Sheet Metal Solutions Journey

Group of people holding banner that says Sheet Metal Solutions

Mark LaTour contacted the UMD Center for Economic Development (UMD CED) to receive Small Business Development Center (SBDC) consulting assistance a number of years ago. At that time he and a partner wanted to discuss starting a HVAC/sheet metal fabrication business.  They were young ambitious men ready to start their entrepreneurial journey.

After a period of time Mark’s partner decided not to pursue this venture and he was left without a business partner. Mark however had a life partnership. His wife Becky, had a full time job as an accounting controller and owned a tax preparation business. They decided Becky would leave her job so that husband and wife could start what is now Sheet Metal Solutions, an HVAC contractor and metal fabricating shop.

UMD CED helped the LaTour’s on their entrepreneurial journey by assisting with developing financial projections, a business plan and advising on the different types and entities in the lending process. Business consultant, Curt Walczak, encouraged them to keep going and became a sounding board for Mark and Becky as they experienced these trials.  From finding a building, financing problems, and navigating the world of business regulations Mark and Becky have overcome the ups and downs of starting a business.

“The SMS team’s passion truly shows in their work at Tavern on the Hill. Their ability to get things done quickly and professionally is second to none.” –Cullen Flaherty, Vice President of Operations, Black Woods Group, Restaurants & Catering

Mark and Becky are honest, hard-working, and tenacious in making their dream come true. They reflect the culture and work ethic that is inherent in the Duluth community.  They have worked hard to start and grow their business and still make time for each other and their two young boys. They can be admired for their values and work ethic.

Becky LaTour expressed her gratitude, “We are so very proud of this! Our business consultant Curt Walczak and the UMD Center for Economic Development have been nothing short of a blessing to us. It’s been an interesting (almost) 3 years as we’ve learned how to navigate the world of business ownership and purchasing a building. Every day we continue to learn and grow as a team. Thank you to all of our friends, family and customers whom have been there to support us. Words cannot express our gratitude.”



The UMD Center for Economic Development works with approximately 800 clients a year throughout Northeast Minnesota at no cost to the entrepreneur. The financial analysis provided to many businesses in the region results in more than $15M of capital infusion each year. CED services also include start up assistance, business plan development, cash flow management, website development guidance, business valuation, succession planning, export assistance and more. CED is helping entrepreneurs and businesses grow and succeed in Northeast Minnesota with office locations in Duluth, Ely, Grand Marais, International Falls, Grand Rapids, and Virginia. Duluth is a strong entrepreneurial community and this is just one success story of many.