Sustainable and Ethical Manufacturing

How RollPros is Making A Difference

You’ve probably seen it on window decals: “shop local” or “buy local” or “support local business.” When you see this, instinctively you think of restaurants or farmer’s markets. Perhaps small boutique-type stores or maybe an independently-owned gym. The last thing you’d think of when seeing this on a bumper sticker is how it might apply to manufacturing.

Yet, that is exactly how we’ve approached production of the Blackbird. As our world becomes more connected globally, it’s easy to lose the connection to your own community. We believe that’s a problem, and have made a commitment to go the other way. Every component on the machine, with only a few select exceptions, is produced within 10 miles of our headquarters in Vancouver, Washington. We have personal, face-to-face relationships with virtually all of our vendors.

Brett Sorenson at Element 13 does all the sheet metal work on the Blackbird. Sam Gagliano at Bent River Tech is our local machinist. Danny Kannard and the team at Continental Coating do the food grade coatings on our vibe system components. 

Zoom calls and messaging apps are essential for business today. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still value in a handshake between business partners, or stopping by your vendor’s shop in person to see how progress is going on your order. Most of these relationships were established in the early garage-days of RollPros, but they still endure, and we’re very proud of that.

Lift up local businesses

Both our founder, Kyle Loucks, and our COO Nick Buck were born and raised in Vancouver, Washington. Their passion for supporting their home is built into the modus operandi of our business. As RollPros has grown, the amount of work we are able to pass along to our vendors has grown too. 

Kyle says, “Placing a large part order with a global fabrication company is very different from placing a similar order with a small local company. It’s just so much more gratifying to see the immediate impact we can have on our local small businesses.”

We’ve seen our vendors’ businesses move forward, and proudly celebrate our collective success. It just feels good to create jobs in your community, and to support local businesses. 

“Back when we were still working out of the garage, Brett Sorenson gave me an incredible deal on our first sheet metal parts,” Kyle continues, “We didn’t have clout or respect yet, but we had relationships and empathy. Now Brett has expanded his building and doubled his headcount, in part because of the amount of work we were able to send him as we scaled. He earned a customer for life.”

The R&D impact

There is an altruistic purpose to our commitment to local manufacturing, but there is a very clear business case for it as well. It may be more expensive, but being geographically close to our vendors provides enormous benefit to our engineering team throughout the various phases of research and development.

According to James Ivelich, our Manufacturing Engineer, “we believe in continuous innovation. Our engineers and designers are always coming up with new ideas to make the Blackbird even better, and we don’t want to put any roadblocks in their way. Sourcing our components and work locally is a big part of how we do that.” 

A vendor can create a new test part for us, bring it over to our facility and immediately install it into a Blackbird unit. We’ll know almost right away if the new component works or needs adjustment. We can pass that feedback back to the vendor on-site, who can then make nearly immediate changes. No matter what, successful R&D requires a significant feedback loop. Design, test, adjust. With local manufacturing, we’ve compressed the R&D timeline by leaps and bounds. Nothing is being shipped overseas, saving us both time and money. We aren’t waiting months for a new part to arrive from China, only to test it and find it needs changes. We can design and test an entire assembly faster than a business using overseas manufacturing could do a single, simple part.

Protecting our supply chain

Covid exposed the vulnerabilities of global supply chains like no other event in modern history. For decades, US-based businesses moved manufacturing overseas, drawn by the significant cost savings on materials and labor. Those savings came at a steep price though.

We all remember ports rammed with container ships waiting for weeks to unload their cargo. It caused problems for virtually every industry in the US. From garage door panels to cell phones, there were shortages of everything. Companies that sourced parts or products from overseas lost customers and many went out of business. We can’t allow that to happen to our own business, but we also believe in protecting our customers’ businesses too. A local supply chain does exactly that. In some ways, we consider it an insurance policy against other large disruptions. Think it couldn’t happen again? Remember, nobody saw covid coming either!


We want to do our part to help protect the environment, especially in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where RollPros is based. Local manufacturing is a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly choice no matter how you look at it. Shipping a container full of fabricated components from across the world produces far more carbon than sourcing those components locally. It’s just that simple. But beyond the carbon cost of shipping, there is always a risk of supporting unfair labor practices in many countries like China, Indonesia, or India. We want to support businesses that treat their employees well, pay them living wages, and offer clean and safe working conditions. The only way to ensure that with certainty is to source our components locally. We know the people that are actually making them, spend time in their facilities, and interact with them regularly. 

Join us in our Mission

Sustainable and ethical manufacturing is a part of the core beliefs of RollPros and we remain dedicated to it. We are proud to be a leader in this area, and encourage other businesses to follow suit. By choosing to buy from companies that manufacture locally, we can all make a difference for the environment, our communities, and our workers. Have questions about our manufacturing process, or would like to see what it looks like “under the hood”? Get in touch!