Steely Determination

Paul Stehl of Stehl Corp.

NB|AZ® solidifies relationship with local steelwork company

Paul Stehl started out as a humble welder and fabricator, making yard gates and pool fences at night in a small shop where Tempe Marketplace now sits while he worked a day job. “I’m from the school of hard knocks,“ he says.

Almost 20 years later, Stehl has bigger irons in the fire as the owner and CEO of Stehl Corp. (formerly Paramount Iron Inc.), a 75,000-square-foot steelwork operation with 110 employees located in south Phoenix.

“We specialize in mid-rise, high-rise and multi-family steel work,” explains Stehl of the one-stop iron manufacturing facility that produces fabricated stairs, railings, awnings, columns, beams and joists for diverse commercial clients. It wasn’t a fast trajectory, but rather a measured, incremental pace that helped Stehl grow his business into a multi-million dollar enterprise with projects in several Southwestern states including Arizona, California, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada.

In addition to making structural fabrications for building projects, Stehl Corp. creates architectural landscape pieces like the steel wire mesh shade canopy for the Desert Botanical Garden and has a small industrial door division. An active member of the U.S. Green Building Council, the company has worked with many notable companies including Sundt, Mark Taylor Residential, MT Builders and Westpac. In addition, Stehl Corp. is an approved fabricator for the City of Phoenix and City of Los Angeles, and in 2016 became an AISC certified fabricator.

“This industry is not for the faint of heart,” says Stehl. “There’s no magic recipe. You roll the dice. You get knocked down, but then you get a break.”

Along the way, he’s learned to navigate the highs and lows of business ownership and adapt to unexpected market shifts by being innovative. “You are in a constant state of anxiety and concern as the machine gets bigger. You give a lot and everything comes with a cost. But I know what I signed up for,” he says.

When the steel-dependent building industry was hit hard in 2008 and 2009, Stehl changed gears and aggressively started selling his patent-pending spiral staircase system across the country to weather the economic storm.

“The spiral staircase system is one of my stepping stones. The key is to diversify and not be pigeon-holed into one niche,” he says. “I saw an untapped market for a mass produced system that was better and for less money. It helped us grow in the residential market.”

Growth is certainly on Stehl’s mind. While his company is experiencing between 10 to 15 sizable jobs at once, he’s setting his sights on further expansion. “I’m always looking to push forward,” he says.

And cultivating relationships with those who align with his vision is part of Stehl’s momentum plan. Six months ago, the company made the banking leap and became a National Bank of Arizona customer. In that time, the bank negotiated a $3 million loan that allowed Stehl to purchase a property directly across the street from the company headquarters, a space that will help solve much need storage issues to accommodate the volumes of massive steel beams it fabricates and improve operational efficiencies.

“The administration process was so easy,” says Stehl, adding that the bank has also helped him improve his overseas purchasing power. “It’s been so amazing working with NB|AZ. And because of that, I’ve moved all my personal accounts there, as well.”