Tri-State Industries was founded in 1960 by Harold James Heller and his wife Wilma Heller. Prior to founding Tri-State Industries, Harold James (or HJ as he was known) was the plant manager and partner at ESKA Company in Dubuque, Iowa. HJ’s tenure at ESKA started with his invention of the riding toy peddle tractor. HJ invented and made the first ever riding peddle tractor out of his home basement. The company, named TracToy, absorbed into the EKSA Co. when he became a partner. After leaving the ESKA Co., HJ pursued a number of entrepreneurial paths, including a lawn and garden center, before founding Tri-State Industries in 1960.
Tri-State Industries originally manufactured and marketed a number of consumer outdoor goods (outboard motor mounts, pie irons, roaster forks, car top canoe carriers, folding anchors and more). When HJ’s son, Richard, took over the business he observed it would be difficult to compete with low-quality, cheaply made consumer goods from overseas. Starting in the 1980’s, he began to shift from a retail product base to a dedicated metals fabrication job shop. Transforming Tri-State Industries to what we know today – a robust, high-quality metals manufacturer utilizing the latest, most advanced machine tools available.
1340 Synergy Court, Dubuque, IA 52002 | Phone: 563-588-0535