March 25, 2021
BY BEAU BECRAFT
Like countless others throughout 2020, Mark Wenger found himself in a state of uncertainty as Covid-19 left him a casualty of job loss in the wake of the pandemic.
For the previous eight years, Wenger had served as a corporate sales professional.
“Two days before going back to work after a 90-day furlough due to Covid, I got a call saying my position had been eliminated” recalls Wenger. “I was absolutely devastated.”
Wenger, however, soon saw the loss of his job as an opportunity to set forth on a new venture, turning tragedy into triumph.
“I had always wanted to own my own business,” says Wenger. “I had already researched this particular business for two years and, after a lot of thought, decided to jump in with both feet. Most people probably thought I was crazy to start a new business during Covid but, to me, it just made sense and everything kind of fell into place.”
Soon after, Kentucky Blue Blast was open for business on August 1, 2020.
Specializing in “mobile media blasting,” a form of wet abrasive blasting that efficiently removes paint, corrosion, and coatings from a multitude of surfaces, the business serves customers across the Louisville metro area and beyond, Wenger uses an eco-friendly “dustless blasting system” to remove coatings from surfaces such as metal, concrete, plaster, asphalt, brick, wood, and fiberglass. The system is notable for its cleaner, more environmentally-conscious operation, leaving behind less mess, debris, and pollution than traditional blasting methods.
“I am a sole proprietor LLC,” says Wenger of the primary role he fulfills for Kentucky Blue Blast. “But, I also wear all the hats at this time. I am the owner, operator, clean-up, secretary, billing department, and job estimator. I do whatever it takes to get the business and to get it done as efficiently and as fast as possible.”
It only makes sense that Wenger would also be tasked with the responsibility of sourcing the proper work vehicles to assist him in the successful operation of the company.
In need of a truck that would meet the ample demands of his burgeoning company, Wenger turned to Knapheide.
“I quickly found out my F150 wasn’t going to be enough truck for my business,” Wenger says. “Despite owning a truck for 30 years, I never really needed a ‘work truck’ before this. So, I bought a new 2020 Ford F350 dually diesel with a Knapheide gooseneck flatbed.”
As is the case with many vocations, Wenger’s line of work calls for his truck to be versatile, practical, and capable. He carries a wide variety of equipment such as hoses, hand tools, containers of other job-related items and materials, and other odds and ends each job may call for. Additionally, he also tows a fully-loaded 9,000-pound trailer containing his blasting equipment, compressor, a 150-gallon water tank, and two commercial wheelbarrow-type vacuums.
“I also need to carry a pretty significant amount of blasting media (abrasive) products,” Wenger offers. “Typically, a big job will use between 40 to 80 bags. That’s about 2,000 to 4,000 pounds or two pallet loads. So, I needed a flatbed that could handle that and would also allow me to use my forklift to make loading and unloading these materials much easier. But, I also needed to be able to remove sections of racks to use the forklift to transfer materials.”
The size of the equipment and materials he hauls on a daily basis brought about the need for a custom set of racks on his Knapheide bed in order to keep everything safely secured while traveling from site to site. Wenger also sought versatility from his bed as his needs differ from one day to the next.
“I guess I am the odd one but, when I bought the truck, I wanted a gooseneck bed for reasons other than just hauling supplies,” Wenger says. “I needed the flexibility to change back and forth — one truck, many functions.”
That flexibility is exactly what Wenger got after he contacted Brian Puckett, General Manager of KTEC Louisville.
Puckett knew exactly what was needed to maximize the efficiency of his Knapheide. Puckett and the KTEC Louisville acted quickly to assure Wenger’s uptime on the jobsite wouldn’t be hindered. And soon after the truck was sent to KTEC Louisville for the custom work, Kentucky Blue Blast was back on the job with the adaptable applications needed to make every job run smoothly and efficiently.
“Now, the rear middle section comes off so I can climb up and down to get supplies for the job,” Wenger offers. “And these new, taller racks make me feel very secure that all my items are tied down tight and won’t fly out of the bed. These racks, to me, are truly invaluable.”
His first and only experience with Knapheide and Knapheide products, Wenger expressed his gratitude for the positive experience with the company and looks forward to adding more gooseneck bodies as his business continues to grow.
“Knapheide makes an awesome product,” he says. “This truck and the bed suit my needs perfectly and I couldn’t imagine finding and dealing with a better company than Knapheide. Thank you all for doing such a great job!”