Dakota Creek Industries' F/V Blue North Wins Best Ship Award
NOVEMBER 9, 2016—Marine Log has announced the winners of its annual Best Ships Awards. The award winners are annually profiled in Marine Log’s December issue, and are selected based on their innovative features and design and incorporation of breakthrough technologies. The dozen vessels selected for this year are no exception, showcasing everything from hybrid technologies to alternative fuels to outrageous water slides.
This year’s winners included Blue North, freezer longliner, built by Dakota Creek Industries. The F/V Blue North is an innovative long-liner fishing boat featuring green technology that will sharply cut discards and fuel use.
About F/V Blue North - Alaskan Cod Fishery Vessel
This longliner is specifically developed for the Alaskan cod fishery and is designed by Skipsteknisk AS in Norway. This new ST 155L design has a moon pool in the center line for one fish to be caught at a time through the internal haul station, which is a first in the United States. The vessel will efficiently utilize proteins onboard- the fish wastage that is commonly ground up and discharged overboard. The internal haul station allows for the release of non-target species, as well as the crew to accomplish their work inside the boat without being exposed to rough seas or freezing temperatures and with no more risk of falling overboard during hauling.
A visit to Lautenbach Industries quickly reveals why this company has grown exponentially over the years. The team at Lautenbach Industries is committed to great customer service, embraces new innovations in recycling, and invests deeply in their employees. EDASC learned more about this diversifying, growing business on a recent site tour and interview with the company's leadership.
Can you tell us about Lautenbach Industries?
Lautenbach Industries is a family-owned business that has been innovating recycling options in the community for over 25 years. Our main facility is located in Mount Vernon where we house a state of the art sort line, recycling operations, and our fleet of equipment which includes 20 trucks, 15 trailers, and over 400 roll off boxes in addition to excavators and front-end loaders. While we have grown and expanded our service offering into transportation services and the management of the San Juan Transfer Station, our focus has always been on providing environmentally sustainable waste management options with outstanding customer service.
How many employees work here in Skagit County?
We currently have approximately 50 employees at our Mount Vernon facility.
Who are your primary customers/clients?
We are a recycling company with a variety of service types which attracts a varied customer base. Our Construction and Demolition (C&D) Recycling Division serves clients from the homeowner working on a remodel to contractors building a new apartment complex and everything in between. Due to a recent reduction in recycling capabilities in the region, we are the only facility that is recycling wood, drywall, shingles, and other C&D materials so our primary customer base is expanding and changing. That’s exciting as we are always looking for our edge – opportunities to innovate and expand our service offerings.
Our Demolition Division offers full service estimating, demo, loading, hauling, and recycling. As Lautenbach is first and foremost a recycling company, we bring a unique perspective to the way we look at demolition projects. Our demo customers include homeowners, property managers, and commercial enterprises looking for sustainable solutions along with start to finish project support.
In addition to our C&D services, we partner with local digesters to provide a recycling option to transform organic materials into renewable energy in the form of biogas. Our primary customers for our Organics Division include farms, restaurants, and food processors.
Can you share a recent business success?
The Lautenbach Recycling facility is the only company north of California that is third party certified by the Recycling Certification Institute and the only facility in Washington State where contractors receive a LEED pilot credit simply for hauling to the facility. The requirements for this certification are rigorous and we are proud to have been able to achieve this milestone. Our recycling rate is impressive in the industry so it’s important for our customers to know that there are facts with publicly available evaluation reports and independent verification to back those numbers up.
Where do you see business growth opportunities, both in Skagit County and more broadly?
In Skagit County, we see an opportunity for growth in private self-haul customers as more people realize we welcome the public to drop off as well as taking in larger projects. We would like to see more local home and small business owners stopping by our scale prior to visiting the transfer station, which is conveniently located right next store. Our staff can help determine if we can accept their materials and potentially save them money while diverting recyclable waste from the landfill and doing something good for the environment. We are working hard to do a better job educating our customers as to what we can take.
What do you see as your company’s competitive advantage that sets it apart in your industry?
There is nobody else that truly does what we do in this area. There is no other local facility that is recycling C&D, so if it isn’t coming to Lautenbach it is going to landfill. For both contractors and clients with a focus on sustainability and recycling, that simply is not an acceptable option. We ensure that a viable, environmentally responsible, and economically reasonable option remains available here. We stay viable because of how we manage recyclables at our facility. Between site management and processes and the incredible sorting teams we have both on the ground and on a traditional sort line, we are able to recover an impressive percentage of material. Due to these factors, customers have the option to sort their C&D waste at their site or put it all into one container we call a ‘mixed box’. Being able to put everything together is an incredible advantage for homeowners and contractors that allows them to get the job done quicker with fewer boxes on site. When we receive the container, our sort line staff goes through and separates out the materials into appropriate categories. For a comparative or lesser amount of what it would cost to go to landfill, we can take a mixed box and ensure it is reviewed, sorted, and managed in an environmentally responsible manner. It’s a win for our customers and the environment!
