The Voice for Industry
July 16, 2008
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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 period.

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 strong.

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 soaring too.

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 forum
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 sites;

  • Wednesday, July 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, located at 225 Mercer Street – focus: Interbay site.

  • The North Seattle - Aurora Site has already had it's public forum.

For more information about the project, forums and the other upcoming meetings please visit the City of Seattle, news advisory website: or

South Park’s Main Street—14th Avenue S
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 2009.

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.

When: Tuesday, July 22
Where: South Park Community Center, 8319 Eighth Avenue South.
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Refreshments provided

To receive regular project updates, visit SDOT's website at

Business after Hours - Change the Date!
The Port of Seattle Business After Hours, hosted for the Manufacturing Industrial Council, SODO Business Association and West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, date has changed.

Please join your Port for an evening of fun in the park featuring appetizers and hosted beverages.
Date: Thursday, August 21, 2008
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 park
RSVP: By Monday, August 18th to 206-728-3449

Duwamish River Festival 2008
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 directions:
More information:

Program 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 Salvage, Inc.

1st Ave S – Paving Project
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.

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Renewing Members
Cobalt Group
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New Members
Emerald Services
North Star Ice
Industrial Tire

More Info?
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Next MIC Meeting
July 22, 2008
3:30-5:30 PM
5509 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108

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