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Ironton company to expand

An international manufacturer headquartered in Ironton is looking for a site to expand its operation for a multi-million contract that could add up to 25 jobs to the county.

DropBox Inc., based on the north end of Ironton, has entered into a joint venture with Satellite Shelters, a Minneapolis, Minn. company that provides job site offices and modular classrooms, to build blast resistance modules.

“DropBox will be the engineering, design and manufacturing arm of this venture,

Rob Slagel, DropBox CEO and owner, said. “Satellite will buy the units from us and rent them.”

The units will be used by refineries and petrochemical plants across the United States.

“DropBox has a fleet of these and Satellite will buy our existing fleet and put that into the joint venture fleet,” Slagel said.

The modules, also known as blast boxes, can withstand the pressure from extreme explosions that could happen at the refining sites.

“They will be used mainly as offices and break rooms, a place for the workers in the refineries so they are protected,” Slagel said.

For the first year of the five-year contract, Slagel expects to make a minimum of 60 units that cost about $84,000 a unit.

The manufacturing arm of DropBox is at the former Ashland Inc. hangar at the Worthington, Ky., airport. However that facility is running at capacity and Slagel is looking for a location exclusively for the joint venture. So far he has consider sites in South Point, Ironton, Boyd and Greenup counties in Kentucky and Athens.

“These blast boxes would warrant their own facility,” he said. “We stick-build them from the ground up from raw steel and welding into place.”

Each unit is 12 feet wide, 8 and a half feet high and 40 feet long and can hold a maximum of 30 people.

The building needed would be between 20,000 and 30,000 square feet with a 10-ton overhead crane and a permitted paint booth. The operation would start out with eight welders, two carpenters, two electricians, one plumber and one plant manager. By the end of the year it could employ up to 25 workers. Jobs would pay between $11 and $25 an hour.