When the wind energy company Iberdrola Renewable completes construction of a wind farm, it is common for there to be unused supplies and materials such as electric cable laying around.
That equipment is both valuable and can be used on other projects, so Iberdrola has contracted with Red Arrow Logistics to gather this unused material and move it to other project sites.
For example, Red Arrow is currently moving material from completed wind farms in Rosamond, Calif.; Odella, Ill.; and Astoria, S.D. to the Groton Wind Project in Rumney, N.H., which will consist of 24 wind turbines spread across 36,493 acres over three mountaintops.
Liz Lasater, chief executive officer of Red Arrow, started her company in 2003 after 15 years in freight transportation, including stints at APL, Sea-Land and Fritz Cos.
A non-asset third party logistics firm, Red Arrow has grown revenues 82 percent over the past three years to $8.5 million, according to Inc.
magazine, which lists the Issaquah, Wash.-based company as No. 2,803 on its list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the United States. It has about a dozen employees.
Lasater said her strategy when she founded the company was to target companies that needed a high level of service.
“All of our customers touch one of three areas—they either ship something that is of very high value, is very time-sensitive, or very specialized requiring special handling or over-dimensional or overweight.”
She originally targeted four sectors—food and beverage, high-tech products, consumer goods, and defense.
She said when President Obama came into office and increased spending on renewable energy and public works projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, “we went out and developed a lot of expertise in those markets. Since then we’ve also added aerospace and life sciences, so we now have eight core sectors.”
In the area of public works, Red Arrow has moved materials such as transformers, steel, and tracks for a section of the Seattle monorail, and building materials for a waste treatment plant at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation where the government is engaged in a massive cleanup of the site where plutonium was produced for nuclear weapons.
In the alternative energy business, her company moves solar equipment in addition to wind energy equipment.
Even before adding public works and alternative energy as verticals, she noted Red Arrow had been doing project work, for example, helping an electronics company move an entire distribution center, or mission critical moves for the U.S. Defense Department related to deployment or training.
She noted that working at a wind farm site can be logistically challenging because equipment can be spread over thousands of acres, often up hills in extremely remote areas.
“There are no docks, there are no forklifts. It’s not your typical delivery site. We send either a crane or specialized forklift—typically you have to drive through gravel where a traditional forklift would sink,” she said.
“We load it onto a specialized piece of equipment, a flatbed or a low boy, strap it in and take it to the next job site. Sometimes those job sites may have equipment to offload them. If they don’t, we will contract and hire a forklift to unload the truck.”
The work Red Arrow has done has allowed Iberdrola to not leave material behind and realize significant cost savings. The company also supports Iberdrola wind farms at other locations in North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Massachusetts.
Lasater is bullish on public works growth, and by having a diverse book of business she said Red Arrow has done projects on all but two continents. “We have not really felt the economic effects of the recession," she said. - Chris Dupin