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High in the mountains of Chile, portable restroom operator Rodrigo Duarte examines a Global restroom that tumbled 400 feet down the side of a cliff and landed in the mining pit where he services restrooms on a daily basis.

Rodrigo owns MegaAmbiente, a portable restroom business in Chile that services copper mines in the arid northern region of the country.   It is here, 12,000 feet above sea level, where you find the richest copper mines in the world.  In fact, Chile ranks number one in the world in copper production and these mines require many portable restrooms to operate efficiently.

Except for a few scuff marks and five broken rivets, this Global survived a 400 foot fall

Starting up in 2010, Rodrigo began his business with red, white and blue Global restrooms and a 450 gallon aluminum slide in unit from Satellite.  It is a harsh environment and both men and equipment are tested by extreme temperatures and gale force winds.   Northern Chile is also the driest place on earth where no rain has fallen in some regions dating back to the 1960’s.

Conditions are so harsh mining companies require that all drivers servicing portable restrooms undergo physical testing to insure they can perform physically demanding work at high altitudes.

The mine where Rodrigo happened to be the morning he found the Global at the bottom of the cliff is deep in the mountains, where snowfall is common during the winter months.   The night before,  a storm producing 100 kilometer winds (60 mph) and six inches of snow blew the Global off the cliff.

Rodrigo expected the Global to be damaged by the fall.  Amazingly, the Global was intact.   There were scuff marks and obviously it needed a good cleaning, but the only repair would be replacing 5 rivets.

Except for a few scuff marks and five broken rivets, this Global survived a 400 foot fall

Even before the fall, Rodrigo was convinced Global restrooms were right for his business.  The unique Dirtbuster base is perfect for the mines because the dirt and gravel tracked in by workers falls through the open grid reducing the time it takes to clean the unit.   That’s why Rodrigo recently increased his fleet with an order of purple Global restrooms.

Staging area for assembling new Global restrooms

All operators experience harsh conditions running their business.  High in the Andes Mountains Rodrigo probably experiences them more often, but he isn’t complaining.  Being in control and owning your own business in very rewarding, no matter what part of the world you live in.


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The public would be interested to know that the portable restroom industry saves approximately 125 million gallons of fresh, drinkable water each day. That is enough water to fill four lakes, each the size and depth of a large football stadium, every single day.

Annually, the amount of water saved is over 45 billion gallons. In an era when fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce this is a significant savings. The fact is, operators who deploy restrooms and the people who use them are thereby part of an important water conservation activity—and they probably don’t even recognize it.

To learn more about how portable restrooms, and you, are changing the world click here.

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Most people would probably agree that improving people’s lives and
preserving the environment are very worthy goals. If both of these objectives can be achieved at once, that’s even better. That’s exactly the value proposition we offer in the portable restroom industry.

Portable restrooms fulfill two roles, depending on where they are deployed. In the United States and other developed countries, they are viewed as a convenience. In the rest of the world, they can be lifesaving because they prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases.

Americans take portable restrooms for granted and probably don’t even think about the benefits beyond the immediate convenience they provide at a special event or on a work site. If we would educate users of our products so they understand the positive impact we are having on health and the environment, the perceived value of what we provide would increase.

We recognize the end user often has a negative view of a portable restroom. If we elevate their impression – and we believe we can do that by highlighting the benefits they provide – then we can expect a shift in perception where users see themselves participating in the effort to protect our natural resources.

The public would be interested to know the portable restroom industry saves approximately 125 million gallons of fresh, drinkable water each day. That’s enough water to fill four lakes, each the size and depth of a large football stadium, every single day. Annually, the amount of water saved is over 45 billion gallons. In an era when freshwater is becoming increasingly scarce this is a significant savings. The fact is, operators who deploy restrooms and the people who use them are thereby part of an important water conservation activity – and they probably don’t even recognize it.

Operators understand that placing portable restrooms at work sites conserves fuel and increases worker productivity. Rather than having to take breaks from work and drive to remote, permanent toilet facilities, workers are able to have the convenience of facilities right at their work sites.

