WILBUR — Orenco Systems, known for its wastewater systems and products across the U.S. and the world, has been expanding into new markets, developing custom ping pong tables, soy sauce tanks and stained fiberglass windows among its composites products.

“In doing wastewater systems really well, we developed the core competencies to do composites and controls,” said Angela Bounds, the marketing and training manager for Orenco.

“We learned a lot of different ways for building on that to diversify and do a lot of things outside of our main core of the wastewater business,” added Eric Ball, the vice president of product development.

Since Ball and Bounds’ fathers co-founded Orenco in 1981 in Sutherlin, the two have been involved in the company for much of their lives. Bounds said she’s been helping to put things together since she was 12. Ball started helping on weekends and summers throughout college and was hired on full time after graduating.

The two-family business began in their fathers’ garages and has grown to employ about 300 people today. While the business continues to be headquartered in Sutherlin, it has acquired additional facilities during its expansion: the old Bayliner building in 2009 and the old Alcan building last year. Both large buildings are located alongside old Highway 99 between Winchester and Wilbur.

The former Bayliner facility houses most of the composites production, where products, such as small buildings to hold equipment or control panels, are made with vacuum infusions of fiberglass and foam.

“We built some last fall for the Air Force in Alaska and we had to put skis on them so they didn’t get stuck in the tundra,” Ball said of the small buildings. Like the structure on skis, Orenco often works with custom designs.

“One of the things we’ve always done is try to fill a need,” Bounds said. “ When someone says ‘I need this,’ Eric says ‘we can make it happen.’”

In developing custom products with fiberglass, Orenco has reached beyond wastewater to create a number of other items, including a ping pong table for Oregon State University’s baseball lounge and green stained fiberglass dividing walls for Brix in Roseburg. The company has also made faux wood tables for restaurants and offices as well as floating docks for water recreation.

“We have plans for a lot of expansion in the coming years,” Ball said. “We’re a homegrown business here in Douglas County and we want to continue to grow in Douglas County.”

Reporter Emily Hoard can be reached at 541-957-4217 or ehoard@nrtoday.com. Or follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

Emily Hoard is the business, outdoors and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4217 or by email at ehoard@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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