Top Shops: Employees drive Tri-State Fabricators to Growth, Success

This three-time recipient of the Top Shops award emphasizes human resources and training.


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Not every employee at Tri-State Fabricators is named Vogt, but the family-friendly feel of this shop located outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, makes it seem like everyone is part owner.

“The key to keeping quality employees is to treat them right, be fair with them, show them respect and make them feel important,” says Rick Vogt, company president. “We strive to make sure our employees are told when they do a great job, and we let them know we appreciate all their hard work.”

That philosophy is one reason Tri-State Fabricators is a three-time recipient of the Products Finishing Top Shops award, this year as an honoree in the Training and Human Resources category.

Making workers feel like a big part of the organization has been important for the company’s growth. Tri-State Fabricators has more than 60 employees, boasting just a miniscule 3 percent turnover rate. Much of that retention can be attributed to the company’s decision to offer an annual review and raise program, formal safety/health program and profit-sharing plan, as well as team-building practices that encourage participation.

“We have always cared profoundly about our customer partnerships, team, business, and the beautiful country in which we live and work,” Vogt says. “We refer to this as the TSF Method, and it has served us extremely well for over 30 years.”

Founded in 1983 by Jay Richard (Dick) Vogt and sons Rick, Jeff and Chris, Tri-State Fabricators started out in an old milk factory with a small number of machines and very limited capabilities. After several years of hard work and putting all profits back into the company, the operation was able to move into a larger facility, and in 1996 the owners bought land in an industrial park to build a 125,000 square foot building that Rick Vogt says has opened many new doors for the company.

Included in that facility is a full conveyor line for liquid coating operations and an independent booth for larger jobs. The shop also features a full conveyor line for powder coating that runs through a three-stage wash and two independent booths for larger jobs. Pretreatment is done with abrasive blasting or by spray phosphate, and the spray booth is equipped with two electrostatic application units and a dual-cartridge collection system. The oven and booth can handle parts as big as 25 by 10 by 10 feet.

“I believe our finish operation is one of the best in the U.S. because of the employees we have,” Vogt says. “We have a group of skilled, dedicated workers who take pride in what they do. They look at the products as if they themselves were buying them.”

Tri-State Fabricators’ training program has also helped the company retain employees who seem to grow in their capabilities each year.

“A good training process ensures that the next generation of employees is taught the same way as the previous,” Vogt says. “It makes sure all our products are held to our high expectations, and no matter who works on it, we get the same results.”  

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