With convenient access to major freeways, our area ports are the perfect place for many businesses to set up shop, particularly for businesses with clients that rely heavily on the freeway system.
For Rainier Truck Trailer Tank Repair LLC, the move from Rainier, Oregon to the Port of Kalama was a strategic one that has paid off in a major way.
Celebrating its one year anniversary at the port this month, Rainier has experienced 75 percent growth over last year, according to owner Mark Marander. Not only did the company increase their square footage to 16,240 when they relocated, they’re expanding again into an additional 4,424 square feet at the end of the month.
For the last three years, Rainier has been a regional provider of WSDOT and USDOT certified inspection services, but with the majority of their customers being tankers, Marander worked hard toward another certification. At the first of the year, Rainier earned the R-stamp welding certification, enabling them to become a full-service shop with the capability to repair boilers and pressurized vehicles as well as conduct mandated inspections.
Rainier’s clients predominantly carry raw materials from chemical plants to mills. From there, the mills turn that product into caustic acids, bleach, hydrogen peroxide and the like. Having the skill and safety measures in place to work on this equipment is crucial. The added features that the port offers, such as gated areas and cameras, deliver peace of mind to Rainier’s customers, said Marander.
Currently experiencing exceptional growth, one of the greatest challenges facing Rainier Truck Trailer Tank Repair is tax breaks on new hires. Marander is working with the port and concentrating on hiring locally within the Kalama area as much as possible.
“In my industry there’s no school for what I do – the tanker inspection part of it. It’s taught by guys like me – on-the-job training,” Marander said.
Rainier is enjoying a great deal of community support in the area of hiring. Donna Hughes, at Kelso’s WorkSource, has coordinated with the company to narrow down candidates for internships. Marander has also reached out to Lower Columbia College and even WyoTech, which is a school located in Wyoming that offers programs in collision refinishing and automotive, diesel, marine and motorcycle technology.
Marander’s is the story of a local boy who made good. He grew up in Kelso and has been in the tanker industry for nearly 29 years. He said that the past few years have been blood, sweat and tears, but digging deeper, he said it has been mixed with a large dash of integrity and vision.
“I’m not specifically looking for a larger customer base because I want to focus on the customers I have and cater to them. One of my customers is a company I worked for when I was 18 and they’re still one of my best customers today,” Marander said. “I’m an honest, hard-working person and that’s what has gotten me this far.”
Colleagues are happy to testify to Marander’s work ethic. Liz Newman, marketing manager at the Port of Kalama, shared that Marander has been eager to connect with business leaders, discuss new programs and legislative issues that affect the region and take action when he hears about new opportunities.
“From the first time we met, he exhibited so much energy and determination to grow [Rainier],” Newman said. “Growing companies like [Rainier] are the heart of what we do – it’s meeting the Marander family and their staff, [and] seeing them celebrate their accomplishments with a barbecue or heading out fishing when they finish for the day that remind us why we’re here.”
Editor’s note: Has your company experienced significant growth in the past year? We’d like you to consider submitting an entry in our annual Business Growth Awards. For more info, visit www.vbjusa.com/business-growth-awards.