Fabrication at its finest: Catching up with Wickum Weld
In 2017, we shared an article on a new tenant, Wickum Weld, and their exciting growth on the horizon. Today in 2020, we’re so pleased to share that Wickum continues to increase jobs and opportunity in Southwest Washington. Just this past month, the port’s Board of Commissioners approved a lease extension with the company, and it seemed like the perfect time to sit down with owner Jarrod Wickum to catch up.
“It’s incredible – the business has taken on its own rhythm and we’ve seen 25-35% growth year over year,” said Jarrod. “The company has now grown to 36 full-time employees and the orders keep rolling in.”
Their product line has expanded beyond the original line-up of light truck cab racks, tool boxes and flat beds to include class 8 racks, and laser cutting capabilities for customization. Their customer base has grown as well and includes a wide range of partners from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), to WSU and NW Natural.
The company is a close-knit group of friends and family and in May 2019 Jarrod’s wife, Erin, joined the team full-time. “This is a great business – so many of us are connected outside of the shop and it carries over into the workplace,” said Erin. “It’s a fun place to work; we all share the same passion for welding and want the business to succeed.”
Wickum’s team is always striving to be the best in the industry, and their focus remains on the three-legged stool of customer service, quality and innovation. Every other day, they gather for a morning meeting to discuss the business and the jobs that are lined up. Process improvement is always part of the discussion, with a priority in ensuring they continue to increase efficiencies and keep up with growing demand. Expanding at the port is part of their strategy for the future.
In 2017, Wickum began with a 12,000sf warehouse and 1,452sf of office space, and the new lease expansion increases their footprint to include an additional 13,680sf of warehouse space. “This lease expansion and extension bring an opportunity to improve internal processes,” described Jarrod. “From the placement of the welding stations to the assembly area and finally to packaging, we can make adjustments to be that much more efficient.”
As the jobs continue lining up, process improvement is a constant, but fun, challenge. “We’ve made a significant investment in a new brake press and laser to help increase efficiencies and keep up with the demand.” The effectiveness of the laser has not only improved work throughput but has significantly reduced scrap material waste. These small steps and the consistent efforts to be the best in the business are what sets Wickum Weld apart from the pack.
The Port of Vancouver is proud to have tenants that are so passionate about their work, and that are truly great partners in creating economic opportunity here in Vancouver. We are excited to see our tenants grow and succeed, and we look forward to sharing more exciting news in the future.