In loving memory of our founder Al Hilde, Jr., we honor a great man and the legacy he left behind. After an amazing 90-year journey, Al Hilde, Jr. passed away peacefully in his beloved mountain home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on July 28, 2023, surrounded by his family and cherished loved ones. As we reflect on his visionary leadership and profound impact on our company and beyond, we are moved by the journey he embarked on 65 years ago and the countless lives he has affected since.
Al’s passion for improving global health and continuous innovation is an inspiration to us to this day. In 1958, Al Hilde, Jr. founded Satellite Industries from the simple notion of providing human dignity. He believed that portable toilet services would be an essential service for many to provide dignity, convenience, privacy and moreover to protect public health and the environment. To that end, Al Hilde, Jr. built the first wooden prototype toilet, followed by a service truck equipped with a vacuum pump and waste tank, and a deodorizer formula to capture odor and breakdown waste with a pleasing fragrance. Under his guidance, Satellite Industries flourished, becoming a global leader in the industry.
In 1972, Al Hilde, Jr. established another company, Satellite Shelters, a national provider of mobile offices and modular buildings, with a fundamental belief in the inherent dignity of all individuals. Operating under the same core values as the other Satellite Family companies, Satellite Shelters has become one of the largest privately held companies in the mobile office space market, renowned for its innovation and service. Proudly upholding Al Hilde, Jr.’s vision and ethics as we serve our customers and the community with respect and excellence.
Another family company, Western Aircraft was born out of Al’s love of flying. Purchased in 1995, Western Aircraft responded to the overwhelming need for aircraft repair services and grew to become the world’s largest PC-12 dealer and an Authorized Falcon Service Center. With the same dedication, passion, and leadership, Western Aircraft, among other companies, were built into successful businesses with family culture and unwavering values at the center.
Beyond the business, Al Hilde, Jr. will also be remembered for his significant contributions in the community. Most notably, establishing YAAC (Youth Action Advisory Committee) in government, the “Pride Force” committee to deal and cope with various forms of pollution, and the Plymouth Housing Committee to seek solutions in low and moderate housing. He also held numerous leadership positions such as Mayor of the City of Plymouth for five terms, Founder of The Music in Plymouth, Director of the Minnesota Orchestra, President of the Minnesota Executives Organization and Member of the World Business Council. Recognized for his dedication and achievements, Al Hilde, Jr. was awarded the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community and Economic Development in 1970, Portable Sanitation Association International (PSAI) Devoted Service to the Industry Award and founding member of the PSAI to name a few.
Al Hilde, Jr.’s greatest accomplishment, however, cannot be measured by dollars or awards. A family man, married just shy of 70 years to his loving wife Jayne, not only built thriving businesses but also raised three sons (Tim, Todd, and Bret) who grew to love Satellite and nurtured a family culture within the business. Today, the Satellite family continues to grow stronger and is guided by the principles in our circle of culture.
“My Dad’s greatest gift to me was teaching me to love Satellite. Satellite was always at the center of our family during our upbringing. We talked about Satellite over dinner each night and it was always a big focus of our family. As kids, my dad even had us put our hand over our heart when we would see a portable restroom in the field (No joke!.... This was back in the 60’s so seeing a Satellite restroom in the field was not as common as it is today). I believe the love for our business and all those in the Satellite family is in our DNA and one of the reasons Satellite is such a wonderful community.” – Todd Hilde, July 31, 2023.
Today, we celebrate Al Hilde, Jr.’s life and accomplishments, paying tribute to a leader who ignited an industry and positively impacted thousands of lives with his vision. Al’s love for his family, for Satellite, and our industry, serves as a reminder of the importance of community, strength of family, and commitment to serve.
As we remember him, let us cherish the memories of the countless lives he touched, the contributions he made in our world, and the indelible mark he left on our hearts.
Memorial Service will be held August 15, 2023, at the Wayzata Community Church. More details to come.
Here are the 4 main hotels near Satellite*:
* In order of recommendation
Satellite Industries, the world’s leading manufacturer in the portable sanitation industry, has announced the acquisition of Sanitrax International, the leading manufacturer in vacuum technology for portable sanitation products. The Sanitrax organization will be a part of Satellite’s new Vacuum Technology Division and will be the foundation for growth in this rapidly developing industry segment.
Sanitrax developed and sold the world’s first and only patent-pending, retractable, containerized mobile restroom unit, housing multiple self-contained toilets, urinals, washbasins, and showers that rely on proven vacuum flush technology. This technology saves up to 90% of the water used by conventional gravity flushing toilets, and due to its unique retractable design, has also saved customers an average of 50% on logistical costs during transportation.
