Cool Product for Hot Markets
Ice for seafood? That seems logical enough. But ice
for concrete? That might not seem like a natural fit, but in the hottest
corners of the world, ice is used to help cure concrete and that's why a
South Park company named North Star Ice Equipment Corporation continues to
flourish while the national economy suffers.
North Star is among a
handful of companies in the world that manufacture machines that make
"flake ice," a chilled chip of ice that's ideal for curing concrete in hot
environments, such as the Middle East and Asia, where massive construction
projects continue to move forward. North Star is the only US based company
making industrial, high volume flake ice machines, the largest of which is
capable of producing 53 tons of ice in a 24 hour
American-made SUVs and pick-up trucks might be backing up
at car lots, but North Star's flake ice machines are flying out the door
as fast as the production crew finishes them. The company was founded in
1950 and this is its best year ever as it sends machines to Dubai, Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait and other countries. "We'll set a record for sales this
year," said Jon Deex, North Star CEO.
Seventy-five to 80 percent of
the company's sales are to foreign customers including large fish and
poultry processing companies throughout Asia and Latin America. Locally,
North Star machines are installed at Ocean Beauty, Trident Seafood, Icicle
Seafood and a host of seafood processing plants throughout Washington and
Alaska. In the concrete cooling business, North Star's foreigh partners
include KTI, a major German-based company that builds projects throughout
the Middle East.
North Star was founded in Ballard by Lyle
Branchflower. Branchflower was selling cod livers at the time to companies
that made cod liver oil. Unhappy with the quality of the machines that
made the ice that kept his cod livers cold while they were being shipped
south from Alaska, Branchflower began tinkering to make his own machines
and wound up making machines on a full-time basis.
Learn more about
North Star in the fall issue of Seattle Industry magazine,
available in September.
State Output Held Up – Oil Rebate?
North Star is not the
only local manufacturer that continues to do well. According to a regional
survey of manufacturing companies performed by the Western Washington
chapter of the National Association of Purchasing Managers, manufacturing
in our region grew from May to June, achieving a performance rating of
62.6, up from 58.8 in May.
The NAPM survey is based on 50. Anything
higher that 50 suggests growth; numbers under 50 show contraction. The
national manufacturing score for June was 50.2, up from 49.6 in May. NAPM
does not release the names of companies participating in its survey but
here's one guess about one reason why the production figure remains so
According to the Washington State Department of Revenue,
state oil refineries cranked out $19 billion in petroleum products in
2007. That was nearly double the dollar value of the state's entire farm
sector ($9.9 billion), and the value of state petroleum products has
climbed 136% since 2002. State figures are not available for the value of
state petroleum products made during 2008, but with oil prices up 123%
over the past 12 months, if you could afford a tank of gas you could
safely bet it, that the dollar value of state petroleum products is
That news won't ease your pain at the pump, but as
residents of a refining state, we enjoy benefits from fuel prices not
enjoyed by people in non refining states, such as Oregon. Benefits include
enormous tax revenues, jobs and other dividends generated by the
manufacture of petroleum products.
Municipal Jail site public
The City of Seattle is
looking for feedback on the new potential Municipal Jail project. The
project is currently looking at housing the jail at 4 potential site
locations: 2 in South Park, 1 in Interbay and 1 in North Seattle, all are
zoned for industrial use. The forums will be conducted to receive feedback
as well as answer any questions or concerns that the residents or the
public may have about this project.
- Saturday, July 26, from 9 a.m. to noon, in the Brockey Conference
Center at South Seattle Community College, located at 6000 16th Ave.
S.W. – focus: South Park - West Marginal Way and Myers Way
- Wednesday, July 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Seattle Center
Exhibition Hall, located at 225 Mercer Street – focus: Interbay
- The North Seattle - Aurora Site has already had it's public
For more information about the project, forums and the
other upcoming meetings please visit the City of Seattle, news advisory
South Park’s Main Street—14th Avenue
SEATTLE— SDOT will hold
a final open house on July 22 to inform the community of the improvements
coming to 14th Avenue South, the main business street through the South
Park neighborhood, between South Director Street and South Cloverdale
Street. Project staff will provide information regarding the final plans,
the order of the work, and the potential affects on traffic. Construction
is scheduled to begin early in August 2008 and be completed by February
The project will improve conditions for freight, pedestrians,
and general purpose traffic. Improvements will be made to the street
pavement, curb ramps, sidewalks, traffic signals, and drainage. Street
trees and public art are also included in the project.
Tuesday, July 22
Where: South Park Community Center, 8319 Eighth Avenue
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
receive regular project updates, visit SDOT's website at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/14ave_south_improvements.htm
Business after Hours - Change the
The Port of Seattle
Business After Hours, hosted for the Manufacturing Industrial Council,
SODO Business Association and West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, date has
Please join your Port for an evening of fun in the park
featuring appetizers and hosted beverages.
Date: Thursday, August 21,
Time: 5:30-7:30 PM
Place: Jack Block Park - 2130 Harbor Ave SW
(Just south of Salty's on Alki)
Parking: Plenty of parking in the
RSVP: By Monday, August 18th to 206-728-3449
Duwamish River Festival
This free, fun, family-friendly environmental festival's feature
attraction is updates on the Duwamish River Superfund cleanup. This year's
event will have even more booths and activities including kayak tours on
the river, live entertainment, water taxi rides, food, children's
activities, health information, tiny tots nail salon, an eco-friendly car
wash demonstration, and more!
Saturday, August 23rd, from 11 a.m.
to 3 p.m. at the Duwamish Waterway Park in Seattle's South Park
neighborhood. The address is 7900 10th Avenue S., Seattle. Click here for
sponsors include: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the Washington
State Department of Ecology; the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition; King
County; Port of Seattle; The Boeing Company; Seattle Public Utilities;
Public Health - Seattle and King County; Puget Sound Clean Air Agency;
Field Roast Grain Meat Co.; Alki Kayak Tours; Bluefield Holdings, Inc.;
Cascade Land Conservancy; Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement
Program; Windward Environmental; City of Tukwila; and Global Diving and
1st Ave S – Paving
Paving for 1st Ave S (E
Marginal Way S – S Hudson St) has been delayed due to unforeseen concrete
repairs. Expect lane closures in the designated work area from now until
possibly next week as the concrete is being replaced. The repairs must
happen before crews start repaving the street. The repaving part of this
project for 1st Ave S between E Marginal Way S through S Hudson St will
likely be take place during the last week of July.