business is also a retailer for Kubota, the Japanese tractor company whose motors Equipment Source uses inside its units.
Inside the Fairbanks fabrication facility,
right next to the showroom, a worker aided
by a computer uses a plasma table to cut
sheets of metal into the wall segments and
other components of Equipment Source machinery. These pieces are bent, welded together, sandblasted on site, and painted the same
shade of bright yellow before final assembly.
From a distance, the Equipment Source yard
is a sea of shining orange Kubota equipment
and yellow Equipment Source products.
Ferree identifies labor, electricity, and heating costs as the biggest challenges Equipment
Source faces as an Alaska-based manufacturer.
Despite the fact that it is in the heater business,
it’s still expensive to keep the company’s Fairbanks facilities warm in the Interior during
winter. The cold also means they need an expensive air filtration system. In a warmer climate the exhaust from the plasma table could
be vented outside, but venting outside makes
the production facility too cold in winter, so
the exhaust must be cleaned and recirculated.
Shipping is expensive too, but for products headed to North Slope oil fields this
doesn’t matter as much. No matter where
they’re made, it’s expensive to ship items to
the North Slope, and Fairbanks is on the way.
However, it wasn’t cost-effective to ship
materials up to Fairbanks and products back
to the Lower 48, so to serve Lower 48 customers the company opened a second production
facility in Renton, Washington. Last year
they added a showroom in Williston, North
Dakota, another oil industry hot spot.
Ferree says past growth of Equipment
Source’s business has been tied to the cyclical
oil business. Recently they’ve tried to design
new equipment and expand into markets such
as remote Alaska villages and fishing lodges.
“We’ve been focused in the last couple years
on diversifying and broadening our customer
base and our product line,” he says. “We’ve
developed quite a few new products. We were
addicted to oil. That was the business model.”
Industrial heaters such as the ES700 remain
an important part of the business. But Equipment Source’s biggest sellers are generators,
especially mid-sized units about the size of the
ES700 that are capable of powering a building
the size of a village medical clinic for years.
Products: Portable heating units,
generators, and other
Years in Business: 17
Locations: Headquarters in
Fairbanks, storefront in
and production facility in
Renton, Washington, and
storefront in Williston,
(907) 357-2238 | www.tutkallc.com
AGC Excellence in Construction Award 2017 for
Meeting the Challenge of a Job Between $3-$8 million
Meets the Environment.
From The Ground Up
A division of Fairbanks Materials Inc. A division of Fairbanks Materials Inc.
1122 Bradway Road
North Pole, AK 99705
855 Old Richardson Hwy
Fairbanks, AK 99701