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Entrepreneurial Couple Brings Pirtek to Portland, Ore.

Mon September 29, 2008 - West Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Choosing a business partner is a lot like choosing a mate: calculated, yet integral to the union’s overall success. Just ask husband and wife team and veteran entrepreneurs Kurt and Katrina Braaten, who opened Pirtek Parkrose this August at 11931 NE Sumner St., Portland, Ore.

Kurt and Katrina are no strangers to the entrepreneurial way of life. As a teenager growing up in Chicago, Kurt learned the ins and outs of the business world while working at his father’s insulation business. Kurt climbed the ranks over the years, eventually becoming a manager and part owner, and created two additional businesses specializing in gutters with his wife, Katrina. In 2001, the Braatens sold all three businesses to Installed Building Products — a division of Edwards Companies — and moved to Tampa to open another insulation business in 2003. By 2005, the couple was in need of another change so they again sold their existing business to Installed Business Products and began contemplating their next move. After a visit to Portland in 2006, the Braatens headed west and started building a new life to be complemented with a new business opportunity.

“We looked at a wide variety of industries from retail to catering but none proved to be exactly what would best utilize our skills and be a useful addition to the local market,” said Katrina. “We grew our businesses in both Chicago and Tampa from the ground up and wanted to retain that same autonomy with our next venture while having the support of a larger corporation behind us. When we came across Pirtek, we saw it was a perfect fit for our backgrounds and the market while also allowing us to be in business for ourselves but not by ourselves.”

Rockledge, Florida-based Pirtek USA is a provider of ETA 1 Hour On-Site Hose Replacement. Pirtek offers a 24-hour, 7-day service that serves almost every facet of industry including construction, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture and engineering among others.

There are nearly 40 Pirtek service centers nationwide and more than 180 Pirtek mobile service vans serving major metropolitan markets throughout the country. Projections are to open 12 service centers in 2008, increasing to 28 in 2009; it is estimated the United States could support 400 Pirtek locations. With so many businesses that can benefit from their services, the Braatens hope to contribute to this growth by adding seven or eight vans to their current operation before expanding to a second location to better service Portland, Gresham, Hillsboro, Salem and their surrounding communities.

“Countless area businesses, from marine operations and ski resorts to railways and construction, can utilize Pirtek’s services because we literally bring the business to them and get their operations back up and running as soon as possible,” said Kurt. “As a result, Katrina and I will be able to do what we do best: run and grow a high-quality business that other business owners will benefit from.”

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