Offering 'Top Dog' welding and fabrication services
The Prineville business community has recently gained a welding and fabrication business, with an emphasis on metal fabrication.
Tim Schelhaas opened his business, Top Dog Fabrications LLC, on Cessna Drive in July. He moved to Prineville to be close to family, but he also has found that the commercial lease and rent is much more reasonable than in Portland. The company he was working for prior to starting Top Dog Fabrications was Edwards Vacuum, a high vacuum company that does a lot of contract work and sales with semi-conductor companies. Intel was their largest customer—which was the reason for their home base in Hillsboro.
He was a mechanical engineer for Edwards Vacuum, and Schelhaas has used his skills and experience in moving forward with his new company.
"I had a great relationship with everybody at work, and I had a team working for me of about five individuals," he explained. "But with COVID, it really changed my mindset and my focus a little bit. I have a lot of energy, so I am constantly go, go, go. I am not cut out to sit at home and work from a computer. Unfortunately, I was laid off, so the choice really wasn't mine to make."
He moved to Prineville and set up shop. Schelhaas moved to Prineville in March and opened his shop in July to customers. He created Top Dog Fabrications as a means to an end, as he has always wanted to have a fabrications business. His primary focus is working with metal. He also provides services with fiberglass, wood, glass, composites and plastics.
"My primary focus is metal fabrication," Schelhaas added.
The services they offer from day to day involve a plasma cutter. He has a CNC plasma table that can cut out any two-dimension object up to one-inch thick.
"That could be a part for a tractor for a farmer or it could be a monogram for your office."
In addition, his business has the ability to weld and bend objects into a number of things. Schelhaas also offers powder coating, which he has found to be his biggest seller for the local community for non-industrial applications.
"Powder coating is super popular. Actually, I am working with Les Schwab right now," Schelhaas pointed out.
He has a symbiotic relationship with them, which is how he likes working with other companies. He spent four days meeting every business owner in town when he first opened his business.
"Being a business owner, you have to put yourself out there," he noted. "I can't just sit in the office and expect customers to come to me."
He also indicated that he uses Facebook and social media, where he gets a lot of his business. He also gets a lot of referrals.
Schelhaas has used his talents and experience to his advantage in his new business.
"When I was younger, I was always fascinated with taking things apart and putting them back together," he said.
The first academic volunteer work he did as a youth was working for STRUT, which stands for Students Recycling Used Technology, of which INTEL was the largest contributor of STRUT. He grew up in Scappoose, and he later pursued computer science in his early 20s.
In his early career, Schelhaas had a small drone business for five years. He initially built commercial drones, then began his own drone business doing photography and scientific research. He did everything from studying Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens, to inspections at dams, including Hoover Dam. He has also done commercial photography for Discovery Channel, A & E, Swamp People and HGTV.
"I have always loved building more than doing. I would rather build a race car than race it. I am more of a builder than necessarily a doer."
When he was a child, he built homemade go-carts from lawn mower engines and little dune buggies and little minibikes. He liked riding ATVS, dirt bikes and motorcycles. He had a strong interest in motorsports. He carried this interest into his new business, and Schelhaas has a motorsports division, TDF Motorsports.
"We are making some motorsports parts as well," he added.
Schelhaas has two old dogs, Alex, a golden retriever and Irish setter mix, and Xander, a yellow lab.
"They are the name and face of the company," he emphasized.
He also pointed out that his staff at Top Dog Fabrications currently consists of himself, Alex and Xander.
Top dog Fabrications offers the ability of setting up an online appointment on their website, including appointments for TIG/MIG welding, CNC plasma machine time, powder coating, and CAD/CAM design. Schelhaas concluded that he is happy to set up an appointment for every individual as far as what they are comfortable in the presence of COVID-19.
Top Dog Fabrications
Contact: Tim Schelhaas
Address: 2617 SW Cessna Drive, Suite 101, Prineville, Oregon 97754
Phone: (503) 809-1041
Customers can find Tim Schelhaas on Facebook at Top Dog Fabrications
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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