Industry News

  Trico Builds on Success at the Food Northwest Process and Packaging Expo


Construction firm Trico, based in Burlington, Washington, began 42 years ago as a civil company and has since evolved to offer complete design/build construction for any type of building, with a particular specialty in food processing—whether for cold storage, warehousing, or manufacturing or distribution facilities.

With a deep expertise in that area, the company can ensure a facility complies with USDA, FDA, OSHA and other requirements. They’ve worked in markets that run the gamut of the food industry—from seafood to vegetables to freeze-dried food. “Our goal is to be the ‘one-stop shop’ for anyone in the food industry who needs design/build services, whether we’re starting from the ground up or assisting with a remodel,” says President Christopher Kiel.

Trico has been a highly regarded sponsor of the Food Northwest Process and Packaging Expo for many years, and Kiel says it has realized great benefit from name recognition through its sponsorship and as a bag sponsor. “Many of our key clients are also members so it’s been a really good fit to align with such a respected industry organizations,” he says, adding that Trico also sponsors Food NW’s Leadership Summit.

He finds the Expo valuable for many reasons, from the opportunity to connect with potential customers face-to-face to the ability to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and regulations. “We have to know the latest and greatest in food processing machinery, water treatment, sanitation—everything that goes into a food-grade facility,” he says. “We appreciate the chance to connect with potential suppliers so we can be knowledgeable about the different options our customers can leverage for a facility that meets their needs.”

While Kiel has only been with Trico for three years, he’s a seasoned industry veteran who attended the show even before joining Trico. His years of experience have given him an inside track into how to make the most of the show. For example, he recommends that attendees take time before the show to really peruse the agenda to identify the sessions that are most beneficial to their needs. “Make sure to create a schedule that ensures you can attend those seminars, then plan the rest of your time around it, whether you’re setting appointments or just taking time to walk around the show, introducing yourself to new vendors and customers,” he says.

He also recommends reaching out to as many people as possible before the show, especially if you’re an exhibitor. “Let your entire customer base know you’ll be there, and remind them it’s an opportunity for them to see what’s new in your company and the new products you’re offering,” he says. It’s an especially great way to connect with those who might be farther away whom you don’t get to see regularly. And, as a value-add, exhibitors can share a VIP code to grant free entry to food and beverage processors.

As a long-time exhibitor, Kiel knows the benefit of staffing the booth with key people who can answer questions knowledgeably, especially when meeting potential clients for the first time. He mentions the proven adage, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” {Note: Food NW will be sending an Exhibitor Guide prior to the show with more tips just like this!)

As he looks ahead to the industry trends that resonate with him most, he cites energy efficiency and sustainability as top concerns on everyone’s mind. To him, it’s not only about becoming a better steward of the environment, but about being more efficient in your own operations, whether you’re making design changes that reduce the cost per kilowatt-hour, or repurposing water and other materials you use in your processes. 

“The Expo provides an ideal way to stay informed about what’s available, what’s new, and what’s best,” Kiel says. “You can learn so much in just two short days that will save time and expense in the long run.”
Courtesy of Capital Press -
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