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A.W. Kuettel & Sons Inc.: Midwestern Metal Fabrication

A.W. Kuettel & Sons Inc. (Kuettel & Sons) was founded in 1924 as a small sheet metal and roofing business in Duluth, Minn. Today, 88 years later, Kuettel & Sons has grown tremendously, though the team adheres to the same small-business philosophy.

Kuettel & Sons remains a family business today. Tom Kuettel, third-generation president of Kuettel & Sons, runs the operation with fourth-generation Adam Kuettel, vice president, and Jason Kuettel, secretary and treasurer. The team remains focused on professional service and sustainable growth, offering competitive pricing and quality roofing and metal products to industrial clients in the region.

During the busy season, Adam says there are as many as 90 professionals on the payroll. Kuettel & Sons is a union shop, employing Local 96 roofers, Local 10 sheet metal workers, Local 11 plumbing and pipefitting professionals, Local 49 operators, as well as Local 669 fire protection professionals. Kuettel & Sons relies on these skilled professionals, citing competent labor, focused on performance. The professionalism of Kuettel & Sons’ staff ensures the growth of the company, as well as the success of its industrial partners.

Facilities and Capabilities

The company’s new 19,500-square foot shop is located in the Airpark, and offers state-of-the-art fabrication equipment. There, Kuettel & Sons’ workers construct components with shears, brakes, computer-aided burning tables and other technology for precise cutting, bending and forming. Heavy-duty cranes increase mobility, allowing team members to move components around the plant for each step of the process.

Kuettel & Sons’ broad capabilities make it possible for the company to perform a diverse range of work. The team has completed several projects recently, utilizing shop equipment and skilled labor in the field to create impressive additions to local industrial operations. “We take everything from $100 roof leaks to $1 million mechanical and roofing contracts,” explains Adam.

As a local operation, the team relies on a network of strategic partners, including suppliers and subcontractors. Kuettel & Sons has built longstanding relationships with other regional businesses that offer reliability and controlled quality on any project, as a strong team offers variety and longevity for the company. All fabrication and installation is performed in house, but Adam says the team outsources electrical and temperature controls.

Functional, Polished Products

With broad capabilities, Kuettel & Sons has also had the opportunity to be involved in a range of unusual projects of varying sizes. “Our siding division provided the exteriors for an eight-unit, two-story condo built on Park Point in Duluth,” says Adam. The team provided a durable, customized siding solution to the client, which was installed by the company’s professionals using quality materials and hanging methods to extend the life of the client’s investment.

The roofing division offers the same unusual, customized service to clients. Whether a customer is looking for a standard commercial roof or something unusual and modern, Kuettel & Sons is ready to step up to the plate. The team recently installed one of the first vegetation roofs in Duluth.

The team’s plumbing and HVAC division, continuing along the green theme of modern installations, recently upgraded an office heating system. An aging hydronic system was replaced with high-efficiency natural gas, modulating boilers. The new system heats the building more effectively while also saving the client major energy costs. The team also recently overhauled a mechanical system at a Minnesota fire station, utilizing infrared heating and efficient air conditioning.

One of the most memorable and impressive recent projects performed by the Kuettel & Sons team comes from the fabrication shop. The company produced a 102-foot-long ship unloader, erected on the bank of the Ohio River. The team built the giant piece of machinery piece by piece in the shop before setting up the giant metal structure onsite.

Tom, Adam, Jason and the rest of the Kuettel & Sons team have more unusual projects down the pipeline, and the plan entails extending the company’s reach throughout the upper Midwest. “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing,” Adam notes. “Our growth has allowed us to expand and we’re in the middle of building a new shop.” The extra space will let the team stretch out a little bit, and make room for more equipment for the fabrication operation.

The executive team prioritizes performance. While the business is much larger than it was nearly nine decades ago, the trio sees a lot of potential for the future. With growing capabilities and changing technologies, the team at A.W. Kuettel and Sons Inc. is geared up for a long future of innovative, professional service.