A 125,000 square-foot garage?

Nelson Steel Products

Nelson Steel Products Building

Nelson Ryzenga probably never looked at his little garage in the 1940s and said to himself, "This could be the start of something big." He probably never imagined that his business would evolve into a center for complete steel fabrication and robotic welding. But from 1945 on, it was hard for Ryzenga Welding and Steel Works not to grow. Folks liked the fact that Nelson was willing to help them solve their problems. They especially liked that he was honest, worked hard and was fair.

By 1946, the business had outgrown the garage. Before long, the shop was doing fewer miscellaneous repairs and more larger-scale welding jobs, mostly for the agricultural implement market. The young company began to do overflow work from Welding Products, a supplier to the agricultural products manufacturer, Big Dutchman. Armed with an old-fashioned work ethic and two aggressive sons, Wally and Roger, Nelson continued to grow the business.

The big break came in 1968 when the company landed a government contract to supply trailer frames for the U.S. Army. The contract was a catalyst and led to new equipment, a new plant and additional employees. The opportunity was also the turning point-the chance the company needed to move from a small-time welding works to a large-scale production welding facility.

In 1959, the company officially became Nelson Steel Products, Inc. By the time the government work ended in the late 1960s, Nelson Steel was well positioned to continue large-scale production welding work. Today, the company is widely known as a single source for complete steel fabrication, robotic welding and laser cutting. And that reputation for integrity? It's still the most powerful force driving the business today.