Hurricane & Poway Fence Co. Inc.


Ramona, CA 92065


Company Info

  • Est. 1984
  • Annual Vol Undisclosed

The Unsinkable Laurann Volk

September 2018


74-year-old owner of Hurricane and Poway Fence Co. Inc.?has heard and seen everything

Allyson Markey


Hurricane and Poway Fence Co. Inc. keeps its yard stocked with field fence so the company can respond to any client need.


Laurann Volk, the “Unsinkable” owner of Hurricane and Poway Fence Co. Inc.

Laurann Volk has seen everything and heard everything in her nearly 50 years working in the fencing industry, and she is not afraid to call you on it.

“I guess after this long, you just know when people are trying to play fast and loose,” says 74-year-old Laurann. “But you also learn how to deal with it.”

Laurann, a mother, grandmother and breast cancer survivor, has built a veritable fencing empire in San Diego, California. She currently owns two businesses—Hurricane and Poway Fence Co. Inc. and Economizers Purchasing Service—and serves as CEO for Ramona Fence Inc.

Hurricane and Poway Fence Co. Inc. has been selling and installing permanent and rental fences since 1984. The company, a licensed contractor and member of the American Fence Association, offers handrails, guardrails, cable rails, ornamental iron, electric gates, chain link (galvanized and vinyl coated) and all styles of wood fencing, as well as indoor and outdoor security cages, throughout San Diego and Imperial counties.

Economizers Purchasing Service, a little hardware store next to Hurricane and Poway Fence Co. Inc., has been going strong for 40 years. Her third business, Ramona Fence Inc., was set up for her sons if she passed away. It specializes in residential work.

Midwestern Roots

Laurann hasn’t always lived in Southern California. She grew up in a large family in Brookfield, Indiana. “I never realized how poor we were until I went back to visit one year,” she recalls. “It was a hard childhood.”

Her parents scrimped and saved to send her to Immaculate Conception Academy, and she was expected to attend college immediately after graduating. But her undiagnosed dyslexia caused her to stumble. “I was not a good student. I couldn’t read when I graduated,” she adds. “I remember leaving and thinking, ‘I will never sit in a desk again.’ ”

She moved to Arizona and eventually landed in San Diego.

Falling Fences

A gust of wind changed Laurann’s life. In the early 1970s, a strong wind flattened a fence around her horse’s paddock. She happened to live next to the owner of a company called Hurricane Fence.

“So, I start putting my fence back together. You know, lifting the panels and doing the work,” recalls Laurann. “And my neighbor notices that I’m pretty good at putting this fence back together. After watching me for a couple of days, he offered me a job.”

She was immediately sent into the field, at a time when a woman working in construction was rare. “You should have heard the guys back then. Someone—a client—told me that I would be better off being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen,” she says. “But it was the times. I just had to work harder than the guys. I developed a thick skin and a bit of a mouth. But you know what, I never let it get to me. I was good at my job.”

She was good at installing fences, but she was even better at building relationships. “The previous owner wasn’t what you called a people person. When a client was a problem, he would hang up on them. But I was good with the clients, even if they were trying to get one over on me.”

She recounts multiple instances when a union boss or client would try to outmaneuver her. “My personal favorite was a guy who asked for an estimate for one length of fence. I gave it to him, and the one length had magically become 12 lengths. But I was polite and firm, and they paid the full price in the end.”

Because of her ability to work with clients, she was moved into the office, and by the late 1970s, she was a key player in the business. “One day I come to work, and the owner of Hurricane Fence tells me that he could run the Hurricane Fence Co. in his sleep,” Laurann says. “But after, he called me back and said he wanted to sell.” Not long after, she bought Poway Fence and combined the two. All was going well until the early 1980s, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “It knocked me on my knees,” she says.

Things got worse in 1983, when she lost her short-term memory, a side effect of cancer medication. “I had to relearn everything, which was a blessing in disguise,” she says.

Her doctor mentioned that during this time her mind would be more pliable and asked if there was anything that she would like to learn. Her reply: “I want to learn how to read.”

Moving Forward

After teaching herself to read and regaining her health, she got back to work.

“The fencing business doesn’t stop when you do,” Laurann says. Her businesses have survived personal and industry crises and have responded to industry changes—while she has continued to speak out against the status quo.

Her companies have also taken on some of the largest projects in San Diego history. In 1988, Hurricane Fence landed its first big job installing chain link and guardrail fencing for the California Department of Transportation on State Route 125. From there, the company grew to work on other notable projects, including the installation of temporary fencing and guardrails for the San Vicente Dam (the world’s largest roller-impacted concrete dam raise in history) and the expansion of Concourse 2 at San Diego International Airport.

What’s in Laurann’s future? She doesn’t seem to be slowing down. “I’m going to work until I can’t work anymore,” she says. “Plus, what else would I be doing?”

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