Hanson Worldwide LLC
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Victor Martins
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
In 1942 Raymond Alvah Hanson, founder of Hanson Worldwide LLC (Hanson), decided to expand beyond his farming roots by sharing an innovative product and a can-do anything attitude. “Raymond was a farm boy, but he came up with a better way to increase productivity while harvesting wheat,” shares Chris Wood, president of Hanson.
The Washington-based company began producing Raymond’s automatic leveling device, saving farmers time and money. In the mid-1950s, Hanson continued to support agriculture, developing machines with automated controls to hold direction, grade and cross level.
“Raymond took the leveling technology and began to focus it on a larger scale, translating into canal building, slope pavement and casting concrete,” says Wood. “The notion was to build products and solutions no one else could and we’ve developed a worldwide reputation as a result.”
Hanson quickly became recognized as a world-leader in the design and manufacturing of canal construction machinery. “These machines operated in more than 50 countries and were responsible for major portions of the world’s reclamation work,” explains Wood. “Raymond received recognition by the U.S. Department of Commerce for the coveted E and E-Star awards, one of the highest honors an American company can earn.”
As an inventor, engineer and successful businessman, Raymond’s work has greatly influenced major farming operations, construction, mining and road building industry machinery around the globe. Today, Hanson continues Raymond’s legacy, focusing on designing and building ultra heavy-duty machinery that can operate without fail in nearly any environment, from the oil field to outer space.
“Over the years, Hanson has evolved to support multiple big-industry markets, from copper mines to oil sands operations,” notes Wood. “Our products and equipment are sold and shipped all over the world, especially in the Middle East and India.”
From the massive oil sands fields of Alberta to aerospace development in Seattle, the wheat farms of Palouse and aqueduct canal finishing in California, Hanson’s ingenuity has traveled far and wide.
“Over the last two years, we have shipped products to Indonesia, Australia, Italy and Canada,” shares Wood. “We’ve remained a fairly small firm, but our products are utilized all over the world.”
Hanson’s manufacturing capabilities begin with its world-class facilities. “We are based in Spokane, Wash., and we have three buildings which are about 800 feet long, 100 feet wide and 70 feet tall,” details Wood. “The site was an old magnesium mill and it encompasses 100 acres.”
This ideal manufacturing space allows for complete fabrication, machining, surface finishing, electrical, hydraulics and rig-up testing in-house, making for comprehensive turnkey machinery solutions. “When there are giant products that need to be manufactured, customers come to us because they know we can get the job done right here,” adds Wood. “The sheer size of things we can manufacture in our facility is quite impressive.”
Hanson specializes in industry-specific design, creating one-of-a-kind heavy industrial products to fit any need. “We’re not stuck in any one industry,” notes Wood. “Through the years we’ve built a lot of equipment for the Air Force and various defense contractors and we’re still doing that today – it is about 25 percent of our business – but right now, we’re mainly supporting the commercial space race and oil rig operations.”
The company’s sizable facility allows Hanson to assemble products out-of-sight competitors and customer’s competitors. “We have machine tools for welding spacecraft fuel tanks and equipment positioning and turning machinery, as well as extremely large aircraft list fixtures for radar testing,” details Wood. “We recently built a large gantry crane that was 65 feet tall, 65 feet wide and 65 feet long. It was shipped to Italy. Right now, we’re building a rocket transporter and erector.”
Wood says Hanson’s diversity also comes in handy across industries. “We recently used the center sections we manufacture for oil rigs and implemented it in the design and support of a rocket erector,” he explains. “We won that design-build contract, because we gave the client the best possible solution and they liked our approach.”
Hanson is working heavily to branch into new emerging product needs coming out of California’s famous Silicon Valley, supporting some of the most renowned technology companies in the world. “These companies are in the midst of designing new, more modular data centers and we’re offering our services in that development,” notes Wood. “Last year, we could hardly keep up with the demand for our oil rigging equipment, but we are still looking for diversity in other sectors to grow and down play our business cycles our customers face.”
Hanson also supports industries that are not so well-known. “Spokane is actually a quiet little technology center for the aluminum industry,” reveals Wood. “We build to their design by manufacturing large specialty casting troughs, which are a mix of stainless and regular steel to accommodate certain temperatures. This has been a big industry that’s not so much talked about for years, because of the cheap hydro power in the Pacific Northwest.”
Wood says being in the driver’s seat at Hanson allows him to see firsthand which markets are up and coming and it’s an interesting ride, because no two jobs or clients are alike. And what helps; Wood’s experience is as diversified as Hanson’s. “I also come from a farming background, but I’ve lived in Asia for six years and I’ve worked in five different countries and probably 35 states doing manufacturing and new product development,” he remarks.
And who better to lead such a diverse operation and continue Hanson’s legacy than Wood. From the Pacific Northwest coastline to the mountains of India, Hanson Worldwide LLC designs, engineers and builds innovative heavy equipment and products that keep the oil and gas, aerospace, mining, agriculture, military and many other industries moving forward.
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