Weather Forecast


Steffes Corp. plans Grand Forks expansion

Steffes Corp. announced Wednesday it will add another facility in Grand Forks.

The steel product manufacturer based in Dickinson, N.D., purchased the American Defense Industries building, as well as equipment and land at 6400 Gateway Drive. The sale closed on Friday, said Steffes President Joe Rothschiller.

“This asset purchase allows Steffes to increase manufacturing capacity in order to continue producing innovative and value added products for our customers in the Midwest,” said company CEO Paul Steffes in a press release.

Steffes originally purchased a building on U.S. Highway 2 west of Grand Forks about two years ago in an effort to find more workers away from the tight labor market in Dickinson. It has 90 employees in Grand Forks today, Rothschiller said.

The status of ADI wasn’t immediately clear. The listed phone number for its office was not working Wednesday.

New hires

The new 60,000 square-foot plant, which may be operational late this year, could allow them to add 20 to 30 new employees initially.

“And then we’ll continue to add to that in the next year or two,” he added. Rothschiller said Steffes could add 100 staff — everything from welders, engineers and sales staff — in Grand Forks over the next couple of years.

Rothschiller said the current Grand Forks plant here is getting near capacity.

“So as we look to the future in the next one to three years, the opportunity to purchase another facility in Grand Forks presented itself at the right time,” Rothschiller said.

The company’s focus in Grand Forks currently is flaring engineering systems, Rothschiller said. The company manufacturers a number of steel products for the oil industry, like stairways and cattle guards.

While the labor and housing market is tight here, it’s much worse in Dickinson, in the heart of the Bakken oil boom, Rothschiller said.  

“I’ve often said that Grand Forks is three or four years behind Dickinson,” he said. “It’s getting more challenging for people, but you still have that critical mass there to draw from whereas we don’t have that critical mass here in Dickinson.”

East meets west

Steffes is one of the more prominent examples of companies who do a significant amount of work in the Oil Patch of western North Dakota and eastern Montana but have operations in the Red River Valley. Others include Advanced Engineering and Environmental Systems (AE2S) and Diverse Energy Systems.

City officials developed a campaign a few years ago, called the Bakken Initiative, to attract expanding companies from the west to the Grand Forks region. 

Klaus Thiessen, president and CEO of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp., said his office is working with a couple of companies who aren’t currently located here but have showed interest.

“This is another example of how the oil boom is positively affecting Grand Forks,” said Barry Wilfahrt, president and CEO of the Chamber of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

(701) 255-5607