Enduring Steel Structures

PKM Steel Service

Structural steel fabricator PKM Steel Service, Inc. fabricates steel for industrial and commercial buildings as well as simple bridges. It serves many industries including utilities, government, military and aviation. Its growth has primarily been in the Kansas market, yet PKM is a nationwide company that serves all lower forty-eight states and Alaska.
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“Most of our work comes to us based on our reputation for quality and on-time delivery,” says Frieda Mai Weis, the president and chief executive officer of PKM Steel Service. The company’s design-assist and design-build services deliver the most advanced solutions to unique construction, fabrication and erection predicaments.

The company was established in 1962, by Paul Mai as a one-man welding shop but has grown to over one hundred employees. Paul sold the company to his daughter Frieda in 1988; she became the chief executive officer in 2010 when he retired.

The company has two facilities in Salina, Kansas, where its founding values are still upheld. “My father built this company on a can-do attitude, which we still follow today. We stand behind the deadlines and schedules that we give our customers, and the work ethic here in the Midwest is strong,” says Frieda.

The company values are based on open communication and include working efficiently, operating cost-effectively, treating others with respect, managing stressful situations, doing the best possible job for the customer and consistently innovating and improving problem-solving skills. “We have to have the courage to make the tough decisions that need to be made on a project and stand by those decisions with effective communication to everyone once they’ve been made,” says Frieda. In a relatively competitive industry, PKM is unwilling to sacrifice its morals to make an extra dollar and holds itself to a high standard.

PKM Steel Service is industry accredited. It belongs to the Central Fabricators Association (CFA) and is certified by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) with the Sophisticated Paint Endorsement (SPE). It also has a short-span bridge endorsement from AISC and is certified by the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB). “We are, in many cases, capable of doing just about any type of weld design that any engineer can come up with and stand by our accreditations,” says Darien Henderson, director of business management.

The steel manufacturing industry is inherently dangerous, and PKM considers its employees’ safety to be its first duty and highest obligation. “Being able to produce and meet schedules, along with staying safe, is key to us. Safety is a big part of what we do every day,” says Darien. The company works closely with general contractors and erectors of structural steel. It uses distinctive configuration skills and trailer-loading techniques to increase safety, as well as other safety policies and practices that create a safe working environment.

Each person at PKM is responsible for implementing safety standards in all operations. “We have a great workforce. Our highly-skilled employees focus on quality and safety in the workplace, and that enables us to do a great job for our customers,” Frieda says proudly. The company has safety education and training programs, so all employees maintain awareness of the current safety standards and procedures. It also has fixed safety inspections to look for workplace hazards and undergoes safety program audits to ensure the safety and health of its employees.

The steel industry’s constantly fluctuating prices can be a challenge. While tackling tough schedules and tight deadlines, PKM must always work to manage the repercussions of aggressive price increases. It is also difficult to find capable fabricators. “Skilled labor is hard to find these days, and that is one of our biggest hurdles; replacing some of our aging employees has been a challenge,” says Darien.

The company believes that its customer service is what sets it apart. “We stand behind not only our price but our schedule as well. The service aspect of PKM Steel Service includes everything that comes with doing a good job: delivering on time and on budget with great service,” says Darien.

PKM provides its services to other fabricators in the United States as well, since its capabilities far exceed those of its competition. For example, its ability to lift weight is twice that of a standard shop, enabling it to complete large, heavy projects with ease; it has an eighty-ton lifting capacity, while the standard steel fabricating shop has a thirty to forty-ton lifting capacity.

The company strives to upgrade its fabrication procedures since efficient output is fundamental to the success of any manufacturing company. PKM ensures it only takes on projects that it can complete to the customer’s satisfaction.

The dedicated employees are an essential part of the company’s success. It has a very high tenure average, giving a remarkable number of combined years of experience and skill. This experience is incredibly useful for troubleshooting and problem solving, which is part of what distinguishes PKM from other steel fabricators. PKM Steel Service has a passion for teamwork and motivates and inspires its employees to improve skills and experience personal growth. Their innovative thinking, in turn, provides customers with exceptional solutions for clients.

PKM Steel Service is based on strong, mutually beneficial relationships. “Our vendors and suppliers are equally as important as our best customers because they help us get it done, and it takes a group effort. We have great relationships with the mills, the service centers, the subcontractors, the erectors and the vendors,” says Darien.

PKM Steel Service works on a variety of structures. It often completes projects for aircraft hangars and has also worked on assignments like sports stadiums that require large structures. The Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia is a multi-purpose, retractable-roof stadium project that PKM took part in last year. It is home to the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League and the Major League Soccer team Atlanta United FC. The company participated in the Arthur Ashe Stadium project in Queens, New York and the Miami Dolphins Stadium.

Other significant projects for the company include the Denver International Airport, the Principal Financial Group Headquarters, 515 Park Avenue, the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, the Kansas City Convention Center and Tinker Air Force Base.

The company has experienced tremendous growth over the years and sees more potential in the types of infrastructure plans that it hopes the president will announce. These “will keep people in the area very busy,” says Frieda. “There will be a lot more jobs coming back to the United States. There will be a lot more construction, industrial and manufacturing facilities. The future is bright,” and PKM Steel Service will continue to assist customers with the construction of innovative structures in an assortment of industries.

Building the Next Generation

As thousands of experienced workers retire across North America every day, it is small wonder many industries are concerned about the future. It has been a decade since the oldest members of the baby boom generation started leaving their jobs, removing from the workplace decades of experience and skills that are tough to replace. The situation is so dire that, when younger workers are not available or knowledgeable enough to take over, retired staffers are often called back to work on a part-time basis.

November 19, 2019, 5:52 PM EST