Fabricate. Metal. Empower.
Nick Pontarolo & Ryan Ricard
FABRICATE. METAL. EMPOWER.
Nick Pontarolo and Ryan Ricard have known each other since middle school. They were friends but they were never super close. After college, Nick took off to Italy where he learned to weld and Ryan took off to Hawaii to live for a few years. Around the mid 2000’s, Nick and Ryan found themselves back in their old Spokane, Washington stomping grounds and reconnected while Nick was working for a local metalworker and Ryan was working as a server at a local restaurant.
"I worked through the winter for like four or five months. My job was just welding together everything for The Steelhead Bar in Spokane.” Nick remembered before continuing. “He [Ryan] was working as a server and was working nights. I called him up and said 'Hey, come on over. Let's weld, hang out, do whatever.' Sometimes we would go over to his shop and that's where the momentum started growing." That momentum catapulted a custom brand that allowed Nick and Ryan to start a metal work shop combining their passions of woodworking, welding, and creating interesting pieces for local businesses.
“There's just something really empowering about being capable. You just know that if something needs to be done, you can do it."
When asked how each came across these passions, Ryan explained that he didn’t see the value and beauty in store bought objects. "I think the welding, woodworking, kind of fabricating things in general just came from value. I didn't see the value in most of the things we were purchasing for the house. Lamps and things like that just seemed so cheesy. I just knew I could make something cooler for less money." In fact, Ryan bought his first welder without quite knowing how to use it. “I spent a year at least where every other day, it looked like it was foggy because my eyes were burnt from welding." Ryan laughed while Nick giggled beside him.
Ryan’s love for creating things led him to begin welding and now finds success in most of the pieces he makes today. "I wasn't great at it to start with..” Ryan continued. “But I spent a lot of time just burning metal. Cutting it apart and sticking it together and making kind of random things and each one was better than the last."
Ryan and Nick have even gotten closer and established a lifelong friendship that they both enjoy. "That is what keeps it a passion and not a tedious job is because we don't have to do it.” Ryan explained. “It's just the camaraderie and the getting together, working together. That kind of stuff is the reward in itself."
“This is something really for fun.” Added Nick. “I think that's kind of the promise that we both made to one another. It's great for a friendship where life can get in the way sometimes and you won't see someone for like a month and all of a sudden you get a project and you're like pulling double duty. You're at the shop at night 'til the late hours and it's super fun."
At the end of the day, Nick, a lawyer, and Ryan, a local business owner, feel inspired and love working with their hands, especially when their day jobs can be demanding. “Once you get into the shop or once you start brainstorming a project, it's so outside of that norm and mundane component of everyone's life." Nick explained.
Ryan interjected and concluded by saying, “Every project that we do, we become a little bit more capable. We take on something a little bit more out of our comfort zone or something that would have been out of our comfort zone.” Ryan paused, “There's just something really empowering about being capable. You just know that if something needs to be done, you can do it."