May 7, 2007

AAA Galvanizing to open Winsted plant January 2008

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

AAA Galvanizing will open a plant in Winsted to be ready for business January 2008.

The plant will be located just outside of Winsted, west of the Millerbernd Manufacturing plant, and will be accessed from McLeod County Road 1.

AAA Galvanizing, which protects all types of steel products with long-term corrosion protection through its galvanizing procedure, already has plants in Joliet, Dixon, Cicero, and Peoria, Ill., Hamilton, Ind., and Chelsea, Okla. Currently, it employs approximately 250 people.

When it opens its plant in Winsted, it will start with one shift of approximately 25 employees. Its plans include expanding to a second shift, and even possibly a third shift, with 25 people working each shift.

AAA Galvanizing became acquainted with Winsted through Millerbernd Manufacturing, which has been one of its customers for about eight to 10 years, according to Mike Wendolek of Millerbernd Manufacturing.

“They galvanize all of our poles. We have been trying to get them to move to this area for at least four years,” Wendolek said.

“There is lots of potential for business in this area. The closest galvanizer right now is in Minneapolis. Its kettle is too small for large parts,” Wendolek said.

“Hot dip galvanizing increases the life span of steel products. It makes them last longer and keeps them from rusting. It will make steel last 10 to 20 years longer, otherwise steel rusts almost immediately,” Pat Fordham, director of operations at the Dixon plant said.

Part of AAA Galvanizing service is to clean and prepare the surface. The company will also handle all quantities and sizes of parts, “no matter how big or small,” Fordham said.

AAA Galvanizing has some of the largest kettles in the US, as well as the deepest kettle in North America, according to the company’s web site.

“Our plant is friendly to the environment,” Fordham said. “There is zero discharge from the plant, no chemicals in the atmosphere or the ground. We work with a licensed waste hauler.”

AAA Galvanizing’s first plant was started in Joliet in 1995. Since that time, it has become one of the major suppliers of hot dip galvanizing services in the Midwest.

Fordham, who has been working in the Dixon plant for about eight years, will be heading up the AAA Galvanizing plant in Winsted.

He and his wife, Tracy, and 10-year-old daughter, Sydney, will make their home in Winsted, moving sometime in June.

“We were ready for a move and think this is a great area to live,” Fordham said.

Fordham wanted residents of Winsted to know that having AAA Galvanizing as a business in the area will definitely be to their advantage.

“In every city, we are members of the chamber of commerce. We plan to participate in all of the area’s festivities and work with the community,” Fordham said.

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