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FEATURE STORY: Pod Manufacturing Taking Off in South Dakota


FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, October 2, 2018
CONTACT: Natalie Likness, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, 605.773.GOED (4633)


Pod Manufacturing Taking Off in South Dakota


Black Hawk, S.D. –  Ask a contractor what part of a project consumes the most time and often they’ll tell you it’s the bathroom. From residential to commercial, especially in the hospitality industry, carving out and properly plumbing bathrooms are often the culprits for setting projects behind schedule.

But a manufacturing company tucked away in the Black Hills of South Dakota is learning they may have the answer for keeping projects not only on time, but under budget. B&T Manufacturing, based in Black Hawk, South Dakota, 10 miles northwest of Rapid City, manufactures steel frame bathroom pods. These pods dramatically decrease construction time, as they’re manufactured off-site from a construction project. It’s something owner Tim Torpey says is his major selling point.

“Contractors like our product because not only can we produce pods quickly off-site, but we also deliver them on time, every time,” Torpey said. “Additionally, we provide excellent advice on how to streamline some construction processes and design that will greatly benefit the end user.”

Torpey, who retired out of the Air Force at Ellsworth Air Force Base as a lieutenant colonel, joined a company that specialized in defense contracting in Omaha, Neb. As a side-business, he began a small construction company and through a friend, learned of an opportunity supplying pre-fabricated steel-frame pods for hotels.

“It’s a lucrative business concept that’s big in Europe and Asia and now the United States is starting to take notice as well,” he said. “We’re wrapping up a contract for a hotel in California and we are hoping to secure a contract for army lodging.”

Torpey says after his friend connected him with a Hilton representative, his manufacturing leaped from a crawl to a run.

“The biggest selling point is that we manufacture our pods off-site in a climate-controlled facility. Contractors often lose production time when they’re building and plumbing out bathrooms. Subcontractors, weather and other factors limit production on a building site, so our pods eliminate those factors, giving way to on-time completion.

“Pod installation is cost efficient, sustainable and durable, and hotel contractors love it because they essentially slip our pods into each room and build around it,” Torpey explained. “Each pod is identical to the next one so building specs are precise, again, making project completion much easier.”

Torpey says that while there are competitors who produce similar products, their location and workforce is what sets them apart.

“Not only is South Dakota’s business climate an obvious sell but South Dakota is centrally located, too,” he said. “Because of our location we can easily ship our pods for quick delivery, no matter if they’re going east or west, north or south.

“In a region that primarily is in the service industry, we’ve found our manufacturing business thrives because of our workforce,” Torpey added. “The career market is beginning to fill and building relationships with students and faculty from the South Dakota School of Mines and Western Dakota Tech has been and will continue to be vital for future growth.”

To learn more about pod installation and B&T Manufacturing specifically, go to http://bandtmfg.com/.