The story of Greer Steel, Inc. began 61 years ago and 2,200 miles away in a garage in Fairbanks, Alaska.
At the time, Glenn Greer recognized the need in his community for consistently built, quality steel fuel storage tanks. Using a small set of plate rolls to bend the steel, Greer began making 100-, 200- and 300-gallon tanks.
In the following decades, Greer built a shop suited for welding and earned a license to build UL listed tanks. In 1972, Greer expanded to Anchorage – Alaska’s largest city – to meet a growing a demand. Still, that state’s geography and lack of roads meant Greer couldn’t reach Alaska’s southeast coastal region.
That’s when the company decided to open a location in the South Sound, where barges could originate and navigate to the regions in Alaska that were difficult to reach via land. The company started on the Tacoma Tideflats but realized it needed more space to operate.
In 1995, it moved to Lakewood where available space wasn’t an issue. Since the move, Greer Steel has undergone four expansions, the most recent being a $3 million expansion in 2015 that included a 4,500-square-foot fabrication shop and a 3,500-square-foot facility for blasting and painting. The latter is one of the most state-of-the-art blast and paint facilities in the Puget Sound.
Today, Greer’s work can be seen everywhere from Lakewood to Hawaii, and Greenland to Guam. Been on a Washington State Ferry, lately? Chances are you’ve used a staircase railing made from Greer. The demand for its products and services – everything from septic tanks to ATV trailers - continues to grow.
Greer Steel General Manager Dave Kapla attributes the company’s success to an unwavering commitment to quality fabrication, competitive pricing, timely delivery and safety. In 2012, the Steel Tank Institute’s Board of Directors presented Greer Steel, Inc. with its “Platinum Award,” which acknowledges 10 years of Continuous Excellence.
“The way we have always differentiated ourselves from our competitors is not by price but by quality,” Kapla says. “We’ve never had a tank failure.”
It’s also the reason Greer Steel, Inc., is the City of Lakewood’s Business Showcase for February 2016.
To the untrained eye, the Greer’s facilities in Lakewood are massive. Located in an industrial area east of Interstate 5, the company is one of the mainstays of local industry.
While not necessarily on the Puget Sound, Kapla, who’s now in his 18th year with Greer, says the location offers easy access to the state’s major highway, as well as plenty of room for growth.
Judging by how much business can boom, Greer more than likely will need it.
Greer has also never met a job it didn’t like. Although tanks are its signature product, it can provide products such as boats and trailers, or services such as welding, to anyone who comes by the shop.
“What I tell people is if it can be built – steel, stainless steel or aluminum – we can do it,” he says.
Today, the family run company – its headquarters are still located in Alaska - is looking toward the future, whether that involves expanding in Lakewood or serving areas beyond the Northwest.
No matter what happens, Kapla says the future looks bright for Greer in Lakewood.
For its years of serving and doing business in our community, the City of Lakewood would like to recognize Greer Steel, Inc., as its Business Showcase for February 2016.