The 2015 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Manufacturer of the Year, Large Firms

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WINNER

Romac Industries

Bothell

Romac’s products are as critical as they are unseen. It makes repair clamps, couplings and other devices, fittings and tools used in water works, waste-treatment plants and for keeping distribution and collection systems in working order.

Founded in 1969 by Manford “Mac” McNeil with an innovative stainless-steel repair clamp, the business has grown to several hundred employees and an extensive catalog of products. Now in its third generation of family leadership, Romac continues to add to its product portfolio with increased R&D spending and new patents. These products are not only designed and assembled in house; the components are often Romac-built as well. The firm operates its own iron-casting foundry, molds its own rubber gaskets, makes its own stainless-steel bots, and fabricates its own washers and tools.

That practice, the company believes, keeps the supply chain simple and efficient, by assuring parts are made to exact specifications and that design changes can be handled quickly. Romac backed up that philosophy with a $2.7 million, 25,000-square-foot expansion of its Sultan foundry last year. 

SILVER AWARD

Rainier Industries

Tukwila

Rainier Industries is one of the region’s Klondike gold rush companies. You can still buy tents from Rainier — the kind large enough to hold a corporate event or a wedding reception in — but you can also get yurts, awnings and shades, retail displays, exhibits and giant banners. It even is testing material that could be used to install an Andy Warhol-designed flower on the Tacoma Dome roof. Rainier has been on an acquisition/expansion tear in recent years and keeps an eye out for more opportunities. In the meantime, it has invested $1 million in new printing technology to improve quality and cut production time.  

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