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• Each week, The Columbian offers a brief snapshot of an interesting Clark County business. Send ideas to Mary Ricks: mary.ricks@columb...; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.
Business name: Phoenix Industrial.
Owners: Joe Hutton, president; Ken Johnson, vice president; and Jon Scott, vice president.
Address: 2111 S.E Columbia Way.
What the business does: Phoenix Industrial constructs new facilities or improves, alters or maintains existing facilities for heavy manufacturing customers such as paper mills, steel mills, power plants, cement plants, gas plants, and mining facilities.
Building your business: President Joe Hutton said despite the downturn in the overall economy over the past few years, Phoenix Industrial has been able to grow its business profitably, with revenue growth from approximately $20 million in 2008 to about $30 million in 2011. He said his business is highly dependent on capital spending by manufacturing clients. When capital spending slowed for many manufacturers in 2009 it picked up in other sectors, especially those related to precious metals, minerals and recycling. The company shifted its focus to customers in the expanding sectors and was able to continue to grow. This shift required Phoenix to take on projects for customers outside the Vancouver area, and the company how operates in 15 states, primarily in the West.
Greatest challenge: The greatest challenge in running the company is finding experienced supervisors and managers who understand the industrial construction business, which is much different from residential and commercial construction, Phoenix officials said. Industrial construction has an intense emphasis on safety and planning, since the work is often conducted in operating manufacturing facilities where an error in execution can have severe consequences.
A favorite part of the job: Hutton's favorite part of his job is watching his company take a concept from a set of drawings to a concrete and steel functional reality.
What's ahead: In the next six to eight months the company will continue on current projects in Nevada, Montana, Alaska, Nebraska and Puerto Rico. It is working with local clients to help develop projects in Vancouver, Longview and Portland ports and other manufacturers.
Year established in Clark County: 2001.
Employees: Varies from 100 to 175.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.