to have his own business, and at the age of 22, while studying mechanical engineering and while his wife, Kate was studying graphic design at MSU Bozeman, they quit their school and established Gray Machine Co. in 2012. He believes that a college degree tells everyone that you know what you're doing, and without it, he has to prove to every client that he has the knowledge they're looking for. This can reduce his chances of getting certain clients because it may be a mandatory obligation for some.

The company has no hierarchy, with only the husband and wife working together. Nevertheless, Graydon handles everything from customer service to maintenance to design and programming to machine operation, while his wife handles all of the bookkeeping, invoicing, taxes, and so on. They are constantly striving to produce the finest quality parts while maintaining a high level of creed. In regard to this, Graydon is happy to share his thoughts on what it takes to be successful. “He thinks the key to success is taking an extreme amount of discipline to recognize opportunities and cling on to them at every level, to keep your word, and to stay determined until success is achieved.

Graydon is very passionate about the machining process, and he has always dreamed of creating beautiful parts from raw materials. The company has gone through many changes, initially concentrating on designing and building components for pickup trucks. When he decided to buy a CNC machine, he did a lot of research to find the best machine for the job. He thoroughly researched the game's biggest names, including Mazak, Okuma, Dmg Mori, Haas, Makino, and Hurco, and he decided to buy a Mazak VTC300C, which he received in April of 2013. He hit the ground running, trying to gain as much knowledge as he could while learning on the fly despite having little to no experience in the industry. He struggled a lot at first, but with each mistake, he learned something new. Soon after he bought the machine, he got a very important customer from his early days in the industry. Sanjel USA was a global leader in oil fracturing at the time, and they started working with Graydon right away. They grew quickly and soon had seven employees working with them, but in January of 2015, Sanjel filed for bankruptcy, after realizing that they were too dependent on one customer. This caused many of their employees to lose their jobs, but Graydon and his wife are still trying to survive. They have been able to diversify their business by working with other industries since stability has been their kryptonite from the beginning.

Gray Machine Co. exceeds expectations in the form of fabrication, machining, reverse engineering and design. Implementing Mazak and Mitsubishi CNC machinery, Faro Technologies CMM machines, Solidworks, HSM Works integrated CAM, Dezignworks integrated CAD and Miller welding equipment.

In 2016, Graydon decided to launch an aftermarket product line for diesel race trucks and purchased a Faro reverse engineering arm to precisely measure stock data for bolt holes, o-ring grooves, and overall standard vehicle features. He then created parts in Solidworks and had them machined locally in Billings, Montana.

According to Graydon, the most difficult obstacle to selling their services is just that: selling. They've spent countless hours researching and reaching out to potential new customers, but they've been turned down, forgotten, and under-promised so many times that their motivation has taken a toll. Persistence has always worked in his favor; he will never give up, and once he makes a decision, he will see it through, whether it succeeds or fails. He will pursue a new customer path until he receives an unequivocal "NO." He has spent a lot of money on niche marketing because he believes he is not cut out for the marketing side of business, and the return, in his opinion, was not worth the investment. He truly believes it is about who you know. Someone must give you a chance to prove yourself, and if they do, it becomes your turn to demonstrate you have the knowledge they require.

The size of their market is undetermined, but they are especially diverse now and could continue to pursue more opportunities. The company will use its understanding of the markets it serves to identify present and future threats as well as opportunities. It will also monitor manufacturing in the United States and abroad, keeping a close watch for any changes that may impact the company's operations.

They are constantly monitoring their quoting and real-time processes, as well as the 100 assemblies of multiple parts painted and assembled in house, to ensure that they are meeting their shop rates accurately and, if not, pinpointing the bottleneck in the situation or process and learning from it while implementing different solutions in the future.

The world is going through unprecedented times, and living at the edge of technology is of the utmost importance. Gray Machine Co. is a company that is focused on the latest in technology and how to use it to its full potential. They believe that this is an important time for technology and that anyone who wants to stay ahead of the curve must be constantly learning and upgrading their skills.

Today, Gray Machine Co. is in the best place it has ever been, and they are proud of their customers in the oilfield, mining, pavement marking, jewelry, semi-conductor, and automotive industries. In Graydon’s view, machining technology is constantly evolving to provide multiple methods for achieving the same goal, and the goal is always to produce quality parts in a timely manner!


Gray Machine Co.


Graydon Udelhoven
Gray Machine Co.


Our services include fabrication, welding, reverse engineering, design, and cnc machining. We craft parts for worldwide Industry leaders to ground level local customers in the market for unique parts. Dedication to expansion of technology and passion for the industries secures our creativity to implement technology as its being developed.

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