Vacuum flush technology (like that used in airplane restrooms) offered by Sanitrax fits perfectly in the vision of Satellite, which is the world’s largest supplier of portable toilets, service trucks, restroom trailers, and deodorizers. “The full integration of vacuum products through this acquisition fits right into Satellite’s vision for the future and will set the foundation for growth in all of our divisions with this exciting technology,” says John Babcock, Satellite’s president.
All of the products in the Sanitrax lineup are based on a retractable concept for compact transportation and are proven to be environmentally friendly, easy to clean, and easy to maintain The modular nature of the product allows it to be set up in different configurations making it customizable to customer needs on-site, making them a great solution for any event or location where a large number of portable toilets are needed. The Sanitrax products are specifically designed for events, festivals, fairs, humanitarian aid, and military operations; places where portable restrooms and sanitation equipment are needed most.
Sanitrax mobile vacuum toilet, sink, urinal, and shower modules were designed around one goal: to improve hygiene, enhance the user experience, reduce shipping costs, and provide a modular, sustainable solution for all mobile restroom needs.
“As the newest division of Satellite Industries, Sanitrax’ customers globally will experience a more local presence and operating within the larger Satellite global structure will allow more focus on product innovation.” Says Marcel Bikker - CEO Sanitrax International BV.
Satellite Industries is a sanitation equipment manufacturer, in business since 1958. A family-owned company specialized in the design and manufacturing of portable restrooms and handwash stations, vacuum trucks, restroom trailers, and deodorizers for the portable sanitation industry.
Satellite Industries is excited to announce that they are expanding deodorizer production in Cedar Park, TX, in a brand-new facility.
Beginning in 1958 and continuing today is Satellite’s vision for improving sanitation worldwide. Todd Hilde, son of founder Al Hilde and the current owner of Satellite, sees the increased use of portable restrooms around the world as an encouraging step towards improved global health. Todd’s vision for Satellite is to expand its presence around the world and Satellite has met the growing demand for its products through acquisitions, investing in new facilities, and most importantly, adding more dedicated employees. That continues today as Satellite Industries expands its deodorizer, cleaning, and chemical manufacturing; continuing to create essential products for the sanitation industry and new jobs in the community.
In 2009, Satellite acquired a long-term supplier and manufacturer of deodorizers and cleaners in Cedar Park, Texas. After which, Satellite created their first deodorizer brand, Safe-T-Fresh. Since the founding of Safe-T-Fresh, Satellite industries has grown its deodorizer production and market share considerably, and have created dozens of jobs in manufacturing for the local community in Cedar Park. Over the past 11 years under the leadership of Doug Loebertmann - VP of the Deodorizer Division, Satellite Industries developed deodorizer technologies that have made Safe-T-Fresh one of the only deodorizer manufacturers to offer Eco-Friendly products.
Years of product development and growth have led to the need for expansion in Satellite's deodorizer division. Today, November 23rd, 2021 Satellite Industries is breaking ground on a new property in Cedar Park, planned to have double the production space of their current facility. According to Loebertmann, "We’ve experienced impressive growth over the last decade, but our growth was limited by our space. The new facility will give us the room to grow our business even more while allowing us to operate more safely and efficiently. We're excited to create new jobs in our community, and more and better products for our customers."
Additionally, the extra space will allow their sister company, Satellite Shelters, to expand their TX operations. Satellite expects a record future in deodorizer production and will be able to create a better working environment for their current and future employees. Satellite President, John Babcock comments, “The growth in our Deodorizer division has been tremendous over the last 10 years and we have managed to keep up with market demand within the original footprint of our manufacturing facility. It is now time to take it to the next level. Our new manufacturing plant will not only provide a solid runway for future growth in the division but will provide new jobs in our community, new products for our customers, and growth opportunities for our employees…. A home run!”
Owner and CEO of Satellite Industries, Todd Hilde, said about the expansion, "God Bless America! We are so fortunate to live in a country and state that allows a unique business like ours to flourish. I am so proud of our team, particularly Doug Loebertmann and John Babcock for making this opportunity come to life."
Satellite Industries is a sanitation equipment manufacturer, in business since 1958. A family-owned company specializing in the design and manufacturing of portable restrooms and handwash stations, vacuum trucks, restroom trailers, and deodorizers. Satellite now provides products to portable restroom operators in over 120 countries around the world.
Today Satellite Industries is excited to announce the promotion of Charlie Senecal to President of Satellite Suites, the restroom trailer division of Satellite Industries, Inc., located in Bristol, Indiana. This advancement marks a key milestone for the company in its rapidly growing restroom trailer division, and is a significant achievement for Senecal, previously Vice President of Satellite Suites, who has worked hard to successfully manage this tremendous growth.
