Loyd Barney saw the inside of President Bush's shower for Air Force One long before the chief executive ever did.
And Barney, president of Intermountain Design Inc., was perhaps the first to climb aboard the monorail cars that have carried thousands of visitors to New York's Bronx Zoo and the World Expo in New Orleans, La.Ownership has its privileges.
Since 1972, Intermountain Design Inc. of Salt Lake City has quietly produced monorail vehicles, lavatories for conventional rail cars and aircraft and has even delved into work for the military by producing domes for Evans and Sutherland's flight simulator.
All of this in Salt Lake City, you say?
Indeed, says vice president Lovell Gunnerson. "The plastics industry got a pretty early start here in Utah," Gunnerson said. "Look at the fiberglass boats. Some of the first ones that got into that are right here."
Said Barney: "It just sort of cobwebbed out from there. There's been a lot more done here than people realize."
In addition to being business partners, Barney and Gunnerson have been close friends for about 25 years. Both come from plastics manufacturing backgrounds and decided to go into business together "when we decided we had worked ourselves out of a job. We decided let's make something on our own."
The two men and about five employees opened shop in a small building on 500 South. They soon outgrew the facility and moved to their existing 30,000-square-foot location at about 2190 S. 3270 West where they have worked for the past 17 years.
There the company has built cars for "elevated guideway systems" or monorail cars for 15 different projects, among them zoos, amusement parks and airports.
Intermountain Design also designs and builds lavatories. The company recently designed, engineered and built the lavatories and presidential shower for Air Force One and Two, the airplanes reserved for President Bush and vice president Dan Quayle.
So what does the president's private bath look like? "They were not overdone by any means," Barney said. The shower was not much larger than a stall in a recreation vehicle, he said. He confided, however, that Air Force One has four bathrooms, one of which is handicapped accessible.
By comparison, the executive lavatories aboard Saudi Arabian aircraft sport solid gold fixtures, elephant hide upholstery and silk textiles. "We even built a bidet for that one, didn't we?" said controller Joseph Parkinson.
Recently, Intermountain Design's efforts have been less extravagant. The company is seeking a contract to build the lavatory components for a national fast food chain.
Its lavatories are already aboard Pullman Standard cars and it has produced for Amtrak modular sleeping cars and the interior of the line's diner cars.
The company also has produced 21-, 24- and 30-foot diameter domes for Evans and Sutherland's flight simulators for military aircraft and helicopters.
Of all of its projects, the domes have required the most exacting work because the simulators were built for the military. The panels of the domes must line up precisely so that the images projected on the dome surfaces are not distorted in any way.
The specification for the job required that the panels be off no more than 1/3000th of an inch. "They had to line up perfectly," said Parkinson.
But the monorail cars are the company's bread and butter. Barney says he expects the business to grow, particularly at universities and airports where there is a need to move a lot of people quickly and space for new roads and parking facilities is scarce.
For example, the San Diego airport is considering such a system and the Honolulu airport is accepting bids for such a system. "It would be nice to talk Salt Lake into it," said program manager Harvey Nelson.
Most of Intermountain Design's employees have worked for the firm for at least 10 years. "We're pretty close to our people here. Some of these guys out there in the shop were very young when they started here," Barney said.
Nelson has worked for the company 17 years. He said the closeness of the employees is most evident upon the completion of a long-term project.
For instance, when employees completed an engineering development model for a magnetic levitation system for AEG Westinghouse Transportation Systems Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pa., about three weeks ago, Intermountain employees, their wives, girlfriends and family members gathered round to bid farewell to the ultra-light, ultra-modern car that can move as many as 90 people.
"People were waving goodbye to it as it went out the door," said Nelson.
Barney said he considers the proj-ect one of company's greatest accomplishments. It is the the only vehicle of its kind with doors that close flush to the vehicle body.
From design to completed product, the project took three years to complete. When it was removed from the shop, it left a noticeable void, Barney said.
The employees' pride in their work is demonstrated in other ways, Nelson said. He said some employees have vacationed in cities where Intermountain Design's monorail car bodies are used, which include faraway spots as the Bronx Zoo in New York and Sun City in South Africa.
The company also has built vehicle bodies for rubber-tire tram trains, including Dinosaur National Monument's tram to its quarry.
Barney said he also derives a lot of satisfaction from seeing his products in use. He recently visited the Her-shey (Pa.) Chocolate Factory, which has used the same train bodies for more than 20 years. Although the bodies predate Intermountain Design and were built by a company for which Barney worked previously, he said he was delighted the product had withstood the test of time.
"It was amazing to me to go back 20 years and see the same train still there still working and the park's still happy with it. It is really amazing."