PS Industries, 1150 S. 48 St., a company started locally in Grand Forks, is doing business on the national and international stage, with its unique line of doors, hatches and flood barriers, one of which is protecting the United States Constitution at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Started in 1974 by Jim Satrom -- as PS Doors -- the company has grown steadily over the years from manufacturing and installing garage doors, to now offering a variety of safety-related products the world over.
“All of the products that we have comes to us from customer requests,” said Cory Melland, company president. “Since that time, we’ve developed 37 different product lines that we distribute in the industrial access division, and then we have our PS Safety Access products, and then we have our flood barriers.”
One of those flood barriers, the Self Closing Flood Barrier, protects the U.S. Constitution. Installed in 2016, the 6-foot, 8-inch high, almost 25-foot-long barrier is custom designed. It sits flush to the ground at a strategic location susceptible to flooding. When the waters rise, so does the barrier, which offers passive flood protection.
“The National Archives job, that was a very unique opportunity for us to be involved in,” Melland said.
“All our products, they protect people and property,” said Mark Haaland, sales and marketing director at PS Industries. “It’s effective access solutions, so whether it’s a flood barrier or a safety product, a fall restraint, a safety gate or if it’s a hatch going into a coal chute, it’s protecting people and the property that’s in there.”
The Grand Forks flood of 1997 wasn’t necessarily the impetus to get into flood protection, though those ideas were already in the works. The company had previously built a flood door for what is now called the Marilyn Hagerty Lift Station that kept flood waters back -- until it went over the top and through the roof. PS industries also built flood barriers for the water treatment plant in Grand Forks after the flood of ‘97.
The company's flood barriers are primarily sold in coastal areas, with almost 500 projects in New York state, more than 200 in Texas and hundreds of other projects in other coastal and inland states.
“We found great success, and we feel that the things we do, they help people,” Melland said. “They protect people from storms or damage, or injury, so that’s very good.”
In making way into future plans, PS Industries sold the PS Door entity of the company in October as it was the only thing sold locally. As 99 percent of its product is sold outside the region, that’s where the marketing dollars are spent.
“When I went to work here, people said: ‘Hey my garage door is broken’, and I said well you better call PS Garage Doors, because I don’t have a clue about garage doors!” Halland said.
“Nobody knows about us, and we’re trying to hire,” he laughed.
Nationally, the company has made its mark with products all over the United States, from flood doors at Facebook’s campus in California, flood protection for the subway system in New York City, Tulane Hospital in New Orleans, and MillerCoors as well.
“One of our young guys, I knew he had been on vacation, I said: ‘Hey, how was your vacation?’ He said: ‘I actually walked past one of our flood barriers in the subway system. There was a million people. I didn’t get a picture, but I know it was ours. I could see the label’,” Melland said.
Internationally, the company has sold flood barriers in Australia and is manufacturing safety gates for the United Kingdom.
“When I started here in ‘94, I want to say we had about, in the manufacturing part of the business, five or six people, that were manufacturing product, and now we have in that 120 range,” Melland said. “It’s been steady growth over the last 25 years.”
The future holds continued expansion for PS Industries as it prepares to break ground on a new 75,000-square-foot facility -- adjoined to the existing 104,000-square-foot location.
“Growth, expansion, new products. This year one of our major goals is to expand into the European market,” Melland said. “We see good things in our future.”