Co-founders Shane and Sadie Church are leveraging a turnkey approach to metal buildings as well as automation to continually expand services in contract manufacturing.
Launched as SFC Welding, SFC Tec has grown from a single piece of equipment to a full-fledged manufacturing operation in a little more than five years.
“We decided to buy a plasma table and put it in our garage,” says Sadie. “That’s how we started with a little LLC [in 2014].”
“We landed a job erecting shades for a dairy. Shane designed them so they were only on two legs, and they got pretty popular. It was a $750,000 job that boosted us into this world we’re in now.”
Shane and Sadie soon quit their day jobs at the local power plant. “We bought a building on Main Street and started doing repair and custom fabrication work,” says Sadie. “Then we got into manufacturing our own custom metal buildings and installing them. Now we do everything from the groundwork to the concrete to fabbing the building.”
Metal buildings now account for the majority of the company’s sales. Sourcing steel from suppliers in the Salt Lake area, the company has built structures ranging from 2,500 square feet to 30,000 square feet locally and in the Salt Lake area, including a 10,800-square-foot horse arena in Delta.
“Another horse arena is on the books for this summer,” says Sadie. “We’re able to do those clear span buildings. We can engineer them to go out really wide — 75 feet wide, 90 feet wide, depending on what the customer wants as far as clear span goes.”
SFC Welding recently rebranded to SFC Tec as the company’s capabilities expanded as it added CNC machines, a 90-ton crane, and other equipment. “Yes, we do welding, but we do a whole lot more,” says Sadie. “We have a state-of-the-art machine shop now. . . . We have two 5-axis and two 3-axis mills, and we’re working on getting a couple lathes to grow the opportunities.”
The company leverages automation in the form of two robots. “With the robots, it only really takes one or two guys to run the machine shop,” says Sadie. “We’re keeping the machines online with our robots, so it’s going really good.”
Such investments allow the company to take on a variety of contract work to leverage its capacity. “We’re doing high-volume contract jobs for the mining industry,” says Sadie, noting that local industrial customers include Sawtooth Caverns and Materion.
SFC Tec expanded into a company-owned 30,000-square-foot facility on 50 acres with industrial water rights in Delta. “Lots and lots of room to grow,” says Sadie.
Sadie says the company’s “turnkey solutions” are a big differentiator: Not only does SFC Tec fabricate the buildings, the company is also a licensed general contractor. “We can do from start to finish the whole job, and that sets us apart in this area,” says Sadie. “In the machining world, we’re pretty high-tech as far as that goes.”
Sadie is bullish the company will continue to grow. “We feel like the growth is still there,” she says. “I guess it all depends on what the economy does.”
Challenges: “Shipping-wise, we get some delays, but mostly because it’s just steel, we haven’t run out of supplies,” says Sadie.
She adds, “What’s wrong with the Delta area is the lack of people. Lack of housing, lack of people to be able to hire — especially skilled people. We usually have to relocate them here to get the skilled employees. We do a lot of on-the-job training for the guys who don’t come with experience. It’s getting to the point now where we’re contemplating building our own apartment complexes just for employee housing, just because it’s so bad here.”
Opportunities: Custom metal buildings “We keep getting more and more requests for buildings,” says Sadie.
The company’s 50-acre property offers another potential opportunity: “We’re thinking of possibly growing it into an industrial park — you know, build the buildings and then lease them out to different customers.”
Needs: Experienced machinists. “We’re always looking for self-motivated, skilled workers that know these machines,” says Sadie.