A portable restroom lasts 15-30 years. In that time, it will appear in many locations. Truly, a portable restroom is a green product. It contains recycled plastic and is recycled each time it is brought to a new site. Imagine the expense of having to build something more permanent at every work site or having to send workers to remote locations to use the toilet. Worse would be if people reverted to not using a restroom at all and we were faced with contaminated groundwater similar to that in undeveloped nations, where 40 percent of people have no bathroom facilities.

Developed countries may face the threat of disease from human waste after a natural disaster. Once the immediate concerns of saving lives and preventing further injuries is addressed, the next phase in recovery is providing clean water, sanitation and electricity. Countries with the ability to provide these resources are very fortunate. Many disasters would be far worse if portable restrooms were not deployed quickly, because a sanitation- and health-oriented environmental problem would compound the problems caused by a natural disaster.

In developed countries, it is difficult to explain how bad the situation would be if portable restrooms were not placed where people expect them to be, whether at a work site, at the scene of a natural disaster or at a big event.

At most, members of the public might have been to an event where the organizers failed to plan well and had more people attend than expected, thereby creating an inconvenience – specifically, long lines – to use restrooms.

Yet few people have probably ever been in a situation where the lack of portable sanitation would create a big problem. To explain the magnitude of the potential problem, it is instructive to describe a situation where portable toilets are not available, but are desperately needed.

India presents an example, where thousands of people will descend on a city for several days to take part in a religious festival. Without adequate portable sanitation options, people relieve themselves on the ground. Outbreaks of sickness are a result for several months and some people die because of the lack of proper sanitation.

The fact that we don’t have problems like this in the developed world is testament to the positive impact the portable restroom industry has and to the critical role it plays in a civilized society. Our purpose is greater than our own little world. We should be proud of the service we offer, and we want operators to think that way. Our industry is saving lives, and on top of that, we were
“green” long before it became fashionable.

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Satellite Industries has been selected by Managing Automation magazine as one of their top 100 companies in 2011 for a Progressive Manufacturing 100 Award (PM100). The PM100 Awards honor manufacturing companies that have transformed themselves through the use of information technology.

Satellite was specifically recognized in the category of Business Model Mastery for their use of technology to connect customers, suppliers and employees on a global level. The connectivity
provides many advantages such as online ordering, inventory monitoring and replenishment, shipment tracking, banking, order processing and many other administrative functions.

“Many companies our size have not taken the step of becoming global,” said Todd Hilde, President and CEO of Satellite Industries. “Our adventurous spirit has pushed us to all corners of
the world and the need to leverage technology has become increasingly critical. We have deployed technology to link our supply chain and customers together by utilizing multiple
technology platforms and processes. You do not need to be a fortune 500 company to leverage technology globally, but you do need the drive and the spirit.”

Other winners of the 2011 PM100 Award include Boeing, L’Oreal, IBM, Ford, Honeywell and Motorola. Winners in prior years include the companies shown here.“

“As we prepare for the eventual end of the Great Recession, these winning companies dramatically underscore how the manufacturing industry will begin to emerge in an even stronger position once a recovery takes a firm hold,” says David Brousell, Editor-in-Chief of Managing Automation. “The projects that enabled these companies to become PM100 winners reflect great creativity and inventiveness, a determined willingness to take risk, and an enduring resilience to continually improve every aspect of their business. These companies are leading the way to a better future.”

The award will be presented at Manufacturing Leadership Summit on May 11, 2011 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. Click here to find out more about the PM100 Awards visit

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Do porta-potties have the power to save lives?

For Todd Hilde, CEO of Plymouth-based Satellite Industries, the answer is most definitely yes.

Satellite provides sanitation products, including portable toilets and hand-washing stations, to more than 80 countries worldwide. The products play a key role in preventing disease in developing nations, and also help communities recover when disaster strikes, Hilde said.

For example, if a village in India hosts a large event, the community’s population could double and all those people need a place to go to the bathroom. Without portable toilets, they’ll resort to using the ground or other outdoor areas, Hilde said.

The unsanitary conditions could cause the village to become sick for a month or two and people could die.

“We take [those amenities] for granted,” Hilde said.

The need for portable sanitation products also is acute when natural disasters strike. Satellite plays a role in those situations, as well. It recently provided facilities for flood-ridden Minot, N.D., for instance.

