BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Steady growth in the national economy and a climate favoring capital investment is driving a 50 percent increase in production at Bellingham Marine's Southeast Division, the company reported in a recent release.
The division, headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., is Bellingham's manufacturing center in the area, making Unifloat concrete floating docks, Unistack dry storage buildings and a wide variety of marina components for owners and operators from North Carolina to Texas and throughout the Gulf and Caribbean.
The division launched an aggressive 5-year expansion plan in 2001 that is nearing completion.
"It would have been difficult to handle the current orders and backlog without expansion," said Lee Bazile, Southeast general manager. "We had tremendous optimism about the future of the marina industry in our area. To have our growth match our plan is very satisfying, and we’re pleased with the way each new addition came in an orderly fashion."
After exploring many options, including the acquisition of a nearby competitor, Bellingham decided to expand through land acquisition and leasing.
The Jacksonville facility was expanded to allow concrete float casting, wood waler fabrication, metal fabrication and floating dock subassembly to be reorganized into dedicated production operations, each with its own separate location, staff and tooling.
The plant now occupies nearly five times the land it did before the expansion.
Bellingham Marine said its metal fabrication facility in Callahan, Fla., 20 miles north of Jacksonville, is also running at 50 percent higher production levels than last year. The plant primarily serves as the central production facility for the company’s Unistack Dry Storage buildings. Bellingham also fabricates dock hardware and aluminum gangways at the 7-acre facility.
Bellingham adds project manager
The company said it also has made a key personnel change.
Cliff Norton, formerly a project coordinator with a major Jacksonville-based marina construction subcontractor, joined Bellingham in April as construction project manager. Norton is responsible for all southeast construction.
"Having all project managers report to Cliff standardizes our off-site operations, improves quality and assures on-time performance," said marketing vice president Phil Greenman.
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