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When hundreds of people are being laid off in small communities across the Iron Range, many businesses feel the pinch. READ MORE >>>

Starting in 1995 with one welder, one part-time secretary, and Robertson's dream, RMS Tritec has grown to 42 employees an nearly 10 million sales. RMS Tritec now has the largest equipment ability to form steel north of Chicago. In September, 2007, Tritec was busy building parts for a large coal handling facility in Chicago. Gold mines in Canada are also major clients.

RMS Tritec is a major producer of mining equipment for local mining operations, including a 560 gallon road dust reduction water tank for Hibbtac, the smoke stacks at Norshore, and scrubber system for US Steel.

RMS Tritec is also a source of new innovations, such as the 1135 gallon fuel tanks RMS Tritec designed to contain the diesel fuel for large production trucks in local mines.

In the spring of 2007, Tritec invested in a high definition computer controlled plasma cutter. Tritec also has the largest steel shearer of its kind in Minnesota. These investments are key in preparing for upcoming business with billions of dollars in mining projects on the horizon.

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DEED Commisioner Visits Range

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By: Renee Passal, WDIO

Laurentian Chamber of Commerce awards

VIRGINIA — Recipients of two special Laurentian Chamber of Commerce awards on Friday were humbled and emotional in speeches after being honored.Maureen Sadar received the "Outstanding Community Leader" honor, and Mitchel Robertson of RMS TriTec was given the "Business of the Year" award at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner at the Virginia Elks Club.

"I never thought I had done enough to deserve such an award," said Sadar, her voice breaking with the joy of the moment. "I especially want to thank my employer, U.S. Steel, for allowing me the time to be able to contribute to the community."
And Sadar, who is Human Resources coordinator for U.S. Steel’s Minnesota Ore Operations at Minntac in Mountain Iron, has a long list of community contributions. Her volunteer activities include:

  • Past president of the Virginia Regional Medical Center Foundation.
  • Current director of the VRMC Foundation.
  • Chairwoman of the VRMC Business & Professional Committee.
  • Current member of the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors.
  • Steering Committee member of the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Series.
  • Current director of the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce Board.
  • Past director of Range Mental Health.
  • Past director and chairwoman of Iron Range Rehabilitation Center.
  • Past director of Range Women’s Advocates.
  • Director of Taconite University.
  • Director of Mesabi Humane Society.
  • Coordinator of U.S. Steel United Way Employee Campaign.
  • Member of Mesabi Range Technical & Community College Advisory Board.

"I'm the luckiest guy in the world," Robertson said, speaking with his native, down-home West Virginia accent, while addressing the sold-out Annual Dinner crowd of 262.

Robertson was praised for always stepping forward to provide financial help with community projects, while also rolling up his sleeves to give of his time.

He thanked his family for supporting him while he worked hard to "take care of my people and my community."
He thanked his employees for their dedication, loyalty and hard work. He said he is now the "Billy Joel of the band," referring to the Tritec workforce. And Robertson said Tritec plans more growth.

"Where are we going? Up to Canada. We are going globally," he said.

Executive Editor, Mesabi Daily News


RMS Tritec of Minnesota has come a long way in the last 17 years.

The steel fabricating and machining firm started in a small shop in Mountain Iron and has grown into a 20,000 square foot facility with about 60 employees in Virginia.

“You’ve got to have the big shop to build the big pieces,’’ said RMS Tritec President Mitch Robertson. That was evident Tuesday as workers constructed several sections of a 108-foot-tall smokestack that is destined for a coal gasification plant in North Dakota. Sparks were flying off one portion of the smokestack as it was ground into shape, while a huge crane was lifting another section onto a flatbed trailer for the trip west.

RMS Tritec serves large-scale plants and mines of all kinds — from local taconite and power plants to copper and gold mines. Most recently, RMS Tritec has been working with the largest copper mine in Canada and gold mines, too. “The bigger jobs give us a competitive advantage,’’ Robertson said, because of the huge facility and 70 tons of lifting capacity with its cranes.

Their custom fabricated and machined products include work on production trucks, industrial ducts and chutes and a variety of steel structures. For example, RMS Tritec built about 40 percent of the Mesabi Nugget facility, Robertson said. Because of those well-known abilities, RMS Tritec expanded into Canada and is now marketing itself into Mexican and South American plants. Possibilities in South Africa and Australia are also being looked at.

“We’re trying to grow ourselves,’’ according to Robertson, who said worldwide contacts have been made at the World Mining Show in Las Vegas. “We’re always trying to diversify,’’ as all markets don’t hit at once. RMS Tritec doesn’t want to do too much too fast, though. “We don’t want to over-stretch our bounds,’’ Robertson said. After starting with just a few employees, RMS Tritec moved into the large storage building at the former Staver Foundry and slowly expanded its operations. The firm now employs 55-65 workers, which includes engineers, welders, accountants, managers and shop foremen in its 24-hour-a-day operation.

As the firm expanded, Robertson has depended on the area’s workforce to keep things running smoothly. The company’s president was concerned about that in the early years, but he said good prospects are coming out of Mesabi Range Community and Technical College, as well as the local engineering programs. “The workforce is definitely out there right now,’’ Robertson said.

RMS Tritec hopes to continue its growth in what Robertson says is a “stable’’ economy. The company has worked on its share of big projects, and he would like to see that continue. With that in mind, Robertson hopes PolyMet (copper/nickel/precious metals) and Essar Steel (taconite mine) move forward.
“The more plants we have up here, the better off we’re going to be.’’

Staff writer, Mesabi Daily News


© 2015 RMS Tritec. All rights reserved.
RMS Tritec LLC. • 210 East 8th Street South • P.O. Box 948 • Virginia, MN 55792 • Phone: 218.741.1083
RMS Tritec LLC. • Bismarck, ND • Phone: 701.516.4123