FIVE YEARS ago tank cleaning specialist, Quala, became a free-standing entity. During that half decade, the Tampa-based company pursued an aggressive growth campaign catapulting it to the largest commercial container cleaning operator in the United States.
Founded in 2009, Quala has more than 600 employees in 57 locations in the US and Canada.
And there is more ahead. Management expects the growth to accelerate through both new builds and acquisitions, with the bulk of growth coming from the United States and Canada. Quala’s five main growth areas include: bulk tank trailers; ISO tanks; intermediate bulk containers (IBCs); wastewater treating; and rail cleaning. And the company will leverage future acquisitions to add capabilities in each of those areas.
“We’re growing and continually looking for strategic approaches to expand our footprint in foodgrade and chemical cleaning,” said Terry O’Brien, president of Quala. “We’re also investing in and developing other services, including ISO tank containers, intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), frac tanks, and wastewater treatment.”
“We remain optimistic about the economy, especially in light of recent reports showing that U.S. chemical production grew by 4.6% at the beginning of this year. Quala is well positioned to address the needs of our customers who are hauling those chemical loads.”
Today, Quala operates 57 commercial tank cleaning facilities across the United States and in Canada (with three locations). That figure is up from 27 locations five years ago. The company averaged two acquisitions a year, as well as facility upgrades and expansions.
The largest, newest and most impressive addition to the Quala portfolio will open for business in Savannah, Georgia on April 1 followed by a ground-breaking ceremony on May 5. The 36,290-sq-ft facility on 9.5 acres will be up and running less than six months after breaking ground.
“This is our most expansive new build in the past five years, and it is a significant addition to our overall business,” O’Brien said. “Due to the hard work and dedication of our employees, we remained on schedule with construction despite challenging winter conditions. We look forward to introducing the Savannah facility to our customers, while enhancing our existing service offerings.
Quala’s new facility boasts four technologically advanced and environmentally sound chemical cleaning bays, two sophisticated foodgrade wash bays, and four maintenance bays. More than 6,900 square feet of office space is available for lease, and 2,152 square feet is devoted to the truck drivers’ lounge, break room and rest rooms.
The vat-style wash system was built to Quala specifications. Boilers supply enough steam to handle up to 12 tanks at a time.
The Savannah location will handle tank trailers and tank containers and have ample room for tank container storage.
During construction of the new Savannah facility in 2014, Quala’s acquisition efforts increased with Cronbaugh Tank Wash in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Long Tank Wash in Beaumont, Texas.
“The Long Tank Wash acquisition in Beaumont was a strong strategic decision enabling Quala to accelerate its North American expansion in the ever growing market in the Gulf Coast,” said Mike Bauer, chief executive officer of Quala. “Acquiring Long Tank Wash supports our overall growth strategy as we continue to diversify and broaden our service offerings and capabilities into new markets.”
The construction of Long Tank Wash was completed in 2014, and the facility focuses on cleaning petroleum products. It offers three tank wash bays and four frac tank and roll-container cleaning bays.
“Our goal is to expand the cleaning capabilities at this wash rack to handle general chemicals,” O’Brien said.
The new acquisition in Beaumont adds to Quala’s list of existing facilities on the Gulf Coast. In addition, Quala has four locations in Houston, Texas.
Going forward, O’Brien concluded: “We’ll do whatever makes the best economic sense in any given market.” ♦