Ron Waldner


Ron Waldner

Snowflake Metalworks
Dakota Rising Lawrence County

Ron’s childhood was spent on the rural prairies near Carpenter, South Dakota.  He attended school in Willow Lake while his passion for design grew.  Farm and shop class experiences with welding and fabrication provided creative outlets and problem-solving opportunities.  After graduating high school in 1987 and a brief stint in a packing plant, he enrolled at Lake Area Votech in Watertown, SD in June of 1988.  He received a degree in Advanced Building Trades, which gave him tools to take on design and construction problems.

He next moved to DeSmet, SD where he went to work for Gordon Holland Construction.  This was a position that brought valuable experience which enhanced his education in this trade.

In the spring of 1991 he started a small manufacturing business in his garage; Yankee Manufacturing.  Through Yankee, he produced a small group of products he designed, built, and delivered.  It was no shortage of determination or ingenuity that enabled him to come up with a straw chipper hinge kit for John Deere combines.  He sold these products across North America after being featured in Farm Show Magazine.

In 1994 he started his own construction business.  The following summer he sold the rights to his hinge kits and shut down Yankee Manufacturing to focus on the construction business.  During the summer of 1996, he had the opportunity to bui8ld a show home for Enercept, Inc. (a national leader in structural insulated panels or ‘SIPs’) at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds in Huron, SD.  He found working with these panels enjoyable and gained valuable exposure.

In response to a friend’s need to frame a cabin, he traveled to the Black Hills where he found the natural beauty, low humidity and lack of mosquitoes too good to leave behind.  For the next year he worked at developing a business on Terry Peak while still contracting jobs in DeSmet.  In August 2001, he finally moved to Lead.  Since that time, he has built more than 20 custom homes (15 on Terry Peak alone), most of which he designed himself.

He has created many custom staircases in the course of building these homes, and began welding the snowflake design in the stair railing and deck railings.  Just in the past couple years, he has started making the railings as stand-alone products.