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Funk Linko: On Track for Growth

 The recession shrank Chicago Heights metal fabricator Funk Linko Inc. down to only six employees in 2009. But now the 86-year-old company is manufacturing more than ever.

It's bringing in about $6 million in annual revenue, up from $1.9 million in 2009. And the company is adding to its product line, making not only its signature metal poles — found everywhere from O'Hare International Airport to BP gas stations — but also undercarriages for the locomotive industry.

Thanks to a thriving rail industry and a $3.5 million stimulus grant from the federal government that allowed Funk Linko to invest in new equipment, the company is churning out nine locomotive frames a month. It supplies the massive undercarriages — each weighing up to 60,000 pounds — to companies such as Union Pacific Railroad, CSX Corp., Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co., and ships them as far as Saudi Arabia and Tanzania.

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