Next time you’re in New York City, Los Angeles, or even in Downtown Columbus, look up.
There’s a good chance that those window washers hanging off the side of a skyscraper are trusting their lives to a piece of equipment engineered, manufactured and serviced in Delaware.
Sky Climber, which has had its headquarters at its Pittsburgh Drive location since 2006, builds and services what its industry calls “suspended scaffolding.” Window-washing rigs fall into this broad category, but the company builds equipment for almost any job involving verticality, whether the customer needs to inspect a bridge, repair a building façade or service a mineshaft.
“Really, we’re access people,” said Todd King, 51, co-owner of Sky Climber. “When you need to get deep down into some location or way up in the air or something that’s above 80 feet, that’s what we specialize in. We specialize in working with height.”
The business runs five production facilities, two at its Delaware headquarters and one each in Spain, Belgium and China. Across North America, Sky Climber employs about 450 people, with 100 stationed in Delaware.
Sky Climber’s core suspended scaffolding business can be roughly divided into two categories: permanent installations and temporary equipment. Temporary installations — which can be set up, broken down, and moved to different job sites — have historically been the larger sell for the company.
Sales of permanent installations, which are generally owned by the building they’re installed upon, are experiencing an increase spurred by a boom in high-rise construction in larger cities across the country.
“Nationally, we are really experiencing the positive effects,” said King of the increase in development. “And Columbus is a good example of that.”
For a tour of the production facility, King dons safety glasses and pushes open the door separating the front office from the work floor….