Work Smarter & Harder: DRN + Dakota Precision Fabricating Spotlight
Innovation is happening in rural communities across North Dakota. Some view Silicon Valley or Detroit as epicenters of technological and automotive engineering. Industries at one time separate from one another, but now colliding in new ways. That same innovation between tech and steel is happening right here in our rural communities.
Hilary and Shannon Mehrer run and operate Dakota Precision Fabricating, a metal fabrications manufacturer that provides services across the country, including the production of flood wall and structural metal materials, to those like NASA, BOEING, and the World Trade Center.
Although they operate on a national scale, the Mehrers chose to grow their business from the small town of Forman, North Dakota.
“When we moved here, our boys were three and one,” says Hilary Mehrer. “We wanted a small school and we wanted them surrounded by family. That’s what brought us here.”
Having both grown up in small towns themselves, the Mehrers knew they wanted their kids to have a similar upbringing to their own. They grew up in a small, rural town where the school was a short walk away and the edge of town not that much farther. They knew when the evening whistle blew it was time to come home. Now, their kids run home upon hearing that same familiar call.
Hilary also knew she wanted to continue growing her family business to a national scale. At first, the two goals — raising a family in rural North Dakota and growing a nationally competitive business — seemed to pose a challenge. Thankfully, by working with their local broadband provider, Dickey Rural Networks (DRN), they’ve been able to raise their kids in a rural town while operating a business at a national scale.
Dickey Rural Networks (DRN) is a broadband provider in Ellendale, North Dakota, and amember organization of the Broadband Association of North Dakota (BAND They provide broadband services to those in rural towns on the southeastern side of the state, like Forman, Kulm, and Litchville.
“The resources that DRN provides helps support family, friends, neighbors, and small business by connecting them to the rest of the world,” says Kent Schimke, General Manager of DRN.
By working with DRN, the Mehrers have been able to access all the resources they need. By utilizing server management, security, voicemail, and other services offered by DRN, Dakota Precision Fabricating has been able to operate more efficiently, enabling them to better compete in a national market. Today, they regularly work with customers across the country; in fact, their latest project is a flood wall with LaGuardia airport in New York.
“Everything is streamlined,” says Shannon Mehrer. “We needed more services and Dickey Rural was there. They answered our questions and gave us their advice.”
For DRN, seeing customers and communities use their services and succeed in their business brings meaning to the work they do.
“It can be hard work to live in a rural community,” says Kent. “Family, friends, neighbors, and businesses support each other to be stronger. That’s what rural communities do.”
For a the Mehrer family and their business, working with a broadband provider that is local and understands their customers is what makes their small town community feel like home.it when other businesses understand their customers and support their communities.
“They’ve seen my face. I’ve seen theirs,” says Shannon. “We know each other. There’s a difference.”