New growth

POLAR SERVICE Centers is busy living the philosophy of not resting on its laurels. The company has within a year acquired a business, opened three new repair facilities, and expanded two already in existence.

Headquartered in St Cloud, Minnesota, Polar Service Centers has acquired Tank Master Inc in Washington and opened new service centers in Minneapolis/St Paul, Beaumont, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina. The company's facilities in Joliet, Illinois, and Mobile, Alabama, have been expanded. In addition, a mobile service operation has been established in Laredo, Texas.

“These growth efforts are part of Polar Corp's overall operations and represent the many opportunities we see for the company,” said Mark Hunsley, Polar Service Center president. “The acquisition combines Tank Master's long history of quality service with Polar's excellent customer relationships and will enable us, along with our other expansions, to be an even stronger competitor in the marketplace.”

The Tank Master facilities at Spokane and Pasco, Washington, hold National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors “R” stamps. The July 2006 acquisition included purchase of all of the equipment, inventories, vehicles, and operations. Jack Lacher, Tank Master founder and general manager, as well as all of the employees were retained in the acquisition.

Tank Master has focused on installing truck mounted tanks, coded repairs, field service, inspections, and tank trailer and parts sales in the Northwest. The new Polar operation will be named Polar Service Centers Northwest dba Tank Master.

Combining the resources of Polar with the capabilities of Tank Master, the new operation will expand parts lines to include the full range of products carried at the other Polar locations and will include brakes, suspensions, running gear, and other trailer parts. Installation of truck mounted tanks will continue to be performed along with new trailer rigging.

In addition, Polar Service Centers Northwest will be selling the line of trailers manufactured by Polar Tank Trailer LLC.

Polar's new five-bay service center in the Minneapolis/St Paul area is adjacent to the Flint Hills Refinery in Inver Grove Heights. A full parts inventory is slated for Upper Midwest distribution.

In addition, the center will handle all the repair activities formally performed in Polar's Holdingford plant and will have the capacity to handle rollovers, re-barrels, and accident damages, as well as routine inspection, preventive maintenance, and small express shop repairs. Bill McGee has been named the facility's general manager.

In January 2006, Polar Service Center opened a code shop and parts outlet in Beaumont, Texas. “We have an eight-bay shop with a large parts inventory that will be able to support the tank trailer industry from Beaumont to Lake Charles, Louisiana,” said Allen Clark, Southwest regional manager. “In addition, we have added the mobile repair capability in Laredo, Texas, with plans to expand this operation in the near future.”

In March 2006, the company opened a repair and maintenance facility in Charlotte, North Carolina. “We refer to this operation and our Wellford, South Carolina, operation as Polar Express Shops,” said Terry Olson, Southeast Regional Manager. “We perform minor repairs, tractor preventive maintenance, and a full range of required tank trailer inspections. Major projects will be taken to our Spartanburg facility.”

Also this year, Polar expanded its operation in Joliet, Illinois, to 12 bays. John Marsh has been the manager of this facility since its inception.

In June, Polar expanded its Mobile, Alabama, services by moving into a new nine-bay shop. Polar started the service in Mobile in 2004 with three service bays. Dale Rivers, a lifelong resident of the Mobile area and former owner of a tank truck company, has been hired as general manager.

“In the last year or so, we have added hose assemblies, truck filter programs, blowers, truck rig outs, and other line extensions to our product offerings,” said Hunsley. “We are excited about these new services and we intend to continue this record of growth and improvements.

“The most important part of these expansion initiatives are the great general managers and their staff of parts personnel and service technicians in all of our locations. We are very proud of our team. With these good folks, we believe we can provide the highest quality repair work and customer service in every market we serve.”

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