Do you have an upcoming project or plan that you’d like to share with EDASC Investor members?
We are always looking for new and innovative ways to expand recycling in the community. As part of our education and outreach agenda, we will be scheduling community tours and events at our facility in the upcoming months and throughout the year. To stay up to date, follow Lautenbach Industries on Facebook or visit www.lautenbachrecycling.com.
The PACCAR Technical Center recently commissioned a climatic chassis dynamometer. This state of the art facility allows testing of trucks at any speed, on any grade over the full range of operational temperatures and altitudes, on any day of the year.
Skagit Farmers Supply is a home-grown success story of a cooperative that has sustained our region’s strong agricultural heritage for generations. A resource for commercial growers and rural living enthusiasts, Skagit Farmers Supply provides the goods and services to grow productively in the Pacific Northwest. EDASC recently met with General Manager Tom Boland to learn more about the history and future of this 83-year old cooperative.
Tell us about Skagit Farmers Supply:
Skagit Farmers Supply is a cooperative, which means our members own our company. We have farmer producer members who farm in Skagit, Snohomish, Island and Whatcom Counties and other patrons who purchase at our Country Stores or buy fuel and propane from our energy department. All patrons share in the earnings of the co-op, while our farmer members can also be involved in co-op governance. We support local agriculture with all four of our business units. We have two agronomy plants in Skagit County located in Burlington and Conway. Our energy department delivers fuel and propane and we are a market leader in propane delivery. We operate 13 Country Store branded retail sites in Washington, Idaho and Montana. Our fourth business unit is a wholesale distribution and milling department operated out of Spokane. We also deliver many of the items we sell in our stores to independent dealers and other cooperatives in a seven-state region.
How many employees work here in Skagit County?
We employ 150 out of our 350 employees in Skagit County.
Who are your primary customers?
Each of our business units has a different core customer. For our agronomy department, we have large-scale farmers fully involved in production agriculture, but we also have an increasing number of rural living enthusiasts that we reach through our agronomy department and our stores. We can offer help in everything from raising animals, installing fences and growing crops. It really is part of the sustainable life that many people are attracted to. Most of our bagged fertilizer is sold in the Hawaii market, and we also sell to Alaska and through our retail and wholesale departments.
Our energy department offers a high-level of service to the many homeowners that heat with propane heating oil, as well as a core group of farmers in Skagit Valley. In our retail stores, we have a large selection of pet food and supplies and our busiest days of the year revolve around our “Pet-a-Palooza”, an event held at each of our Country Stores highlighting our products for furry four-legged family members. Other core categories are ranch & farm, clothing, hardware and lawn & garden. Our AFCO wholesale distribution and milling department sells to stores much of what we sell to consumers. We also bag LMF premium horse feed and our proprietary Aslin Finch feed.
Share a recent success story:
We really believe in employee engagement and training so we can better serve our customers’ needs. Recently we had five employees attend Disney’s customer service training in California and we also sent two agronomists and our credit manager to the Kansas State Cooperative Center training “Building Trusted Relationships.”
We also opened a store in Oroville, Washington recently. With our retail support group and distribution, we can open stores in key markets outside of our traditional geography and sell our own manufactured fertilizers and feed.
Where do you see growth opportunities, both in Skagit County and more broadly?
We blend organic fertilizer in Conway and the growth of organic and sustainable crops has grown dramatically. We’re at the forefront of that with our organic blending, with the many progressive actions our farmers are taking, and with our staff that is trained in organic growing solutions. Demand has caused us to increase our capacity in organics a few times. With our new agronomy center being built in Burlington, it will allow us to greatly expand our organic capabilities yet again at our agronomy center in Conway.
We recently expanded our relationship with NACHURS® liquid fertilizers and we’re now distributing that proven product line in greater Pacific Northwest Region. We see an opportunity to grow that as it works quite well with many specialty crops grown in the Pacific Northwest.
What do you see as your businesses’ competitive advantage that sets it apart in your industry?
Our service and our infrastructure are in place. With rail sites and up-to-date technology and equipment, our skilled staff has the tools they need to deliver a high level of service. Our board of directors thinks generationally and makes decisions in consideration of what the next generation will need to be successful. Another advantage we have in being a cooperative is that we have a strong focus on our communities. Our board of directors and our employees live and work in local communities and supporting local communities is a large part of our cooperative values.
