A Fusion of Resolve & Resilience
Imperial Welding & Repair LLC melds craftsmanship with steely determination
While Imperial Welding & Repair LLC in Aurora, Colorado, is a relatively new company, open since 2015, its owner and founder is an old soul when it comes to welding.
Jesus Alfaro learned the craft of welding at the age of 18 when he took a job repairing pipes and plates at power plants throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
He recalls, “It was a lot of on-the-job training in those early days. Over time, I learned as much as I could about the craft, the materials, the tools and the techniques of working with metal systems, both on the job and in my personal time.”
When he got to a point where he was no longer growing professionally, he sought other avenues to fulfill his escalating desire to take on evermore complex tasks. At the age of 27, he quit his job and spent his last $3,000 on a welder.
It was a good decision. Today, Jesus and his crew at Imperial Welding & Repair (Imperial Welding) are recognized throughout the Denver metropolitan area, called on for welding jobs of varying scope and scale with customers that now include the Denver International Airport and its associated air travel vendors and multinational technology companies.
While airports and warehouses would soon become part of its customer base, Imperial Welding’s early days were largely focused on building a name in the commercial, residential and industrial sectors. In fact, the first month of operation, Jesus’ newfound company made $100 repairing a sprinkler pipe. The next month wasn’t much better, though the types of jobs expanded to furniture and metal railings.
But he had considerable support from his wife, Ana Alfaro, who is the company’s Business Manager and has political science and business management degrees from University of Colorado Denver. With her help, Jesus was able to market his services and build relationships to expand their customer base, while demonstrating his prowess in all manner of welding techniques and materials.
In 2016, the Alfaros won a good size job to replace metal railings on concrete landings in an apartment complex.
“At the same time, I was building a skilled team of guys to work these projects,” Jesus adds. “I hired three welders by the middle of our first full year of business.”
Then his truck with 90% of his equipment was stolen in October 2016. He says, “The day it was stolen I was supposed to start a new job fabricating and installing a staircase with handrails. Luckily, I had one little machine in my garage and with that little welder and my old truck, I was able to get the job done.”
His perseverance and determination helped, and he and Ana continued to market the company’s capabilities and take on more jobs. In fact, the company doubled its sales revenue in 2017 working for a number of commercial clients in the metro Denver area.
One of the biggest jobs during these early years was a three-and-a-half-year contract to fabricate parts and repair machines and equipment for a recycling company. Jesus and his crew were particularly well suited for this job because of his heavy industrial welding background. “There was considerable complexity to this job,” recalls Jesus. “In one instance, we needed to cut, fabricate and weld a 3-inch-thick plate and then weld it into place so that it wouldn’t crack or move.”
"With our skills, experience and tools, we are able to weld a wide range of materials including stainless steel, aluminum, carbon steel and nine-chrome [a low-alloy steel.]”
Jesus Alfaro, Owner, Imperial Welding & Repair LLC
In January 2018, Jesus had built up enough backlog to invest in some property to support his growing operation. He found 2 acres of land in Aurora and built a 4,000-square-foot shop where he stores his suite of tools, machines, trucks and heavy equipment.
He believes that the underlying strength of Imperial Welding is its flexibility, adding, “With our skills, experience and tools, we are able to weld a wide range of materials including stainless steel, aluminum, carbon steel and nine-chrome [a low- alloy steel].”
This year has thus far been the best year yet for Imperial Welding. In January, the company began work on a three-month job for Amazon’s Aurora fulfillment center to weld 36 stainless steel package sorting chutes, each one measuring 20 feet long with a 6-foot diameter. Jesus says, “Our job was to cut and remove the existing chutes and then modify the new ones to fit into the system.”
One of the most challenging jobs has been for Denver International Airport, where Jesus and his team were tasked with fabricating and installing 90 square feet of stainless-steel railings for an on-call ramp.
Jesus says, “Stainless is tricky and this particular railing needed to be flawless to maintain the smooth, straight lines and the aesthetic appeal. We fabricated the railings in the shop and then installed them on-site.”
He’s also working on a job at Denver International Airport as part of an American Express Centurion Lounge project that will open this year. The new lounge, located in the C Concourse, will be the second largest in the company’s network at 14,650 square feet. Imperial Welding is tasked with fabricating and welding 600 square feet of structural I-beams in the lounge, modifying and welding cable rails, and fabricating and installing stainless steel handrails and bollards.
Sculpting the Process
The one philosophy Jesus has maintained throughout the last four years is his focus on taking care of his employees.
“We’ve grown our customer base much faster than I expected—and I’m very proud of that,” Jesus says. “But I also recognize that I need to ensure that my employees are given opportunities for professional development, something I was not provided.”
He also points to the need for personal and professional balance. “I have worked for employers who would give your job away if you left for a family emergency. I don’t want to be like that,” he says.
Currently, Jesus has seven employees and expects to add more in 2019 and 2020 as bigger jobs come along. “We’re expanding into new areas including steel erection,” he says. “This is the kind of job that we’re ideally suited for because of our experience, our skills and our quality workmanship.”
In fact, the company was just awarded one of its largest steel erection projects in support of a church expansion in Aurora, which will require the construction of 15 tons of steel beams and other components.
Looking back at how far the company has come since that first sprinkler job, Jesus says, “It was a big risk, but I felt it was time. Starting my own business seemed like the best way to use my skills as a welder and employ management skills to give my employees all the growth opportunities I was not provided.”
It’s Jesus’ unique fusion of resolve and resilience that will enable continued growth for the company and his crew.