In 2014, marine engineering firm Birdon America Inc. was awarded a multi-year U.S. Dept. of Defense (DOD) job to produce BEB (Bridge Erection Boat) vessels for the U.S. Army.
The prototypes for the job were built a few years earlier in Louisiana. Now, with the project in-hand, Birdon began to look for a permanent location for production. That search led them to the foot of the Rocky Mountains, in Denver, Colorado.
Shortly thereafter, they were joined by NAMJet. The company, acquired by Birdon's parent company three years earlier, makes high-thrust water jets that propel BEBs; technology that proved critical in landing the DOD contract.
The only missing piece was a local material supplier. The project called for marine-grade alloys, grade 5083 and 5086 alloys, as well as 6061 and other materials. Ryerson, with a service center located just five miles away from Birdon, answered that call.
All the pieces were coming together. You could say the local presence was working well for Birdon. But that soon changed.