Senecal joined Satellite Industries in 2005 as part of the Synergy World acquisition, a US based portable restroom supplier, and was quickly promoted to National Sales Manager. Prior to joining Satellite, Senecal was instrumental in growing Synergy’s portable restroom sales along the East Coast over a five-year span. After a six-year tenure at JAG Mobile Solutions, a restroom trailer supplier based in Indiana, Senecal rejoined the Satellite team in 2013 to launch its newest restroom trailer division under the brand of Satellite Suites.
Since then, Satellite Suites has experienced remarkable growth, going from 12 to 300 team members, and expanding from an original 30,000 sq foot manufacturing footprint to a 200,000 sq foot state of the art facility today in Bristol, Indiana. This exponential growth did not come without its challenges. Navigating within a tight and competitive labor market, amidst a pandemic and unyielding supply chain disruptions Senecal has painstakingly led the team through the obstacles and transformed the Suites division into the leader of the restroom trailer market, with no plans to slow down.
As President of Satellite Suites, Senecal will report to John Babcock, President of Satellite Industries, and lead an expanded team responsible for manufacturing and supplying restroom trailers across the globe as well as strategies to strengthen customer experience and increase capacity to support continued projected growth.
“Charlie has been a key part of our success since the inception of Satellite Suites and has consistently shown the leadership and managerial excellence in implementing strategies to grow and expand the Suites division and he is ready to take on even more in his new role” says Babcock.
“Being able to work in this dynamic industry with such a dedicated and ever-growing Satellite team has truly been an honor. I’ve never experienced an industry filled with more passionate and sincere customers, vendors, and competitors. I’m eager to meet the upcoming demands and challenges associated with the continual growth of the industries we serve” says Senecal.
To Our Valued Customers,
Each and every day, just like you, our employees get up and come into work ready to serve… to do their best. Right now, we are working days, nights, weekends, and holidays. Time away from our homes… time away from our families in order to keep you supplied with the equipment you need to keep going. This is being done amidst a backdrop of global supply shortages and massive cost spikes in raw materials. Steel has gone up a substantial 215% since October 2020 and plastic resin 185% over the same period. Our recently announced surcharge ranged from 2% to 9% on some of our products which does not come close to covering our cost increases. As it should be, we are bearing the vast majority of the burden and are just asking for a small increase as a partner without taking advantage of the situation.
When we took orders many months ago, we had no idea the world would be as upside down as it is right now. We have had to make reasonable adjustments to the reality of the world we are living in right now, which is that we are all facing a tremendous surge in demand, coupled with the very real challenge of an inability to find labor, components, trucks, etc. And securing all of that for you does come at a tremendously high cost.
We are just as frustrated as you are but please realize that there are many hard-working, passionate people at Satellite who are dedicated to keep you supplied. I can assure you that we are working diligently every day to secure enough materials to keep you supplied by sourcing everywhere we can, expediting freight, paying a premium on labor around the clock including overtime… You need the equipment, and we are working hard to get it to you! Because we care… And we will continue to work to serve you with all our efforts. Thank you for hanging in there with us.
David Williams, CNN Covers the Industry manufacturing lead times and raw material shortages. READ NOW
*Product Update at the End!
For more information and specs on the Tag 4, please view the Tag 4 product page
Dear Valued Customers,
It is my hope that this letter finds you well. At this time in the crisis, we are thankful to be providing sanitation options to people across the globe. We are grateful to serve, and grateful to be working and producing sanitation products.
The portable sanitation industry is certainly rising to the occasion during this unprecedented time. We are seeing widespread innovation occurring across the industry. Our products are on the front line of helping contain this pandemic, and we are seeing new and creative opportunities for our industry. We want to share some of the images we’ve gathered from around the world. Thank you to all the operators who are helping lead this global effort.
Like your business, Satellite Industries has been deemed an essential business under CIMA Guidelines and as such we will remain open and shipping our full range of toilets, deodorizers, service trucks and restroom trailers to keep our industry supplied. As your partner, we will continue working hard to provide essential products and services to support your business and local communities.
Warehouse Operations and Customer Pick Ups
All warehouses are open with no change in business hours. Customer pick-ups are still being accommodated with slight procedural changes to help keep everyone safe:
Regional warehouse locations can found here.
