Our Story

Skedco is a family-owned and operated rescue equipment business based in Tualatin, Oregon, just south of Portland.

Bud Calkin in the Army — 1959

Bud Calkin in the Army — 1959

Bud Calkin, Vice President and Founder of Skedco, is a veteran of the U.S. National Guard and U.S. Army. While enlisted, he was stationed in Fort Sam Houston in Texas, Fort Ord in California, and at bases in West Germany. Bud trained as a combat medic and later, a dental technician, fabricating bridges, crowns and dentures. He also served as an instructor at the Dental Technology School.

In 1980, when Bud’s sister stalled on a design for a game carrier she was working on, he suggested she transform it into a rescue stretcher for injured people. When she didn’t develop that idea, Bud took on the project himself. He re-designed it to be essentially the Sked as it is today.

Skedco was incorporated in 1981. Bud bought his sister’s patent after Desert Storm in 1991. During those 10 years, Bud and his wife, Catherine, each worked two jobs to build the business.

The Sked in 1983.

The Sked in 1983.

The original, and still the best, rescue stretcher, the Sked is made from a proprietary formula of E-Z glide polyethylene plastic. In trials, it has proven to be tough enough to withstand being run over by a 56-ton tank, and then used afterward to drag a soldier around a military base for 10 miles over extremely rough terrain.

Bud has since designed numerous other products to make Skedco into an industry leader in patient immobilization, management and extrication. He invented the Oregon Spine Splint to immobilize patients with spinal injuries to prepare them for transport. He added the flotation system to self-right the Sked into an almost upright position during capsizing in water. He has worked with the Army to develop many new products—including a line of military-specific Skeds—designed and built to the colors and specifications needed to save the injured on the battlefield. Bud currently has 9 patents granted to him, with another 6 applications pending.

Today, Skedco has hundreds of products, all manufactured or assembled in Tualatin, Oregon at its administrative, warehouse, and production center. The Skedco production center’s fabricators work with many different textiles and hardware components and produce tens of thousands of Skedco products each year. The center showcases the finest equipment for efficiently constructing, branding, and packaging hundreds of items. “When you’re in this business,” says Skedco President Catherine Calkin, “you have to be able to deliver quickly.” That’s why we keep thousand of products on our shelves, and a massive inventory of raw materials.

In addition to making our own items, we are asked from time to time to research, develop and build products for other individuals, companies and agencies.  Our team has a vast amount of experience in working with various textiles and hardware components. Whether you are a soldier in the field, an emergency responder, a start up company or an established manufacturer looking for increased production capacity, Skedco can provide quality workmanship at affordable prices.  Our team is meticulous and can build products to your specifications.  To find out more about how Skedco Manufacturing can help please reach out to us at [email protected].


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