“Our industry saves lives and helps communities get back on their feet,” Hilde said.

Hilde’s father, Al, founded Satellite in 1958. An army veteran and a lover of outdoor activities, Hilde’s father didn’t quite invent the portable toilet, but he was the first to have a modern-day rental and service company for porta-potties.

The business has since gone global, but not without hiccups, Hilde said.

Success in the portable sanitation field is very much tied to single-family housing, he said. In the 1990s, many thought the portable sanitation market was mature and there wouldn’t be much room for growth. However, a housing boom in the 2000s created a need for more portable toilets. Contractors used to go to the bathroom in the basement of the home on which they were working, but that eventually became unacceptable, Hilde said.

When the housing market later collapsed, the company found itself digging out of a hole.

Still, with yearly revenues between $50 million and $100 million, Satellite is primed to continue its global expansion.

“Some companies our size would be afraid to go around the world — the owner doesn’t want to delegate. He’s afraid to take the plunge. … That’s our future — going global,” Hilde said.

The company doesn’t release exact figures on revenue, sales or units, but officials said Satellite employs between 75 and 100. The cost of a single unit can vary from $500 to $2,000.

Perhaps Satellite’s biggest objective now is conveying the environmentally friendly benefits of its portable sanitation products.

Hilde said portable toilets save 125,000 gallons of water a day. Plus, because users aren’t forced to hop in their cars and drive to the nearest gas station while tailgating, the toilets save gasoline, too.

Entities that use Satellite have high praise for the company.

Cat Cans Portable Services, a portable sanitation rental company in Manhattan, Kan., buys nearly all the products it rents from Satellite.

“They seem to be the best in my opinion,” said Matt Wallace, the owner of Cat Cans. “If you just compare their porta-potties to others — the way they’re put together, stainless steel, nuts and bolts — it’s stuff that’s made to last.”

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Where in the world is there a growing portable restroom company? Try looking in the remote northern regions of Chile, where miners extract valuable minerals such as copper, gold and silver.

It is in the rich copper mines of northern Chile where you will find Eugenio Hasbun Zlatar. Eugenio is the owner of Megacorp, a growing portable restroom company hired to provide portable restrooms to thousands of miners in a desolate part of the world.

If you are wondering how desolate, consider some facts about the Atacama Desert. It is a series of dry salt basins flanked on the west by the Pacific coastal range and on the east by the Andes. There is practically no vegetation; rain has virtually never been recorded in some localities and some river beds appear to have been dry for tens of thousands of years. Much of the area has recorded less than an inch of rain since the 1960’s.

Mining is big business in Chile. In 2008, investors pumped 27 billion into copper mining projects. If the economic downturn had not occurred, another 10 billion would have been invested. As it is, there is still plenty of mining activity in remote area and these multi-billion, multi-national companies demand quality, even in their portable restrooms.

When Eugenio realized he was going to land a large service contract, he got serious about choosing which portable restroom to bring into the mines. His existing restrooms were not acceptable for use in the mines. They were locally made fiberglass units and the quality and durability would not stand up under the scrutiny of the mining officials in charge of portable restrooms.

Eugenio started his search for the restrooms on the internet. Soon, he arranged a trip to the United States that included a stop in Plymouth, Minnesota to see what Satellite had to offer. After seeing the full lineup of restrooms, he chose the new Mondo in high-visibility orange with a Dirt Buster base. Eugenio is convinced he has the right restroom to bring back to Chile for his special event, construction and newly acquired mining business.

In the end, quality is the only way to build a successful business. It is a principle that works around the world. For Eugenio, flying from one hemisphere to another in his search for the best restroom was worth it. How important is it for you? For information about Satellite products contact your Area Manager. For Central, South America and Australia contact Michael Pederson at 763-551-7260.

Mondo Portable Restroom

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With the addition of the Global line, Satellite can now service the portable sanitation industry with a low priced leader.

For years, Satellite has wanted a portable restroom to offer operators that would exceed the quality of lower cost units available in the industry, at a similar price. The addition of Global and Global 1.5 restrooms fills the need for Satellite and ultimately the operator.

