Global Fastener News

2012 FIN – At Age 100, Portland Bolt is Delivering Fasteners to 32 Countries

2012 FIN – At Age 100, Portland Bolt is Delivering Fasteners to 32 Countries
April 02
00:00 2012

From its founding in a 6,000 sq ft livery stable in 1912, Portland Bolt has grown to produce anchor bolts and nonstandard construction fastener manufacturers not just for its Pacific Northwest region, but for customers in 32 countries last year.
“We are gaining market share and plan to expand on that,” said Jonathan Todd, who joined Portland Bolt in sales in 2001 and became owner and president in 2005.

J.M. Llewellyn founded Portland Bolt in July 1912. By 1916 the 15-employee company was producing annual sales of $100,000.

In the early years, products manufactured by Portland Bolt included bolts, rivets, pole pins, washers, dies, and tools for machine shops. Portland Bolt was manufacturing products for the shipbuilding industry; telegraph companies, and railroads and shipping as far north as the Canadian border, as far south as San Francisco, and east to Montana.

By the mid-1920s Portland Bolt had moved to a larger manufacturing facility on Northwest 14th and Lovejoy Street in Portland and had added a hot-dip galvanizing line. Portland Bolt operated out of this facility until 1974, when the Llewellyn family sold the business to Melvin Peters and Morris Galen.

The new owners’ intention was to fulfill the company’s obligations and then liquidate the assets. While operating the facility, they realized the company had more potential as a viable entity. They sold off the galvanizing line and moved the facility to Northwest 12th and Johnson Street.

In 1988, the company was purchased by David Ederer and then president Brian Sonnenberg. In 1992 moved to a new facility in an industrial sector of Northwest Portland.  A hot-dip galvanizing line designed for threaded fasteners was added in 1994.

The 1995 acquisition of Seattle-based Northwest Bolt & Nut Company expanded Portland Bolt’s manufacturing capabilities and marketing reach. All manufacturing processes have been subsequently centralized to the Portland location.

Sonnenberg recalled that “coming out of a steel fabrication and erection background as a purchasing agent for Atlas Iron Works gave me real insight into how a company like Portland Bolt should interact with the market place.”

Sonnenberg told GlobalFastenerNews.com he found too many distributors didn’t understand what their customers needed. “We started to speak directly to those that used our product and sold them that product directly,” Sonnenberg said.

“Our ability to respond quickly allowed us to develop great relationships, which lead to a great reputation,” Sonnenberg noted. “The 1989 San Francisco earthquake proved how important we were as Caltrans directed the contractors to us and we air freighted product twice a day for nine weeks to them, working off the bridges original drawings.” That is when I confirmed we had a unique place in the fastener world. Our decision to work directly with large contractors was driven by their needs and our ability to meet those needs.”

During 2005, Todd took over day-to-day operations and became an owner. Sonnenberg retired after 35 years in the steel industry, though he remains chairman of the board.

“Shortly after the company was started, product was being manufactured for projects around the Northwest,” Todd said. “Through the years we adjusted to the needs of our customers, which in turn had us sending product throughout North America. In the last 15 years, with our reputation of dependable product deliveries and impeccable customer service, our bolts now reach all over the globe. We are extremely proud of the efforts of the people who make up Portland Bolt and the relationships we have created over a century of doing business.”

Todd noted numerous current employees have been with Portland Bolt for 10 to 30 years.

“Our longevity can be attributed to our ability to adapt to an ever-changing marketplace,” said general manager Greg Lindsay. “We manufacture different products now than we did years ago and our products are sold to different industries and over a much broader geographical region.”

In 2011, Portland Bolt manufactured 6.2 million pounds of anchor bolts and construction fasteners and shipped to more than 2,300 customers in all 50 U.S. states, nine of 10 Canadian provinces and 32 countries.

Current markets include power and energy, marine construction, steel fabrication, mining, pole line, light rail, and highway construction. Recently Portland Bolt added 30,000 sq ft of manufacturing space to bring its current total to 85,000 sq ft. An updated and larger state-of-the-art hot-dip galvanizing line was added.

“Our reach has grown,” Todd reflected. “Though there was some effect from the recession, we are rebounding now. We are hitting on all cylinders.”

Products manufactured include hex and square head bolts, anchor rods, bent anchor bolts, U-bolts, eyebolts, square plates, tie rod assemblies and numerous varieties of specialty fasteners.  3441 NW Guam, Portland, OR 97210. Tel: 503 227-5488 or 800 547-6758. Fax 503 227-4634. E-mail: sales@portlandbolt.com Web: portlandbolt.com

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Related Links:

• Portland Bolt

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