Impact: An Interview with Jordan Kropf

Wave Attenuator

Nov 2, 2021

By Alyssa Kerslake

Kropf Industrial, located in Parry Sound, Ontario, is a major manufacturer of marine hydraulic equipment and dock systems. The company was founded in 1977 and has become well established for their products in the marine sector. Kropf Industrial works within three divisions: Kropf Conolift, Kropf Aquaculture and Kropf Marine. The Kropf Conolift division offers marine hydraulic equipment such as marine lifts, self-propelled trailers, boat stands, and yard & highway trailers to assist boat handling and storage operations. The Conolift line of equipment became a primary focus of Kropf Industrial in the early 1980s. The Conolift trailers are well known for their flexibility, ease of operation, and durability. The Kropf Aquaculture division has supported industry excellence for over 20 years with its steel pontoon floating net pens and commercial dock projects. Kropf’s expertise in hydraulic boat handling equipment has led to the creation of aquaculture support equipment. The Kropf hydraulic pallet carts save customers time and money as a result. Kropf Aquaculture’s commitment to design and manufacturing skills can help customers solve difficulties specific to their operation. The Kropf Marine division has been bringing advanced design and engineering to the marine industry since 1988 and has been a leader in the design and construction of steel tube floating docks, barges, and breakwaters that are always of the highest industrial quality. Kropf Marine, a premier manufacturer of floating structures for the marine industry, has been established through innovative design and engineering, high-quality materials, and excellent construction. Kropf Marine takes great pride in the manufacturing of high-quality floating structures for a variety of uses. In constructing all components, including docks, floating wave breakwaters, gangways and bridges, and steel and aluminum scows. Recently, Kropf Marine completed a successful floating breakwater project for the City of Burlington.

To learn more about Kropf Marine and the process of the Burlington project, we spoke with Jordan Kropf, Sales Manager at Kropf Industrial Inc.

Could you tell me a bit about your career so far?

“This is a family business, so my first summer job was working on the production floor at Kropf Industrial. I worked at the local airport for a few summers as well. Then after finishing university, I started working in the sales department, focusing on sales and project management for our floating dock and breakwater division. I’m now the Sales Manager for Kropf Industrial, responsible for our marketing and advertising efforts and still leading the sales effort for our docks and breakwaters.”

How did Kropf Industrial get started?

“My dad, Peter Kropf, started the business part-time while working at another manufacturing company in Parry Sound. He started out doing mobile welding and small custom fabricating jobs. The first product line was our Conolift hydraulic boat trailers. He designed the first Conolift for a friend of his, who sold it to another marina almost instantly, and they worked together to develop the brand. Trailer customers began asking us to build floating dock systems, and over the past 40 years, we have developed into a premier manufacturer of trailers, lifts, docks, breakwaters, and custom equipment.”

How long did it take to complete the Burlington floating breakwater project?

“The contract was awarded in August of 2019. Fabrication began later that year, and we were on track to be completed by April 2020, but COVID caused some delays and site shutdowns. The installation was completed in June of 2020.”

What was the biggest challenge involved in completing the floating breakwater project?

“These breakwater units are fabrication-intensive, so we had to carefully plan material requirements and our production flow to ensure the fabrication process went smoothly. On-site, we had a relatively small staging area to work with, so everything had to go in the water as soon as it arrived on site. There were capacity limits on the pier where we launched, so our lift plan had to be carefully thought out to avoid overloading the pier.”

What are some of the new improvements to this new breakwater system in comparison to the previous one?

“The previous breakwater was a very old, light-duty unit that had to be pulled into shore every winter and did not offer much wave protection. This unit offers excellent wave attenuation for current and future weather conditions and does not require much effort for winterization. We have developed a modular design for the larger floating breakwater units to improve wave attenuation while still accessible and cost-effective to ship and launch/assemble.”

What goes into the process in the wave study of the area?

“We worked with a coastal engineering firm to carry out a wave study of the site. They conduct a wave forecast to evaluate the fetch lengths, average water depths, and historical and estimated future wind conditions. Depending on the project parameters, they may sub-divide this study for different times of the year, i.e., one set of design wave conditions during boating season and another for the off-season when there are no boats to be protected. However, the wave attenuators still have to survive and remain in place.”

What are some future goals of the Kropf Industrial?

“We want to keep developing our existing product lines, offering more features and options so our customers can get precisely the units they need. How to add production capacity and improve efficiency is also an ongoing conversation. We want to expand our geographic reach and reach some new industry sectors while also providing a complete portfolio of products and services to our existing customers.”

To learn more about Kropf Industrial Inc, visit: http://www.kropfindustrial.com/home

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