Tim Jasper started his own company 15 years ago and hasn't looked back.
"And it's been a heck of a roller-coaster ride," he said.
That's the nature of his company, Jasper Steel Fabrication Inc. To be in his business, he said, has meant going with the flow, learning to adapt and diversify. His company, located at 701 First St., Williamsport is a custom, structural and bridge fabrication shop that services the gas and oil industry as well as bridge and highway contractors.
Above, work Jasper Steel Fabrication did for Whiting-Turner near Philly for AE Polysilicon. All of the blue steel pipe racks and blue structural towers were fabricated by Jasper Steel.
Housed in the former Darling Anchor Valve building, the company offers some 18,000 square foot of work space to take on jobs of both small and large scale. Jasper said fabrication work is simply fitting together raw steel and welding it. It's not the sort of work a lot of companies are doing around here, he noted.
"Ninety-five percent of people in this town haven't heard of us," he said. "The majority of our work is spread around the East Coast."
Jasper, a former welder, began the business after a number of years serving as president of the Fabrication Division at Palmer Industrial Coatings, Williamsport. He talked about how the company has evolved through the years.
"The stuff we build is quite a wide variety," he said. "The first eight years it was all bridge work."
His very first project was the historic Strawberry Mansion Bridge in Philadelphia, which involved fabricating ornamental rail.
Other projects included doing work for truss bridges in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. But the bridge work came to an end with the ushering in of new technology.
"Now we do more with the gas and oil industry," he said.
Some of the projects include building custom chemical tanks and supports for piping. Although Jasper Steel Fabrication does some work for local industries, many of its jobs are for companies elsewhere.
"We do so many different things," Jasper said. "You are constantly learning."
And that's part of what fuels him and gets him excited about the business. Jasper said he's proud of the work his company has done over the years.
"We never missed a delivery date," he said.
He gives much credit to the "talented people" he's hired over the years. Depending on need, Jasper employs up to 15 people. They include people such as his nephew, Nathan Jasper, who serves as shop foreman.
Nathan said employees take pride in their work, but perhaps just as importantly, get along well with each other.
"I think we are all pretty proud of our quality record," he said.
His uncle said like many other companies, his own felt the negative effects of the cold winter. But he's now got a number of jobs lined up. That in itself, he said, is the most challenging aspect of the business.
"It's definitely a feast or famine environment," he said.
He said he doesn't do a lot of advertising, but mostly depend on work of mouth from businesses he's worked with.
"With gas work, we've broadened our horizons," Nathan said.