Maskell Rigging: New Location—Same Commitment

Maskell Rigging, Corona, CA team photo

Maskell Rigging expands customer focus with new facility in Corona, CA.

BY:  Jordan Weber

(From the archive – this article originally appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of Wire Rope Exchange.)

Since 1975, Maskell has worked diligently to solidify its place as a quality supplier in the rigging industry. A woman and family owned business dedicated to unmatched customer service, Maskell proudly describes itself as a one-stop shop for rigging equipment, fall protection, climbing gear, safety supplies, hands-on product knowledge, and real-time inventory control.

Servicing customers in the crane, transport, underground, and construction industries, Maskell is connected to just about every sector you can think of, from oil and gas to waste and recycling, from government contacts to water and power, from highway and bridge building to foundation and shoring.

The company also manufactures and repairs wire rope and chain assemblies, which includes testing, re-certification, and re-tagging. And moving forward, this will all be done from a new location in Corona, California—allowing Maskell to even better service its customer base in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego Counties.

Maskell Rigging on the shop floor
Better workspace layout in the new facility supports better service.

General Manager Wasif Warwar has been with Maskell for six years, and explained that the company has been planning to move its warehouse to the Corona location since mid-2019, but first delays, and then COVID, kept them from officially making the move.

“Then in late May, this year, we finally made the sixteen-mile move to Railroad Street, which is closer to the freeway,” he said. “This allows our walk-in customers easy access to and from jobsites, and speeds up our delivery times. Additionally, the warehouse and office space are larger, which allows us more shelves to stock and new products to carry. The warehouse is also better suited for our testing machine, and our yard gives our swage machine space for trucks when they back up to our roll-up doors to have winch lines and roll-off cables repaired.”

Today, Maskell is known for offering a variety of rigging products—from overhead lifting hooks and chain, to transport chain and binders, eye and eye straps, round slings, and of course, wire rope, chain assemblies, and more. But the company’s early history was built around the pipe and supply business.

“We were involved in pipe and supply for thirty years,” business owner Salma Bushala pointed out. “But six years ago, we realized the value of including rigging. We felt it enhanced what we already had to offer, so we nurtured that opportunity. And so, when a very large industry pipe-supply company wanted to buy our company, we agreed, but stipulated that we would not sell the rigging part of our business.”

She added that a major driver behind the decision was relationships. “One of my main reasons for keeping the rigging was to continue servicing our customers that we had been developing relationships with, as well as keeping several of our key employees with us. We recognized the need for a more individualized quality service in the rigging industry.”

Continued Presence

As mentioned, an additional distinguishing characteristic at Maskell is its status as a women-owned business. The company holds certifications for Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB), Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), and Women’s Business Enterprise.

Maskell Rigging delivery vehicle
Delivery plays an important role in Maskell’s service offering.

In order to help provide a level playing field for women business owners, the federal government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the women’s contracting program. The government’s goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year.

To be eligible for the women’s contracting program, a business must: be a certified small business, be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizens, and have women manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions.

These federal contracts are for industries where women-owned small businesses are underrepresented. Some contracts are restricted further to economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses.

By joining the WOSB Federal Contracting Program, Maskell made itself eligible to compete for federal contracts set aside for the program. Additionally, companies like Maskell can still compete for contract awards under other socio-economic programs that they qualify for.

Warwar noted, “When contractors are working government jobs—when they purchase from Maskell—they can use our SDB, WBE, and/or WOSB certifications to get tax benefits.”

Driving the women-owned distinction at Maskell is Salma Bushala. “I believe it’s extremely important that Maskell maintains its status as a women-owned business in order to make opportunities more available for us and those we work with while also continuing to advance women in a mainly male-driven industry,” she emphasized.

Maskell Rigging swager in use
The new facility allows easier access to their swager.

Having originally joined the Maskell organization as an investor, Bushala assumed the role of manager within a year, according to Warwar. “She’s a hard-working woman who recognizes a good business venture when she sees it,” he confirmed. “It’s how she got her start in a male-dominated industry, and her passion for quality service runs throughout this company.”

Bushala agreed, adding, “And we want to continue to establish a presence in the rigging industry. My goal is to open three new branches in the next three years—to become an industry leader.”

Tailored Approach

Warwar’s role at Maskell is to continue to enhance the company moving forward, while driving the level of quality service customers have come to expect. “I took on the role of general manager for the rigging venture two years ago,” he indicated. “My primary focus is on pricing competitive quotes, dependable deliveries, and quality-made products. But my highest priority is safety—and by performing daily inspections on our machines and equipment, and maintaining a clean warehouse and a safe work environment, we guarantee an ideal environment for customers and riggers alike.”

That said, he acknowledges that Maskell’s renowned service couldn’t happen without its workforce. “Family is what ultimately makes up Maskell Rigging. We have great respect and appreciation for each other. Every employee wants to learn more and expand their skills, and that’s what we’re looking for. There is no room for complacency.”

The Maskell staff of 12 is comprised of inside and outside sales staff, warehouse riggers, and office staff, but Warwar explained that it’s just the beginning. “We are always developing growth plans and adding intelligent and hardworking employees. I expect that number to triple in upcoming years.”

Strong customer relationships will continue to be at the heart of Maskell’s growth and ongoing success, Warwar assured. “Our customers choose us because of our service. We offer free, same-day delivery within fifty miles, and work very hard to maintain relationships—which includes regular visits to make sure they have everything they need to complete their projects safely and on time.”

To that end, success at Maskell doesn’t end with quality products/services or reliable delivery. “We’re constantly servicing new industries and seeking out new products to add to our catalog,” confirmed Warwar—pointing out that some of the allure of doing business with Maskell is the attention to detail. “When our customers walk in, the first thing they say is, ‘This is like a candy store.’ And that’s what we like to hear. It’s a very clean, fully stocked warehouse—and our pickup and delivery service is very well received.”

Maskell Rigging inventory in stock
The larger facility allows Maskell to stock more inventory and provides room to carry new products.

Those customers, if they so choose, can also benefit from Maskell’s training. “We provide rigging safety classes, which demonstrate rigging inspection (hooks, chain, and wire rope), reading working load limits, and safe lifting procedures,” said Warwar. “It could be a fifteen-minute morning tail-gate, or an hour-long class.”

And if customers require a more tailored approach, he explained, Maskell representatives won’t hesitate. “Any of our account managers can make a site visit and offer safe lifting recommendations and alternative lifting solutions—using either synthetic straps, chain assemblies, wire rope slings, or other variations.”

Combined with steady innovation, Warwar is confident that Maskell is positioned to embrace change as it comes and thrive within an ever-evolving space. “There are instances where the market is going to change and where new technology and ideas will happen,” he said. “We have manufacturers that provide customers solutions to safety and jobsite delays. We also have products that can safely remove plywood from shoring applications and lift steel plates. These are all ideas that drive the market. But being customer-driven is the key. I enjoy going to jobsites and visiting with customers. They are always going to tell me what they need—and that will inform my decisions on what to stock.”

With that in mind, Warwar is always on the lookout for new products to add to the Maskell catalog, and new industries to serve. “Whether it’s tailoring products to the precast concrete industry or jobsite PPE, it all falls under the safety umbrella,” he said. “I’m constantly seeking out new opportunities and offerings. Hearing firsthand what our customers need allows us to cultivate that personal touch.

“At the end of the day, we are a family owned business that has built its success on service and meeting the needs of our customers. Our mission is to satisfy those needs—whether it’s through pricing, delivery service, and account management. And, of course, being available whenever they need us.”

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