Strength beyond Steel: MARKS Design and Metalworks
Thirteen months after their first tenant spotlight story, MARKS Design and Metalworks, LLC (MARKS) has settled into their new home at the Port of Vancouver USA. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, MARKS’ resiliency led them to a successful year. Owner and manager Mary Novak-Jandrey sat down with us for a look back at the past year, which includes a growing team, new technology and what’s on the horizon.
MARKS is a leader in designing and fabricating stainless steel tanks and other vessels, which are used in a variety of processes. MARKS equipment can be found in brewery and distillery systems, methane systems, cannabis extraction equipment and other engineered products. MARKS was established in Vancouver in 2008 and after years of growth and success, moved to the port in early 2020. In the midst of their move into the new facility, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. This brought on countless obstacles and unknowns, but the MARKS team stayed positive and remained focused on their ambitions for the remainder of the year.
“Our employees are absolutely incredible,” said Novak-Jandrey. “Our business was categorized as essential, allowing us to keep our operations moving. Our staff was extremely understanding and adapted to the situation while following safety guidelines and new protocols. I’m proud of them for sticking with us while we worked to keep everyone safe during such a difficult time.”
MARKS’ primary customer base is the hospitality industry, but with it essentially shut down by the pandemic, MARKS pivoted their strategy to target different industries, which in turn, created new business opportunities.
“For our products, the biggest realization in 2020 was that it doesn’t matter what goes into the vessels,” explained Novak-Jandrey. “We had planned to strategically shift our business into these new markets in the future, but the pandemic propelled us into them sooner than we expected.”
To support the significant volume of orders, MARKS increased their staff from more than 30%, generating vital economic activity in Vancouver. The newly added positions included fabricators, welders, engineers and most recently, a programming team. The programming team builds automated control systems in-house – something that is usually outsourced in the fabrication industry. MARKS can now customize each automated control system to meet the customers’ unique needs and help them achieve maximum efficiency in their operations.
“Being a partner to our customers is a priority and now we’re able to offer this service as well as a field service team,” said Novak-Jandrey. Adding this benefit to MARKS’ already exceptional customer service and product lineup distinguishes MARKS from their competitors.
Another key element for MARKS, is their new space at the port. With triple the square footage of their previous facility, MARKS took full advantage of the large space and built out additional gantries from their original footprint. These gantries have bridge-like overhead structures which handle up to 42-foot-tall vessels. This configuration allows the fabricator to position and tip the tank, ultimately creating an agile workspace. With each bay providing up to 15 tons of lifting capacity, MARKS is taking their operations to the next level.
“This building has the potential to grow with us,” said Novak-Jandrey. “It took over 100 truckloads to move all of our equipment here and even though it’s only been one year, we’re already looking at how we can continue building out this space, meeting the demands of our growing business.”
What a truly incredible year for MARKS! The passion for their work can be seen in the carefully crafted stainless steel vessels and excellent customer service, but also through their staff. The Port of Vancouver looks forward to supporting MARKS in their continued growth and sharing more of their story in the future.
To learn more about MARKS, visit https://marksdmw.com/ for an in-depth look at their manufacturing, engineering solutions, parts store, brewing systems and how they can help take your business to the next level.