The challenges of forming a plastic restroom and retaining strength, quality and a competitively priced unit are a complicated process. Considering that the cost of plastic resin hit an all time high in 2008, it is easy to understand why Satellite was in a holding pattern developing a quality, low cost restroom.

This past year it became more important for Satellite to find a solution. The answer became apparent as competitors began to contact Satellite regarding purchasing their product line.

The initial attempt to acquire a lower priced product resulted in an agreement between Satellite and Ameriform, creators of Five Peaks’ Aspen and K2 restrooms. In the agreement, Satellite acquired the rights to sell and market the restrooms, but never purchased the actual molds.

As time went by, it became apparent that Satellite and Ameriform would not be able to sustain a long term relationship. But, before the business relationship ended, Hampel Corp. approached Satellite with an offer to sell their line of restroom products.

This time, Satellite invested in purchasing the molds for the Global and Global 1.5. The quality of the two restrooms and their market price fit precisely with the intended goal. Not only were they a step above other low end restrooms in terms of quality, the new relationship with Hampel also provided Satellite increased options for product manufacturing.

Additionally, Satellite is now able to provide operators the popular Dirt Buster Base. The open grid base has been widely accepted due to the increased amount of fresh air that can flow through the restroom. Operators will be happy to know that the base also fits on many of Satellites’ most popular restrooms.

Other products, such as the Stylelite sink and Graffiti panels, formerly offered by Hampel, are available through Satellite as well. The Stylelite is a convenient, one piece sink with built in soap and towel dispensers that fits in most standard units. Graffiti panels are for covering the interior walls of restrooms with significant graffiti damage. Panels are available for most brands of portable restrooms.

In the end, it was a poor economy which produced the next growth opportunity for Satellite. Maybe the poor economy is presenting you with opportunities. As Winston Churchill said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. Today might be the best time to invest in your business.

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Satellite is now warehousing and distributing McKee Technologies trailers, the industries finest.

The trailers can handle any size base with their adjustable carrier slats and the multiple strapping options allow you to secure them easily to the frame. Trailers range in size from 2 to 24 unit haulers.

Satellite has everything you need to operate your business properly. Adding McKee trailers is one more reason to team up with a company that understands what it takes to run your business.

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Satellite Industries, Inc. is excited to announce its purchase of Hampel Corporations line of portable restrooms. Effective June 1st, Satellite Industries will take over the ownership, operation, sales and marketing of the popular Global and 1.5 Global portable restrooms as well as the StyleLite internal hand wash sink from Hampel in Germantown, WI.

Current Global customers can expect outstanding customer service and support from the Satellite team, said Todd Hilde, CEO/Owner of Satellite Industries. Our business is really about partnering with operators. Adding Hampel products is another step in this direction because now we can offer operators new options for building a more profitable business.

This acquisition is part of our overall business strategy during this challenging economy, added Todd. Companies like ours are choosing to consolidate in order to remain strong in a weak economy. We attempted to apply this strategy with Five Peaks as previously announced, but were unsuccessful with that transaction.

Satellite and Hampel will both benefit from this purchase according to Lance Hampel, CEO/Owner of Hampel. The sale of our restroom product line is very exciting because we will continue to manufacture the Global parts for Satellite, plus, add Satellite thermoformed parts to our production facility. This allows Hampel to increase plastic forming production at a time when most companies are struggling.

Additionally, The Country Classic model will be discontinued after all remaining inventory is sold. Production of the Sunrise restroom recently displayed by Hampel will be delayed indefinitely until economic conditions improve and the market demands the need for such a product.

For further information regarding Hampel or Satellite restrooms, trucks and deodorizers contact Satellite Industries at 800-328-3332 or visit

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Satellite’s line of septic trucks is gaining a lot of attention from operators familiar with the company according to Wes Tuttle, Truck General Manager.

Wes has a tremendous amount of experience with the septic truck business. He came to Satellite from FMI Truck Sales and Service in Portland, OR in 2006 to expand the company’s truck line beyond restroom service vehicles.

For information on Septic or Restroom trucks, call John Olson or Wes at 800-328-3332.

Contact us at 1-800-328-3332