ANCHORAGE - Unless you work in the industrial sector, you probably have never been to Alaska Rubber and Supply – but you probably see its products every day.
The company puts together hoses and fittings that are used in heavy equipment, trucks and pumps. It recently expanded its business to rigging, which includes industrial cables – the type you see being used by giant cranes. The hoses from Alaska Industrial Supply have been used to carry fuel, hydraulic oil, and even (for local breweries) beer. Before they go off to customers, many hoses are put through rigorous tests to make sure they can withstand the pressure of the job they'll be used for.
Alaska Rubber is a support industry, and Graham McManamin said the pace really picks up in the summer when construction companies need a tight deadline met. "It can get pretty fast paced around here." he said.
The facility is made up of several warehouses stacked with hoses and fittings that staff put together at a customers request. Throughout the shop, there are stations where technicians crimp hoses to fittings.
In the expanded facility that makes rigging, a crane moves heavy cable across the shop so it can be tested before going to the customer. Some of these products are made to work in one of the most unforgiving climates on the planet. Mortensen said a product isn't considered Arctic-grade until it can perform at 65-below. "We have people call from all over the world for those products," he said.
Employees here have extra incentive to come up with new ideas. That's because they're part owners in the business. McManamin said, "Everyone feels like they're pitching in, like it's a common goal."
General Manager Michael Mortensen started out as a delivery driver at Alaska Rubber 18 years ago. He said that employees feel rewarded for their effort when they're part owners: You own part of the equipment you work with every day, and progress you make could mean real returns.
Alaska Rubber does business all across Alaska. It has branches in Wasilla and Fairbanks as well as its Anchorage facility.