Monday, January 7, 2013

New Modular Factory Opens to Serve Man Camp Needs

In May, Daniel Boman attended a Bakken Housing Summit in Williston, N.D., where 350 builders and developers from around the country learned of oil-boom opportunities in the region.

For Boman, those opportunities were hard to resist.

He and his partner, Jim Auth, opened System Building Solutions in the old Boise Cascade plant in Laurel, MT now owned by Fox Lumber Sales of Hamilton, on Nov. 1. Boman is the president and CEO and Auth is his plant manager. They have nine workers so far, who are getting on-the-job training by building a two-story, 20-room modular housing unit designed for use as an oil field man camp.

Daniel Boman, left and Jim Auth in their factory
SBS plans to hire another nine workers in early February and then nine more every month for at least a year. Boman said they picked that number because it's the best size for training a new crew.

The production of high-density housing is the niche Boman sees his company filling, but he's open to anything his clients might want.

"What we are bringing to the market is simply construction capacity," Boman said. "If someone comes to us and says 'We want to build 500 single-family homes,' OK. We will consider that."

System Building Solutions is using lumber from its landlord, Fox Lumber Sales, which has owned the old Boise Cascade building, at 203 E. Railroad St., since the early 1990s. Fox shares the 80,000-square-foot main building with SBS and owns an adjoining 20,000-square-foot building where it makes trusses.

Boman is a native of Sweden who has been in the United States for 25 years. He came here to set up an international student exchange program and ended up staying. He got involved in real estate and then in construction, and for the past 10 years he has been an authorized builder for Nationwide Custom Homes.

Auth, who has more than 35 years in the modular home industry, used to be a plant manager for Nationwide and has worked for various companies up and down the Atlantic Coast.

Boman said he and Auth originally thought of putting their first completed building on display, by way of advertising, but they scrapped that idea. For one thing, they are selling construction, not a particular building.

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