Prior to starting Custom Dredge Works, CJ began the fabrication company that became the shop for Custom Dredge Works.
The original metal fabrication company, which started in 1982, is still in business and operates under the moniker: MidWestern Metals (MWM). Over the decades, MidWestern Metals has engaged in a large number of customized metal fabrication projects including projects for the US National Guard Helicopter Division, Ford Motor Company, KCI Incorporated, Dearborn Midwest Conveyor, and a wide assortment of customized industrial projects.
It was MWM’s reputation as an expert metal-fab shop which prompted a local aggregate mining operation in Topeka, Kansas to approach MWM to have their dredge overhauled and upgraded in 2000. The results of this project were so impressive that the mining operation asked MWM to build a facsimile of their existing dredge. The mining operation was so pleased that they ordered a second dredge and a booster pump.
This sudden success in dredge manufacturing inspired CJ and John to establish Custom Dredge Works, Inc. in 2001 as a subsidiary of MidWestern Metals. Local word-of-mouth advertising around Kansas, Iowa and Missouri, provided more dredge orders, rapid growth and established Custom Dredge Works as a significant dredge manufacturer in the mid-west.
Martin Marietta approached with an order for two large dredges. As one of the largest aggregate production corporations in the nation, Martin Marietta’s orders served as a springboard for Custom Dredge Works thrusting us into the limelight on the national stage.
2010 Custom Dredge Works began to produce dredges specifically designed for the lakes, rivers and coastal waterways of the US Dredge Contracting industry. Since 2010 many Dredge Contractors have entrusted Custom Dredge Works to work very closely with their ownership and staff to carefully design and develop a customized dredge specific for their unique needs and objectives. Through these experiences Custom Dredge Works has grown into one of the largest and most respected dredge manufacturers for the Dredge Contracting industry in the USA. Custom Dredge Works is a proud Sustaining Member of the Western Dredging Association (WEDA).
In 1985 MidWestern Metals leased a small space within a large industrial complex located in northern Topeka. Over the years as Custom Dredge Works was launched and grew exponentially in terms of production output and number of employees, MWM and CDW expanded their leased space within the complex many times to accommodate the growth. Eventually Custom Dredge Works and MidWestern Metals occupied the entire complex, which led them to acquire the entire property. They closed escrow in December 2015 on the property they now call their headquarters and home. The property consists of nearly 150,000 square feet of office, warehouse and manufacturing bays, and 20-acres of land that provides plenty of room to expand their facilities for increased production.
Despite competitors who have been active in the dredge manufacturing industry for a longer period of time, Custom Dredge Works has emerged as the premier dredge manufacturer for the Aggregate Mining Industry as well as the Dredge Contractor Industry. Custom Dredge Works has manufactured a very large fleet of dredges of almost every conceivable size and characteristic and has enjoyed increased market penetration nationwide and high annual growth rates. Their dredges are utilized all over the USA as well as many parts of the world by their growing list of very loyal customers.
In 2019 Custom Dredge Works is expanding its operations to increase output capacity. This expansion includes adding thousands of square feet and new buildings to their manufacturing facility, including a specialized Paint and Blast facility. Their planned expansion also includes more skilled employees to join their family, as well as new innovative leading-edge paint, metal fabrication, and hydraulic technologies. They are always adding more hi-tech computerized manufacturing machines to improve quality while increasing their rate of production.
In 2020 we closed escrow on 20 acre tract of land immediately next door to our original 16 acres of land where our manufacturing facility is located. Custom Dredge Works now sits on 36 acres of land, which is ample space for growth and expansion of our facilities for decades to come.
In 2021 there was a significant effort made to increase our annual dredge manufacturing output capacity. The demand for our heavy-duty mining dredges has continued to increase each and every year like clockwork as new Customers around the United States discover CDW and the exceptional quality and value of our dredges.
Our efforts in 2021 to increase our capacity focused on three primary areas: 1) Update many of our key Manufacturing Machines with the latest technology. 2) Reorganize and Streamline our Manufacturing Processes. 3) Add three new special purposed buildings to expand the square footage of our manufacturing operations. All of these objectives were achieved!
Each new building that was added in 2021 is 7,500 square foot in size. The first building is our BLAST facility, equipped with the latest steel Blasting technology, which allows us to properly clean and prepare each steel fabricated piece to be painted. Our Blasting area used to be located outdoors, which made us dependent upon weather conditions. Moving the Blasting area indoors allowed us to upgrade our Blasting technology and remove weather as variable of our productivity.
The second new building allowed us to achieve a tremendous expansion of our existing Paint facilities. We were also able to equip our new facility the latest cutting edge paint and curing technology.
The third new building has a 40-foot-tall roof in which we installed two 20-ton overhead gantry cranes. This extra-large interior space allows us to completely assemble a large dredge ‘in-doors’, once again removing potential weather issues or delays from the equation.
In 2022 we added two more 7,500 sq.ft. buildings, giving CDW a total of FIVE brand new buildings. These five new buildings expanded Custom Dredge Works’ enclosed manufacturing facilities to approximately 240,000sq.ft. under roof.
One of the new buildings added in 2022 is our new ‘Machining area’. The fifth new building allowed us to significantly expand the size of our Parts Department and Parts Warehouse. Custom Dredge Works now has over 17,500 sq.ft. dedicated to maintaining a large selection Dredge Parts and Components for our Customers. The new Parts Warehouse also includes a new Shipping & Receiving department to expedite replacement Parts to our Customers.
A large fenced in concrete pad now provides more than 10,000sq.ft. of secured outdoor storage, which has been a welcomed addition.
With 36 acres at our disposal, we have set our sights on adding a 10,000sq.ft. Pump and Equipment Storage facility.