Hand Wash and Sanitizer Products
The industry as a whole is facing unprecedented demand for handwashing products. We believe that this demand will continue forever, and our industry will be changed. We are currently investing to allow for flash demand and steady demand into the next season and year ahead. Our performance with free-standing sink lead times has not been good. We understand you are making commitments to your customers and the supply has been unstable. A significant amount of energy is not only going to fulfill the next 8-12 weeks of orders but even more time into correcting the overly long lead times. We are sorry for the chaos, and help is on the way.
Our chances of meeting the needs of the hand washing/sanitizing market are far greater with external and internal handwashing stations than they are fixing the global hand sanitizer supply chain problems. Water and soap can be found readily and are an effective solution. The world has learned to wash their hands and our industry has a marvelous opportunity here. We hope that all our customers are beginning to envision much more portable hand washing on your routes, and how that will change your management of the route. The cost associated with delivering 10-20 gallons of fresh water per unit, providing soap and paper towels is significant so we hope everyone commands a market price for this service high enough to do an amazing job serving the end-users!
The Slimmate 3, an interior handwash sink, which fits most units in the field including some competitors, has the best lead times and greater capacities to supply quickly. These can be used to convert your existing portable restrooms into a more sanitary solution or creatively used to create a free-standing handwash option like the MacGvyer.
With that said, we have one great announcement regarding bulk hand sanitizer in 55-gallon drums and 275-gallon totes for refilling existing sanitizer bags. An FDA approved hand sanitizer will come online next week, and we will have ample supply of this product along with instructions and a tutorial video on how to refill your own sanitizer bags. You will see perhaps 1-2 week lead times for this product during the peak demand season.
As mobile sites continue to pop up at hospitals and other locations, there has been strong demand for restroom and shower trailers. We have stock on the ground, ready to ship, of some models with more hitting our production lines soon. Please reference Satellite Suites on hand inventory for your immediate needs or contact your regional sales manager to discuss options.
I would also like to update you on our progress since acquiring the Five Peaks brand. We are continuing to integrate the Five Peaks product line into our supply chain and have plenty of units on the shelf in a variety of colors for immediate shipment. We can ship assembled as well as unassembled from multiple locations. Please contact us for available stock. We have also started up new production of the Ride Along sink and Hand Sanitizer Stand to supplement the current demand for these products and will be bringing others online soon.
Human Resources Support
We understand that as an industry built on small businesses, many of you are facing human resource issues related to COVID-19. We are fortunate to have a very talented VP of Human Resources, Michele Pipitone, who has offered her assistance with providing general advice and direction on many of the pressing employee-related issues you now face. She will be posting related information and be available as a resource for you to ask questions of during this time of crisis. For more information please reference our COVID-19 response page.
Stay safe and stay healthy!
Satellite Industries, Inc
Dear Valued Customers,
We are all facing unprecedented times… that is for sure. I would like to take the opportunity in this communication to discuss the challenges and opportunities we are all facing in the portable sanitation industry and share some of the many insights we are learning on a daily basis. We are constantly assessing actions needed immediately in front of us, as well as thinking of what the long-term impact will be on our industry. We all have much to share with each other, and I hope that we all band together to get through these times.
Our industry has been serving disasters, both regionally and nationally, since the time of our inception. We are veterans of disasters, yet I think we will all agree that this one is very different than what we are used to. Regardless, we are in the sanitation business and together our industry has so much to offer in products and services to fight this virus at the street level in communities across the globe.
On one hand, events are being cancelled around the globe which will certainly cause major hardship for our industry. On the other hand, there are opportunities popping up daily to serve communities and our regular customers. As an industry, it is time to get out into our communities (via telephone of course) and find out where we can redeploy our equipment to help fight the spread of this virus with all of our sanitation products.
Here is a list of new opportunities we are seeing:
One thing I feel certain about is that as a result of this global pandemic event, handwashing / hand sanitizing culture around the world will fundamentally change. People will require more access to handwashing facilities, new innovations in mobile hand cleansing will be developed, and customers of portable toilets will require adequate access to handwashing. It may also change the requirements of our service trucks to carry more potable water. It is hard to predict exactly what is to come, but I do feel that our industry will carry a large responsibility in being the innovator of these hand cleaning options.
These are just some of the potential opportunities in front of us that could be leveraged to offset some losses in the traditional single unit deployment, as events and gatherings are cancelled.
Our industry carries a great responsibility in playing a critical role in containing the spread of germs and disease, and I hope that through active cooperation and leadership of our collective companies we can weather these uncertain times together and create new opportunities for our industry going forward.
At Satellite we are working hard to keep our doors open and our employees safe. We will do everything in our power to continue serving you. All employees know that they do not need to worry about their paycheck if they require quarantine and/or medical attention due to a COVID-19 diagnosis. We provide everyone with supportive encouragement, so that they can remove themselves from the environment without financial or moral concern.
