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Educating people on asbestos: After 3 decades, Building Systems Corporation owner is retiring

Reierson has worked in the business of asbestos abatement and inspection since he and his wife moved to Grand Forks in 1989.

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Doug Reiereson, president of Building Systems Corporation.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — After more than 30 years of performing asbestos abatement and inspections in and outside of Grand Forks, Doug Reierson is retiring.

The owner of Building Systems Corporation has sold his business and is looking forward to spending more time with his family, as well as celebrating his retirement on Jan. 28 at the Alerus Center. Reierson has worked in the business of asbestos abatement and inspection since he and his wife moved to Grand Forks in 1989.

“Well, we had kids in diapers about that time,” Reierson said. “My wife and I moved to Grand Forks in ‘89 because she wanted to finish her accounting degree at UND.”

While his wife studied, Reierson, a carpenter by trade, worked with the local public schools where he got into “the asbestos business.”

Reierson did safety and environmental work at the public schools for five years.

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After his wife completed her schooling, he started his business, working for many different clients, contractors, Grand Forks Air Force Base, hospitals, nursing homes, schools and more.

“It’s made me feel good that I can help other people out and not necessarily get a job from them, I was just trying to help them out because part of my job was to educate people, too,” he said.

Some of the most enjoyable parts of his job were not only getting to meet new people, but to hear back from people he’d helped long ago.

“The same people call me back, so that gives me a feeling that I accomplished something — that I’m doing my job and my employees are,” he said.

Some customers called back 10-15 years after Reierson first helped them; younger families have enlisted his help as well to learn about the dangers of asbestos. One group of people that have called Reierson back again and again have been contractors. “I can name just about every contractor in town here.”

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He also faced some challenges in his business. Inspecting and removing asbestos can be a dangerous job. Reierson and his team wore respirators and suits while they worked, and had to keep in mind not only their clients’ health, but their own families’ as well.

“We wanted to make sure we weren’t bringing asbestos home to our kids and family,” he said.

The job has also taken Reierson away from home; he’s traveled mostly across North Dakota and Minnesota, though has had jobs that have taken him to South Dakota, Montana and Iowa.

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When discussing his retirement, Reierson said he’s happy that his business is going to continue helping the area. When previous clients have asked him who they’re going to call in the future for help, he said he’s glad he can still recommend they go to Building Systems Corporation, now owned by Nathan Lizakowski.

“It took a lot of weight off my shoulders,” Reierson said.

As for his future, Reierson is planning on spending time with his family, as well as helping out with the community and continuing to be involved with the Holy Family Catholic Church. He’s also looking forward to working on his own projects.

“Everybody always has things they’ve never finished and their own projects they started in their own lives, so that’s what I’m looking forward to,” he said.

Friends, family, and those who’ve worked with Doug are welcome to celebrate his retirement in the Alerus Center’s ballroom one from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28.

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Otto is a recent University of North Dakota graduate and intern at the Herald.
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