The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Business

July 15, 2014

Lake Crystal's Hepworth travels world installing massive stadium doors

From RFK Stadium to Saudia Arabia, the single employee business doesn't lack customers

In Jim Hepworth’s world, new doors are always opening. One of his biggest projects has taken him frequently to Saudi Arabia. Another might soon lead him to Brazil. Having reached full retirement age, he’s busier than ever, and each new door that opens seems to keep the retirement door shut.

If you ask directly what he does, Hepworth is succinct: “Construction consultant.” But that doesn’t begin to tell the story.

Door Solutions Corporation, owned entirely by Jim and his wife, Judy, can supply a construction consultant, a project manager, an installation supervisor, or a concept designer – and each and every one of those functions is filled by the company’s sole fulltime employee, Jim Hepworth. He specializes in work at large stadiums, often charged with making massive sliding doors and retractable roofs operate properly. And someday, when he’s done with construction, maybe he can write a travel book about the places he’s seen.

The list of major projects in which the Lake Crystal resident has participated is impressive indeed: a decade ago, Hepworth helped install 7,000 motorized, moveable seats at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., so the stadium could be reconfigured for various sports. He had to make sure the baseball alignment would leave the foul pole within an inch of allowable variation; an umpiring crew armed with lasers came in to verify.

He has worked in China and Hawaii, as well as at the Kennedy Space Center. He did work at an Air Force NORAD base north of the Arctic Circle. For security reasons, he can’t reveal much about what he did there, except to say, his work had to test out at 40-degrees below zero.

After getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Hepworth worked for a time with emotionally disturbed children in Chicago. He eventually moved to this area with Judy, who’s from Lake Crystal. He began working as a fabrication manager for Door Engineering of Kasota, while taking engineering and business courses at Mankato State.

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