This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

February 10th, 2003

The "A Team"

Don't you love it when a plan comes together? Sort of like the "A-Team!"

Ready for Taping JC (my husband), and I took a 35 minute trip from our home just South of the Hood Canal Bridge in Washington, to Sequim, Washington this week to see the progress on a brand new manufacturing facility. The facility has to do with rod building - and I'm one of those women who find hardware stores, lumber yards and manufacturing plants absolutely fascinating.

The last time we were on the property, the building was up, walls and roof, and we were told about what was coming. Very cool. But seeing it up, operating, and getting a personal tour was really special.

I've kept you guessing long enough, the facility is Cascade Composites, a rod blank factory. The sole purpose for this new manufacturing plant is to supply Rainshadow blanks for Batson Enterprises. We've known Bob Batson for some time, and have admired what he has done to supply rod builders with quality products. (Batson Enterprises is a Sponsor on FAOL, and as with all our Sponsors is here by invitation.)

Taping the mandrel

Rolling the fabric on the mandrel

But Bob wasn't satisfied with what he was able to purchase for blanks - and wanted an American-made blank which was superior quality. His vision was to build a rod blank factory. He began putting the parts together in 1995. It lives.

With the help of engineering genius and visionary Don Mook, the facility and each piece of equipment was developed on site to make Cascade Composites the state-of-the-art facility. The building is large, 9,760 square feet, and will by summer employ 27 full-time people. The care of the employees was very evident in our tour - as was their positive attitude.

Final sanding before coating

Bob Batson and the bake oven

We were allowed to see all of the steps and processes taken to make the rods, and one of the things which was especially impressive were the bake and coatings ovens. A marvel of efficiency in design.

Bob mentioned one of the advantages of this facility as compared to a plant which manufactures finished rods, is they can and must give more attention to details in producing the blanks. The blanks must be better than those produced as 'finished rods' because you can't cover anything up. They are checked many times before the customer ever receives them, anything faulty is discarded.

Bob can be very proud of the complex he has built within the city limits of Sequim. The whole facility covers 30,000 sqaure feet, with the distribution part of the business, Batson Enterprises, employing 9 people.

Production Floor Cascade Composites

But Bob isn't resting on a job well done - he has more ideas, and new things for the rod builders. Stay tuned. ~ The LadyFisher

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