Manufacturers of Snow Fence, Sand Fence, and Split Rail Fence

There’s “Snow” Business like Fence Business
(Edited by Paul Strilich – FENCEPOST July-August ‘91)

    You wouldn’t expect it. Snow fencing and excitement aren’t exactly two commodities that find themselves in the same realm all that often. But there’s no doubt about it. Over the years, the miles of fencing that are the legacy of an Ohio-based company definitely have gone where the action is.

    The tie that binds such unlikely regions as the snow-covered Alaskan tundra, the sun-baked oil fields of Saudi-Arabia, the swampland of the Florida everglades, the jungles of Vietnam, and the highways and byways of the US was first knotted in the unassuming quarters of Kalinich Fence Company in Strongsville, Ohio.

Spanning Three Generations
    The nation’s oldest snow fence manufacturer in terms of continuous operation is now in its third generation of ownership – all with the name of Mike Kalinich.

    Today, the fences – often referred to as utility fences – are basically the same snow fences which Mike Kalinich manufactured on a weaving machine he built himself. The company’s founder was born in Hungary and began the present operation in Cleveland in 1920. The first machine was hand powered with a daily capacity of 1,000 feet — 20 50-foot rolls.

    In 1954, company leadership passed from founder to son, as Michael “Mike” Kalinich assumed the reigns on his return from the Korean War. A semi-automatic machine enabled the company to up its daily output to 5,000 feet per day — 100 50-foot rolls.

    The third namesake, Michael Kalinich, Jr., joined the company in 1977 after graduation from college. The company’s founder, Mike Kalinich, died a year later at the age of 98. In his climb to the position of vice president, the younger Kalinich worked in the company’s shipping yards, manufacturing plant and as a truck driver.

Not Just for Snow Anymore
    Kalinich snow fences became a familiar roadside sight as their use to control blowing snow became evident throughout the Snow Belt states. But the list of customers who currently do business with the family-owned and operated company reads like a veritable Who’s Who in the fields of government, industry and safety.

    In addition to snow control, Kalinich fencing has found its way to widely separated places. In the Saudi Arabian desert, the fencing is used for sand control around oil rigs. At NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s Cape Canaveral, it is used for perimeter security around the launching pads because it doesn’t disturb the ultra-sensitive radar system in place there. It’s also used to control the blowing snow that threatens the Alaskan oil pipeline.

    In Florida and Alabama, the fencing is used for sand control to prevent erosion from tides. Further, the Florida department of National Resources has even painted the Kalinich fence green for use in the everglades area to control alligators from becoming “highway fatalities.”

    The company has contracts with state highway departments in Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico, Virginia, West Virginia and a host of individual cities and townships, agriculture and recreation departments, and nurseries across the country. The US Department of Defense has ordered the fencing for use along Air Force runways. Burlington, Goodrich and Goodyear use the Kalinich product as crating for shipments of cotton and bulk rubber.

    The fences were even used for crowd control on a couple of occasions: at Snake River Canyon when Evel Kneivel attempted to motorcycle over the gorge; and during Pope Paul’s visit to Chicago in the early eighties.

    But extraordinary orders aside, the bulk of the snow fencing is used for just that: snow. Today, the company’s average daily production with six machines is 35,000 feet of fence – 700 50-foot rolls, which figures to 6.62 miles. This requires 119,000 wood slats, 245,000 feet of wire weighing 7,700 pounds, and 700 gallons of red oxide (Dye Specs) to give the fence its familiar coloration.

    During the June-to-December peak season, Kalinich Fence Company churns out nearly 11 ½ miles of fencing a day, when the plant is operating seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Meeting Changing Demands
    Trucks bearing materials from as far away as California, Oregon, British Columbia, Nov a Scotia and New Brunswick constantly pull in and out of the Kalinich lot. But the bulk of the wood laths come from the company’s plant in Newbury, Michigan.

    The Upper Peninsula plant – Newbury Wood Enterprises – went into production in 1983. With the purchase of the former pallet mill, Kalinich Fence Company now has its own mill located right in the heart of vast stands of aspen, spruce and cedar. The Newbury firm manufacturers the lath and ships it to the Ohio plant.

Strong Strongsville Ties
    With three plants in operation – Strongsville, Newbury and Houston – the company employs over 100? people. But its main base is most assuredly in Ohio.

    Why? According to company vice president, Michael, Jr., “Strongsville was close to the Ohio Turnpike and US Route 32, which were the lifelines of Ohio.” Michael added, “And once nearby Interstate 71 opened, our location truly placed us at the ‘Crossroad of the Nation,’ with access to all points in the north, south, east and west.”

    In Strongsville, however, the Kalinich name is synonymous with a lot more than fences. Mike Kalinich, the founder’s son and company president, has served on the Board of Trustees of the Chamber of Commerce, as a member of the Southwest General Hospital Board of Trustees, and as chairman of the board of a local financial institution.

    Company vice president, Michael, is following in his father’s footsteps as far as involvement is concerned. The younger Kalinich was elected as AFA President last January, after working his way up through the association’s volunteer ranks.

    Michael, Jr., the father of three, said he’s not worried “at this point” whether his sons decide to continue the family tradition by going into the fencing business. Michael III is seven, Clinton is four, and Daniel is two.


Minimum Order Required The Kalinich Fence Company is a manufacturer of fencing products. Minimum product quantities may be required for certain direct purchases
© 2011 The Kalinich Fence Company 12223 Prospect Rd. Strongsville, Ohio 44149
800-650-FENCE (3362)