As much as we are able, products will keep being made and shipping out the door to you. I would, however, point out that because similar products are in demand right now, the supply chain is heavily taxed and we along with every other supplier are experiencing longer than normal lead times. I thank you in advance for patience in this matter.
As the next days, weeks and months unfold, we will learn more about the impact of this pandemic event on our industry. I will be sure to keep communication flowing with ideas and thoughts on how we can continue working together to keep our industry healthy.
Satellite Industries, Inc
Satellite Industries has purchased the existing Five Peaks brand, inventory and tooling, in order to keep Five Peaks customers supplied with spare parts and new units. That means customers can keep their business growing with existing equipment in their fleet.
The goal is to keep customers supplied with both parts as well as existing complete units from our inventory while we integrate the manufacturing of core products from Five Peaks into our system.
We look forward to the opportunity to serve Five Peaks customers and the portable sanitation industry further by keeping this important brand alive! Please stay tuned for more information to come.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your Regional Manager or Andrea Buntley (former Five Peaks representative who joined the Satellite family in 2019).
“It is an honor to combine these two great companies into one,” said Todd Hilde, CEO and owner of Satellite Industries. “PolyPortables’ strong leadership and quality products make the combination of our companies something I believe will be a tremendous benefit to our customers, employees and the industry. In the end, we will develop more products and services, advance industry knowledge and provide a higher level of technical support.”
“We also understand that our differences as companies are what is attractive to our customers,” adds Todd. “PolyPortables customers will continue to work directly with their Sales Representatives and Satellite customers will continue working with their Area Manager with the added benefit of being able to purchase each other’s products.”
“Any changes going forward will focus on how it benefits our customers and employees,” said Todd. “Both companies have a long history of customer and employee longevity and we expect this new company will only strengthen those relationships.”
Eric Capers, President of PolyPortables, also recognizes the benefits. “Our decision to accept the purchase offer by Satellite came about because of seeing the advantages to both our customers and employees,” said Eric. “We are going to focus on leveraging the strengths of both companies for the good of our customers.”
“Both Satellite and Polyportables’ teams are excited to join forces,” said John Babcock, President of Satellite Industries. “We have similar cultures and are dedicated to serving our customers, which means providing a wider variety of products, people, locations and resources.”
We’re celebrating 2018 by thanking you for sixty years in business. Without our customers, we could not have reached this milestone!
As our thanks to you, we will be giving away 60 gifts to 60 lucky winners at this year’s WWETT Show! Look for a registration card in the January and February issues of PRO magazine. Fill out the card and bring it to booth 4030 to enter the drawing!
Every year we enjoy seeing many Satellite customers. This year, we hope to see you and hopefully, make you one of the lucky winners!
We met in the early ‘60’s’, both in our late 20’s. Al had just moved his fledging business from Marshall Avenue in N.E. Minneapolis to Plymouth. I was in a small law firm where the senior partner also taught Business Law at the University of Minnesota. Al attended that course.
Al became one of my first clients and to this day I think of him as the personification of work ethic and of how an individual with an idea (and not a lot else) can become an extremely successful entrepreneur in America.
But wait a minute, when I said, “not a lot else”, I forgot about his greatest virtue – her name is Jayne. She was the right woman for him and kept him “grounded”. But a business doesn’t grow, or last, without some other essentials. It takes people to run it and Al always kept focused on getting the right employees. A lot of effort went into finding compensation systems that rewarded and motivated all who came to Satellite. In one sense, it wasn’t a high-tech business but Al made it feel like one by his constant search to build a better unit and discover the perfect chemicals. The right employees were critical in the hunt for a “better mouse trap”. Much time was also spent expanding via acquisitions and quality control by picking the right vendors.
Ah yes, but that was over 55 years ago and I was asked to be brief, plus it shouldn’t be my job to nominate him for sainthood.
So, I will say just one more thing: Al didn’t inherit his business and he didn’t just get lucky----he earned it.
I saw it happen.
Assistant Chairman/Board Member
“I was in a pickup truck traveling to a national show in San Diego with the very first Tufway in the back. Just past Las Vegas I looked in my mirror and saw it tumbling across the pavement. Stopping quickly, I retrieved the unit with its scuff marks but no broken parts.
At the show, I was explaining to a potential customer why there were scuff marks. He asked me how fast I was traveling when it fell out of the truck. I told him 55 mph. He bought the demo unit and put in an order for more toilets. I guess it was a pretty good testimony of the durability of the Tufway.”