Volume 5 | Issue 4 | Year 2002

When customers like Exxon, Westinghouse, Praxair, and Williams Field Services require a world-class manufacturing company with superb engineering services, they know they can depend on Petersen Inc. in Ogden, Utah, to provide the capabilities they need. Petersen, a multi-disciplined engineering design and management firm, provides design, fabrication, and installation support to customers throughout the world in petrochemical, mining, environmental management, and aerospace industries.

But that’s just the beginning of this company’s story – its range of manufacturing capabilities and services is impressive. In addition to offering outsourcing manufacturing capabilities to produce precision-engineered products for such world leaders as those mentioned, Petersen also manufactures its own RPP (rolling, pressing, packing) waste and bulk balers. It also operates a 1.2 million square-foot TPL (third-party logistics) warehousing and distribution facility.

Team Focus
All of the services and manufacturing capabilities at Petersen emanate from the company’s all-inclusive philosophy embracing all points of contact – including its employees, its customers, and the superior products it manufactures. This team spirit existing between the company, its employees and its customers is a winning combination for Petersen. “The most unique aspect of our company is that we partner with our clients and essentially become an extension of their companies. We minister to their specific needs and complete jobs on time, within budget, and with uncompromising product quality,” says Steve Petersen, owner, president and CEO. Petersen is the son of Denis Petersen, founder of the company. “We have long-term relationships with our employees, whom we view as team members. We are dedicated to them and we are committed to their success.”

Core competencies include Petersen’s fabrication, machining, piping, and design engineering expertise. “We are truly a one-stop shop for our customers,” says Rob Despain, vice president of business development. “Customers can come to us with a concept or a design for manufacturing a product – and we have the capabilities to take a customer’s concept right through to completed product and installation.”

Although Petersen offers complete capabilities, customers can choose to have the company do all or any one of the many processes involved in the development of a product. “Some companies ask us just to install or just to manufacture their products – and others ask us to assist in the design, manufacture, and installation,” says Despain. “We are very comfortable working at any or all levels of that process.”

Lift that Bale
The company recently developed an ingenious waste management technology system that will be used by municipalities and private industries. Its RPP equipment shreds and densifies waste. By eliminating all of the oxygen in this material, waste is unable to decompose and rot and is thereby rendered inert. It is then encapsulated in a polyethylene film and can be stored for long periods of time until it needs to be utilized. This is very good news for all who are custodians of Terra Firma.

Encapsulated bales are excellent sources of energy production and are used by power generation plants. “The additional value of this technology is that it keeps intact the calorific value – or the BTUs per ton – of the waste material,” continues Petersen. He adds that when waste material begins to decay it is very difficult to burn.

Another advantage of this technology is that it reduces the size of the waste material, explains Petersen. “Encapsulating the material eliminates the chance of blowing debris or of any odors. It also dramatically reduces the cost of transportation as well as landfill charges,” he says.

The company is very excited about this new technology and believes it promises significant growth opportunities. “We have a tremendous amount of interest in this technology worldwide,” says Petersen. Recycling is yet another application Petersen is considering for this new technology. “Part of the problem with recycling in America today is that the transportation costs are so high because you are shipping mostly air. A typical commingled waste semi-trailer carries about 3,000 pounds of recyclables. We can take that load and convert it into two one-ton bales, about three feet in diameter and three feet long. This load can then be hauled in the back of a pickup truck.” Other products can be densified as well – including bark, compost, and even soil.

Petersen manufactures two versions of its RPP. The mega baler, able to process about 1,000 tons of waste a day, prepares waste into seven-ton encapsulated bales. Its portable speed baler, processing about 350 tons of waste a day, prepares one-ton encapsulated bales. “We designed and built the first mega baler for the U.S. market and sold it to the Linden, Utah, municipality,” says Petersen. This baler should be up and running by early June.

Logistics Statistics
Petersen Inc. operates an impressive 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility. Operating as a TPL, Petersen provides care, custody, and control to Boeing – its largest tenant. “We manage Boeing’s out-of-production aircraft tooling – in addition to providing warehousing and distribution services for other companies,” says Despain.

Close to air, rail, and interstate access, the climate-controlled facility offers oversized dock and access lanes. The facilities are equipped with an ISO-9001-certified warehouse management system and are completely outfitted with wireless radio frequency communication for superior real-time data and product maintenance, as well as data and product retrieval.

Customers benefit by being able to track their inventories online any time during any day. Another example of partnering is the strategic alliance the company has with the Boyer Company, which has been instrumental in providing the additional warehousing space for the Petersen contracts.

Building it Better
The horizon looks bright for the 41-year-old company. Despain notes that Petersen Inc. is emerging as an industry leader in the arena of environmental cleanup efforts. “This is a significant area and we are excited to be a supplier of fabricated parts and to be a part of it all,” he says. “The quality standards and requirements are very stringent and we have the quality systems in place to serve as a supplier to companies involved in these environmental efforts.”

“We will continue to develop the existing markets we serve today by partnering with new and up-and-coming technologies – I think this is where we really set ourselves apart from our competitors,” says Petersen. “We will continue to create that better mousetrap, so when companies need someone to help design, engineer, and manufacture their products, we would like to be that someone. With the years of expertise we have to offer, we can help them value engineer their products and help them design their products so they can be able to be manufactured efficiently.”

The company is implementing Toyota production processes and systems, including lean manufacturing techniques for even greater efficiencies. With 280,000 square feet of manufacturing space, the company is gearing up for increased production, adding another 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space to be ready by July.

It employs 265 team members and has enjoyed an annual growth rate of 20 percent over the last few decades. Petersen expects that healthy growth rate to continue because the company “has a good reputation and we have a solid customer base,” Petersen says. “I also feel very confident about our marketing efforts and the way we are able to position our company to be noticed and recognized by those industries we serve.”