Do you have an upcoming project or plan that you’d like to share with EDASC Investors?
We have a state-of-the-art agronomy plant under construction in Burlington. The plant will have an automated bagging system, more storage of crop nutrients and faster blending capabilities to support our growers during the critical spring planting season. Construction is scheduled for completion in summer 2017 and we’re excited to have this new plant to support the next generation of growers in the Skagit Valley.
Skagit Farmers Supply’s Conway Agronomy Center & the new Burlington Agronomy Center under construction.
Visit with Justin Rawls at Anacortes-based T BAILEY, INC., and you will quickly be impressed by the scope of work done by this heavy-civil/industrial general contractor. Justin is an enthusiastic representative of this company, founded in 1991 by Gene Tanaka and named after Gene's eldest daughter, Bailey.
EDASC recently met with Justin to learn more about this custom fabricator of heavy structural and plate products.
Why is T BAILEY, INC. located in Skagit County?
The business located here in 1996 because the quality of life here is high and the location affords us the opportunity to directly ship and receive oversized loads via barge, rail, or truck.
Who are your primary customers?
T BAILEY, INC. performs construction work for oil refineries and co-generation plants, federal government contracting agencies, public works agencies, state Departments of Transportation, private developers, and drilling/boring contractors on projects in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and Idaho. Many of T BAILEY’s fabricated products ship throughout the Western US and Canada.
How many employees work at T BAILEY, INC.?
We generally employee between 75-100 people depending on the number of projects going on. At any given time, we have between 15-20 projects in various stages. We often hire welders for our shop facility coming out of Skagit Valley College and Everett Community College and offer ongoing training in house.
What type of projects do you work on?
Our fabrication capabilities include atmospheric tanks, pressure vessels, water/oil storage tanks, large diameter pipe/casings, penstock, exhaust stacks, and plate and heavy structural products. We also operate a sandblasting and painting facility for steel surface preparation and application of prime and finish paint systems. We recently added a machine shop (Fidalgo Machine) to our company at the main Anacortes facility.
Do you have a recent project success you would like to share?
One project people in Anacortes may recall was a fabrication job we completed at our facility and the MJB property. Four pile cap frames and interconnecting pipe sections for replacement of the Avon Wharf facility at Tesoro’s Martinez, CA refinery. Learn more about the project.
What would you like the EDASC community to know about your business?
We often partner with other contractors and enjoy continued relationships with area companies and suppliers. We always look for opportunities to create new partnerships and welcome inquiries about our work.
Burlington-based TRICO Companies has been selected to build the new Skagit Valley Family YMCA. Construction is slated to begin in fall 2017 with completion in the spring of 2019. Learn more about the new Skagit Valley Family YMCA at www.letsbuildit2019.org.
Team Corporation's Burlington facility just completed customer acceptance testing on a multi-axis transportation simulation system for their system company Lansmont. Lansmont Atlantic has teamed up with Lansmont, the leaders in field-to-lab testing and pioneers of TruMotion Vibration Systems, to design and build the first-ever Multi-Axis Transportation Simulator for the packaging industry.
Lansmont provides state-of-the-art technology to the world’s leading companies, government laboratories and educational institutions including testing and controlling equipment for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and the world’s most powerful spacecraft shaker system for the Orion Service Module.
Viva Farms expands Beginning Farmer Development Program
September 2016: In order to help educate, mentor, and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced its newest awards for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Viva Farms and its project partners received a $599,999 grant for their project, “Beginning Farmer Development Program (BFDP) Skagit County.”
Viva Farms supports aspiring farmers by providing bilingual training in sustainable organic farming, and access to land, infrastructure, equipment, marketing and capital. They deliver training including: on-farm business incubation, an on-site Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAgE) Student Farm, an accredited land based training program in partnership with Skagit Valley College (SVC), WSU Skagit County Extension (WSU) and through a series of regional workshops. In addition to SVC and WSU, other partners in the BFDP include the Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC), Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF), and Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC), the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), Future Farmers of America (FFA), and the Skagit Land Trust.
Through July 2019, the grant will fund a broad spectrum of activities related to training aspiring farmers, helping them succeed as both farmers and business people. Programs include Viva Farm’s bilingual land-based training and SVC’s SAgE curriculum, in partnership with the SAgE Collaborative, a regional network of community colleges. Additional programs include NABC’s poultry farmer training; business and financial training from EDASC; and a farmland mapping project with SPF, aimed at increasing knowledge and awareness of available farmland for lease or sale in Skagit County. WSU Skagit County Extension provides translation and interpretation services for many of these programs as needed. Additionally, a Farmer-to-Farmer mentor program will be developed to help connect new and experienced farmers, and a Farm-to-School program bringing local organic food to Skagit County school children.