Brooklyn Park business booming

nystrom_manufacturingAs business owners tighten their belts in a slumping economy, one local business is doing better than ever. Nystrom Building Products, based in Brooklyn Park, is continuing to expand globally.

Nystrom employs approximately 140 people at its facility located in the 9000 block of 73rd Avenue. One of the employees is metal worker Ronald Reed, who says after 11 years on the job he can spot Nystrom products anywhere he goes.

“I’ve been in airports, like the Denver airport, and I looked up and saw an access panel up there,” said Reed.

The panels are one of 15 complimentary building products Nystrom produces to send to projects in the Twin Cities and beyond. The products range from panels and smoke vents to expansion joints and access doors.

“They aren’t the most sexy products you’ll see if you drive by a construction site,” said CEO Scott Sustacek. “Our products, even though you might not have noticed them, are used on some of the biggest and highest profile projects in the country.”

In fact, Nystrom sent access doors to the White House press room, a floor hatch to the world’s tallest building in Dubai and expansion systems in the Mall of America. As they continue to serve local construction projects, they also continue to expand in the Middle East.

“We started looking around and we said the Middle East has a lot of petro dollars and a lot of focus on infrastructure,” said Sustacek. “So we are focusing very heavily on selling more of our products into the commerical construction products in the Middle East and Gulf Coast states”

Nystrom uses a “Right to Site” mantra to describe its business model. Sustacek says it means Nystrom designs or produces the right product and transports it to the right place at the right time. Having a product made and shipped around the globe on deadline is a crucial part of doing business internationally.

“If it gets to Dubai, the tallest building in the world and it’s not right, that project can grind to a halt,” said Sustacek. “Because these are products that can be very competitive day in and day out. We’re focusing on that product at the right place and right time.”

So far, the political landscape in the Middle East has not impacted the company’s business. Instead, Nystrom has concentrated on more progressive countries like the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Kuwait.

“Things most people see about the Middle East is Iraq,” said Sustacek. “Dubai is vastly different from that, it’s very much a Western city. So there’s a definite hunger by our Middle East partners to do more business with us. In fact, they continue to question us, why can’t more companies from the U.S. show an interest in us?”

Because of the expansion into other economic markets, the company continues to do well despite a slumping U.S. economy.

Workers will attest to how busy the company is. Welder Jim Vandermoon has been with the company for a decade and he says he is proud to know the products he produces are going to such high profile places.

“It’s like ivy. It just keeps growing and growing,” said Vandermoon.

Shannon Slatton, reporting

Monday, October 06, 2008