This December, On Site Companies is excited to celebrate its 30th anniversary. In the past three decades, On Site has grown from a simple mom and pop business for porta potty rental in Minnesota to a company with more than one hundred employees over five branches and multiple services.
The Early Years
On Site Companies was founded by Dave and Karen Holm in 1989 with truly humble beginnings. It was started with “a truck and a cellphone.” That truck was a used one at that, driven to Minnesota from Ohio. “Dave flew out to get the truck,” says Dave’s daughter, Molly. “He only took a toolbox with him. The truck broke down on the way to Minnesota, so it’s a good thing he had the tools.”
In the early years, Dave was salesman, operations manager, and technician. Dave would take the call, drive the truck, place and service units, and handle all customer service. His wife, Karen, would come home from her fulltime job to do the bookkeeping at night. Dave and Karen’s children, Molly and Russ, were “cheap child labor” in the summers, assembling porta potties. Russ and Molly would also go out in the truck with Dave on calls on days off from school.
Dave worked longed hours in those days, but always had his eye on the future. “I remember when we got our first computer,” reminisces Russ. “We didn’t know exactly what we were going to use it for, but we knew it was going to be important if we wanted to grow.”
Growth was always the goal, and growth did come in the early days. It wasn’t long before On Site Sanitation (as it was called then) added its first official employees both in the field and in the office. From there, the growth continued, with more team members to help with routes and deliveries.
The next big landmark came in 1993 with the acquisition of the current headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. “It was essentially three people in this big building,” remembers Russ. “Everything was in an enclosed office [on the west end of the building] and everything else was essentially empty. It was projected growth.”
“Our grandfather was instrumental to buying this building,” recalls Molly. Indeed, today there is a plaque commemorating Alan Holm at On Site’s headquarters.
Another milestone in the 90s was the addition of climate control equipment rental to On Site’s services. It came about as a way to continue to grow the business by adding more services that complimented the sanitation side of the business. On Site was now truly more than porta potty rental in Minnesota.
While On Site Companies started in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, they would soon expand, opening branch offices. St. Louis, the oldest of the branches, celebrated its own fifteen year anniversary in 2019.
Beyond St. Louis, On Site Companies now has branches in Rochester and Mankato, Minnesota. And, as of October, 2019, On Site is excited to have expanded its services to the Duluth, Minnesota area. All of On Site’s branches offer the same On Site services and maintain its high standard of professional service, utilizing our efficient routing and technology to make sure what you get at a branch is the same thing you would get at our main office.
On Site and The PSAI
On Site has been a long-time member of the Portable Sanitation Association International (PSAI). Karen Holm served as president of the PSAI for two non-consecutive terms. On Site has always endeavored to exemplify the standards of the PSAI. “We want to elevate our industry,” says Molly. The professional standards of On Site mesh perfectly with those of the PSAI and On Site is proud to continue to contribute to the growth of the sanitation industry.
Today and Tomorrow
In early 2019, Dave and Karen Holm’s children, Russ and Molly, officially took ownership of On Site Companies. Both Molly and Russ worked for On Site since the beginning, working their way up in the company. As a teenager, Russ would help on routes and service. When climate control equipment was added, Russ learned how to be a heat technician. Molly too started at “the bottom,” working in the office in various roles. “In my eyes, I’ve always had a stake in On Site,” says Russ. “I’ve always taken ‘ownership.’”
One thing both Russ and Molly want to credit for the success of On Site is the hard work and dedication of all the staff over the past thirty years. “It takes a team,” says Russ. “The way we’ve grown is thanks to others.”
As On Site Companies heads into its next stage of life, we’re excited to continue to grow and keep serving our customers. Here’s to the next thirty years!