Jasmine Sonmor, president and CEO of Aura Fabricators Inc., of Dalton, is no stranger to hard work. At the age of 13, she began working in her father’s fabrication shop doing yard work and other miscellaneous office administration tasks. As she mastered her tasks, she worked her way up through the ranks, securing more important roles such as quality auditing, process development and working in fabrication itself. It was this experience that led her to the discovery that there was a void in the market, leaving one company responsible for the entirety of the demanded supply.
“I figured that it was a perfect opportunity to try to step in and complete,” shared Sonmor.
Sonmor graduated from Underwood High School in 2010 and attended North Dakota State University (NDSU), obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. Prior to graduation, she stepped away from her father’s fabrication business and began development of her own company, thus was the birth of Aura Fabricators Inc. The knowledge and experience Sonmor gained both during her time in her father’s shop and at college allowed Sonmor to hit the ground running immediately upon graduation and she began placing bids within the new market immediately.
Aura Fabricators Inc. specializes in miscellaneous and structural metal fabrication, such as overhead sign structures and structural steel bridge girders primarily serving Department of Transportation (DOT) markets in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakota and Hawaii. They work with other states as well as solicited by their customers.
While Aura Fabricators Inc. is a successful growing company with two Minnesota locations, its success hasn’t come without some challenges. In addition to the regular, run-of-the-mill ones new companies face, some discrimination came into play as well.
Metal fabrication is a predominantly male industry and the emergence of a new company with a young female minority owner was faced with some backlash by competitors, auditors and even some customers; but Sonmor’s perseverance and dedication to hard work and high quality prevailed.
“Ultimately, I never let those road bumps deter me or my company’s success. We always push through and let our work and track record speak for itself,” she said.
An ongoing challenge faced by Sonmor and Aura Fabricators Inc., is the lack of skilled trade workers.
“We do what we can to attract potential skilled trade workers by getting involved at the high school level,” Sonmore explained. “We stay in contact with the local high schools and offer advice or resources for their students to succeed. We also stay in touch with the community colleges and make sure that the students know that we exist and are a great place to work! Lastly, we do our best to promote and grow our employees from within. As we grow, positions get added or responsibilities change and we love to see our own step up to new challenges and roles.”
Sonmor credits her impact on the market and on her growing company to the fact that she isn’t afraid of going after a challenge, even if the pathway isn’t clear cut.
“Sometimes, my teammates push back because we aren’t quite sure how we will get the job done. But, I always have full faith in our abilities and push us to our fullest potential. It’s because of this that I’ve seen great growth in the men and women that surround me. Ultimately, when we prove to ourselves that we are capable of more than we could have ever imagined, the pride and sense of accomplishment that we feel is worth all of the headache and hard work. And we continue to grow because of this!”