The North Dakota spirit is based on innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Roll-A-Ramp, a product of DT&J, Inc. of West Fargo, encapsulates this spirit and has spent the last decade helping disabled individuals with their top-of-the-line, portable and versatile ramps, not only in North Dakota, but around the world.
Incorporated in February 1999, DT&J, Inc. developed a design that combines unparalleled strength with flexibility. Donald J. Schmaltz, the brainchild of the ramp, was looking for a product that would roll up, be easily portable, lightweight and strong enough for the purpose intended. He also wanted to create a ramp that was compact and could be used and stored in tight quarters.
Roll-A-Ramp was created as a sketch on paper but came to fruition when Schmaltz approached his friend, Tom Kenville, with the idea. After creating a number of prototypes, the partners brought their ideas to Dr. Joseph Stanislao, P.E., who engineered the design, and Roll-A-Ramp was born.
More Than a Ramp
Made from aircraft-grade aluminum with a T-6 hardness rating, Roll-A-Ramp® solutions are very sturdy yet light enough to carry by hand. The product is great for wheelchair and scooter users who want an option to expensive chair lifts, permanent ramps or conversion vans.
Roll-A-Ramp also offers a specialized loading system to transport a motorcycle or ATV in the back of a pickup truck, eliminating the need to pull a trailer. A load-bearing plate keeps the weight off the tailgate.
Unlike other ramps, Roll-A-Ramp is never permanent, allowing users to move the product on a whim. No matter how the system is configured – short portable ramp, extensive modular ramp, or vehicle-mounted application – Roll-A-Ramp always remains portable.
The bottom line for Roll-A-Ramp is to create a solution that helps people with disabilities live a more convenient lifestyle. That’s one of the reasons the company has a Veteran Benefits Coordinator on staff who will work to help disabled vets get the benefits they are entitled to and help solve accessibility challenges through Home Improvement and Structural Alterations (HISA) and other grants.
Helping Customers Around the Globe
Roll-A-Ramp is one of the many North Dakota companies that are capitalizing on rapid globalization. The company currently has distributors in over 40 countries and their international presence continues to grow, led by International Sales and Export Manager Greg Moll.
“International business and business growth is extremely important to Roll-A-Ramp,” said Moll. “With exports accounting for nearly 60% of total revenue, it is a vital part of the company.”
Over the past year alone, Roll-A-Ramp has worked to set up export channels in the Nordic countries and Panama, in addition to expanding in Mexico, Japan Australia and New Zealand.
Roll-A-Ramp will also be the access solution for the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. The city is currently being renovated in preparation for the event, and Roll-A-Ramp solutions are being installed in facilities such as the historic Hermitage Museum, and St. Peter’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, among other historic buildings.
Historic buildings such as these may not be altered or modified with construction of a ramp, which is one of the reasons Roll-A-Ramp has been chosen as the access solution for such events. Roll-A-Ramp does not require structural alterations and modifications and may be used as a stationary ramp that remains in place or a portable one that can be set up and removed when there is a need, giving the customer the ultimate in flexibility.
Beyond events such as the Paralympics, Moll and the rest of the Roll-A-Ramp team take their time and do due diligence to find the right distributors in international markets. With the help of NDTO and USCS agents who assist with market research, Moll takes care to understand the market and build strong relationships with potential buyers and distributors.
Moll compares the relationship-building process in international markets to that of a farmer planting and harvesting.
“The business is there, it just needs to be attained. Think of it as planting seeds. It takes some time for them to sprout. And it takes resources like water and fertilizer, and time. Once they do they grow, and in the fall the corn is ready to harvest. That is the scenario in many situations; seeds coming to harvest,” Moll said. “This is similar to the process putting resources into the distributor to the point where they are truly productive; resources such as marketing materials and assistance, demonstration product, education. Then they can stand on their own. Now we need to get after it.”
Roll-A-Ramp is helping customers across the world live a more convenient lifestyle, and we’re proud to say the solution is a product of North Dakota.