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Steel fabricator to upgrade painting, finishin facilities.

Steel fabricator to upgrade painting, finishing facilities

In 1975 Nor-Arc Steel Fabricators had only a small building and a staff of one.

That lone worker, founder and president of the Earlton Ont.-based company Denis Leveille, started out by servicing heavy equipment. The following year his brother Ray joined Nor-Arc, bringing the total staff to two.

In 1977 the Leveille business underwent the first in a series of changes.

"We expanded to increase our service to the mining and forestry industries," Denis Leveille recalls. The expansion added 3,600 square feet.

With better facilities the Leveilles starting filling their new and improved shop with the most modern and efficient steel fabricating equipment available. Nor-Arc was entering the upper echelons of the Northern Ontario steel fabricating industry.

Although the days of splendid simplicity and disorganization are history, Leveille does not forget them.

"I remember when we would set one night a week apart and meet at someone's house and do the books and clerical work," he recalls. "We never dreamed it would get this big."

Today the company operates from a 9,600-square-foot facility and it employs from 50 to 80 people, depending on the workload. The company moves 2,000 tons of steel per year and has a service area which includes Northern and southern Ontario, as well as Quebec and Manitoba.

"We're in the running on every job bid," Leveille says. "If we don't get it, we're always second or third."

"We stock more steel than most other companies," Leveille says. "Because of this and our better equipment, we can handle rush jobs around the clock. Availability is the key to our business."

Through the recession Nor-Arc has had to cut its staff by approximately 20, but it is expecting most workers will be called back this spring.

"Business will get better with farming and bush work picking up," Leveille says with a smile.

Problems arise when companies try to outbid each other, and some bids come in too low to make a profit. For a larger company with a greater overhead such as Nor-Arc, bidding on smaller jobs becomes almost pointless.

"A lot of fabricators have had to cut their prices just to survive," Leveille says.

Despite tough times, the three Leveille brothers - Alphonse is also a partner - are not planning on cutting back. They are, instead, planning more expansion.

Nor-Arc's most recent move, a government-aided $750,000 building addition and equipment purchase in 1989 will be followed by the addition of more modern painting and finishing facilities in the near future.

This added service will make competition step up their facilities to keep pace. But, as Leveille puts it, there is a lot of work for everyone, and everyone gets their share.

PHOTO : Having undergone a $750,000 expansion in 1989, Earlton's Nor-Arc Steel Fabricators is now looking at modernizing its painting and finishing facilities.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Report on Construction; Nor-Arc Steel Fabricators
Author:Milne, Tim
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:May 1, 1991
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