By Casey Smith
Copyright © 2015 BH Media Group Holdings, Inc.
CATOOSA — Word Industries Fabrication LLC, a company that President and CEO Tom Word affectionately refers to as a “restart,” is now operating out of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa and is the focus of big plans for growth.
The company produces prefabricated piping systems used by a variety of businesses that include petro-chemical, food processing, and pharmaceutical plants; oil and gas; refineries; and breweries.
Word Industries Fabrication began moving into its 44,000-square-foot facility at the port over the Fourth of July weekend. Soon, Word said, they plan to expand their workforce from about 55 employees to as many as 175.
They also plan to open another facility at the industrial complex during the next couple of years.
“The port is a great location because it has logistic advantages in the way of being able to obtain raw materials by water, truck or rail and also being able to ship by those three modes of transportation,” Word said.
The company’s executive vice president, Cecil Hartman, said they also feel that their location at the port will be beneficial as they begin hiring for positions that include additional welders, pipefitters and administrative staff.
“We feel it’s a good labor pool out here,” Hartman said.
Started in 2011, Word Industries Fabrication LLC is somewhat of a reincarnation of Word Industries Inc., a company that Word founded in 1970. The original company still exists to hold assets and owns the majority of the new entity’s stock.
In addition to prefabricated piping systems, the new company also houses subsidiary Eagle Claw Fabrication LLC and production of its patent-protected device “The Claw.” The piece of machinery offers a safer, faster way to load, transport and offload piping systems.
Word said that he used to keep “The Claw” exclusive to his business, but decided to begin marketing the tool when he started Word Industries Fabrication LLC.
“We didn’t commercialize it because we wanted to use it as a competitive edge for our company,” Word said. “We didn’t want anyone else to have it because it was a big selling point.”
But now, Word said, the market for prefabricated piping is so strong that there’s no need for them to keep ‘The Claw’ to themselves.
“We’re basically looking at a trillion-dollar market for prefabricated piping,” Word said.
That robust market is the reason that Word decided to start Word Industries Fabrication along with Hartman, who he’s worked with for 35 years, and Jon Brim, the company’s operating manager, who they met while engaged in a short-lived wind power project around 2009.
Word said he expects Word Industries Fabrication to make about $9 million in sales this year and in the next five years expects to ramp that figure up to about $20 million annually.
They also plan to begin marketing another patent-protected device that eliminates the need to retorque bolted flange connections.
“We’re really anxious to introduce it to the engineering, procurement and construction market,” Word said. “But we have more research and development to do.”