MER was born in 1964, indirectly the result of the largest earthquake ever recorded in Alaska, 9.2 on the Richter scale. Ivan Fox, our Founder, was at the time in charge of Alaska Salmon production for New England Fish Co. After the earthquake and the resulting Tsunami, much of the fleet and processing capacity was severely damaged. Ivan and his crew worked tirelessly the spring of 1964 to salvage the salmon season. Even to the extent of having to raise the floor in his own remote cannery in Uganik by 4 feet. The earthquake actually lowered the ocean floor under his cannery, causing his warehouse and processing floor to flood during high tides. Hundreds of boats were swamped and millions of dollars of equipment had to be rebuilt in short order to make the summer deadline. Ivan and his port engineer, Larry Schusted, opened up shop in Ballard (Seattle, WA) to rebuild the marine engine and equipment damaged in the flood. Taking the name Marine Engine Repair, They saved the season and Ivan’s commitment to the fleet made him a trusted, reliable, parts and engine supplier to the fishing and workboat fleet for Alaska.
MER quickly established itself as the premier provider of Isuzu marine diesel engines and generators for the Western United States and Alaska. The combination of the quality-made Isuzu engine and proven reliability of the Marathon and Newage generator kept our fishermen busy doing what they do best: fishing and not repairing equipment. Through the years, MER has developed generator and propulsion packages to suit the needs of fishermen, construction sites, and residential users all over the United States.
To this day the mandate of MER is to support the workboat fleet of the Pacific Northwest. We’ve been called the best little engine company on the west coast. Our goal, to start with the most reliable engines, generators, and power transmission equipment we can find. We build them into custom products tailored to the workboat fleet. We focus on fuel efficiency, ease of maintenance, longevity, protection devices, sound reduction, and ease of installation. All aimed at the goal of minimizing the cost of ownership for our customers.
Most of our customers use their equipment to make a living and are repeat customers. Many of our new customers have come to us from the recommendation of a friend. Typically an engine or generator sale is an interview process. Questions asked and answered with the goal of engineering a long-term solution to a need. The goal isn’t to minimize the initial up-front cost or to maximize our profits. Our prices are a function of our materials costs. If you buy a product from MER you probably paid a little more than you could have for an “off the shelf solution. We have found over the years it is in our customer’s interest to spend a little more up front, get it right the first time, and save a small fortune in the long haul.
Just because we’re on call 24/7 for parts and service doesn’t mean we want to hear from you on Sunday afternoon because your engine won’t start. We want to see you @ Fish Expo to hear how you never had a breakdown, your equipment is running flawlessly, and shouldn’t you be thinking about preventive maintenance. Because your gensets have 40,000 hours now and you haven’t put a wrench on it since we shipped it to you. Our objective is to help you keep the hard earned money you make.
The owners of MER Equipment are crab and salmon fishermen, marine engineers, fabricators and mechanics. Our family and friends are all fishermen, processors, workboat captains, engineers, and port engineers. We’re a third generation commercial fishing family and we’re in this business because we like what we do, it shows in our work and the products we build. Have we made mistakes? Yes, we’re human, but we fix them – that’s a pledge.
You know if it’s mechanical it wears out and eventually fails, usually at the worst time. If it’s engineered and applied correctly from the start, it lasts longer, it’s more economical to own and it’s easy to maintain. There is no tool more expensive than the cheap one that didn’t do the job.
We try very hard to support the American worker. Whenever we can we buy the one made in America. Sometimes it costs a little more but the money stays home to circulate in our economy, to support American schools and families.