A Culture of Excellence and Safety
J & M Steel Solutions
J & M Steel Solutions is regarded as a high-performance steel erector that is equipped with the resources, expertise, and a culture of continuous improvement to support project execution. As the erector of choice in the Western United States, J & M Steel’s unwavering commitment to safety and quality is reflected in its safety record and .64 EMR score, as well as its reputation industry-wide.
Located in Lehi, Utah, J & M Steel has completed well over 500 pre-engineered metal buildings and structural steel projects since its inception in April, 2004. Through consistent project delivery, J & M Steel Solutions has grown over the years by strategically building upon its reputation, its leadership, and its team of highly qualified experts in the field.
Founded by Craig Madsen and Scott Jeppson, J & M Steel was their opportunity to capitalize on an opening in the market. The company served as a vehicle through which Madsen and Jeppson’s values and business philosophy could be represented. Those values included bringing a higher degree of service, quality, and safety to the industry as a whole.
A business of people
J & M Steel’s corporate culture is built upon sound leadership, open communication, safety, integrity, and accountability. Relationships at J & M Steel Solutions are rooted in a mutual respect for people and performance. “Our culture has been that we don’t want to be the steel erector that’s the bully on-site. That seems to be the norm across our industry – nobody wants to be around the steel erector because they’re tough to work with,” explained Madsen.
“We told all of our foremen, our field project managers, and all of our managers that we don’t want to be that,” he added. Instead, J & M Steel works hard to be a team player on-site.
Madsen acknowledges that the employees at J & M Steel bring with them unmatched industry expertise. Training further enhances these skills and capacities, enabling the team to execute on diverse projects in the gas and energy, mining, industrial, federal, aviation and commercial/retail sectors.
Key to execution across these diverse industry sectors are J & M Steel’s people. As Madsen said, “When we find good people, we hire them – that’s been our philosophy.” He shared an example of this philosophy in action from J & M Steel’s early years.
“We hired our first field project manager after we had been in business just over a year, so we were a little bit small to have his position needed, but he wound up coming to us as he would be leaving where he had been working,” he recalled. “We knew what he was capable of, we had worked with him before, and we thought we’d better pick him up right now because we knew what he would add to the company.”
Hiring employees like the one mentioned above allow J & M to better address the needs of each project and each client; the team works together to ensure the expectations of all parties on a given project are met. The company also benefits from its relationships with multiple building manufacturers and suppliers, allowing the team to offer competitive pricing.
Safety is paramount
Madsen acknowledges that sometimes the team must be strict while iron is being hung, as safety is the utmost priority. Employees are even incentivized with a safety bonus, and receive on the job training in the company’s safety philosophy and practices in accordance with the J & M Safety Manual. The expectation is that every employee will be well aware of, and will execute on, J & M Steel’s safety standards.
“Our industry is dangerous at the get-go, but we’ve spent a lot of time and money on training, providing the tools and the equipment, making sure our workers are tied off and safe. That’s something that is important to the General Contractors right now too. If there are accidents on the job it reflects on them and their log and potential OSHA implications,” said Madsen.
Much effort is dedicated to continuous improvement at J & M Steel. Recently, the company held a full-day training event, put on by the Arbinger Institute, that was attended by 38 people to work on leadership skills and the capacity to think outside the box. This year alone in fact, J & M Steel has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to train its employees to be the best in the industry. This has contributed greatly to the business’ culture of continuous improvement, safety, and quality.
Madsen is of the belief that safety and quality can be achieved through the empowerment of employees. “We empower our foremen to take charge of their job. They’re our safety director on-site. They are responsible for safety; they are responsible for building the project.”
Madsen also credited his partner Scott for his role in guaranteeing safety on the operations side of the business. “He has empowered each of our foremen and each of our field project managers to help oversee some of our projects with the ability and range to be able to make decisions on a job, to a certain point,” adding, “We want to have all of our guys safe and home every night.”
J & M Steel’s commitment to safety has been recognized by the industry multiple times. The firm is the recipient of the State of Utah Labor Commission Associated Builders and Contractors Safety Award, and has received Platinum Level recognition with the Associated Builders and Contractors’ STEP award. J & M Steel Solutions is also BROWZ certified.
For Madsen, safety and quality go hand in hand, and quality execution is exemplified in a number of J & M Steel’s projects. The Hycroft Mine Truck Shop Facility, for example, had an aggressive schedule and required the erection of a building reaching 66 feet in height and covering 32,500 square feet.
On this project, J & M Steel received the Safety Subcontractor award for two of the seven months it was on-site. “To me, on a mine site, that’s a big deal,” noted Madsen. “That’s one of those high-profile projects. They were dangerous, the MSHA was very strict, and for us to be selected two different times while we were on-site, I thought was great kudos to our field guys. If your reputation is good, then it makes getting the next job easier. They know what to expect. They know what they are going to get. We’re not the cheapest erector out there and we don’t want to be, but we feel that there are some other things that add value when we’re on the job site, whether its safety, or schedule, or just the professionalism of the guys on-site and in our office.”
J & M Steel is looking forward to another big project, a 936 000 square foot big box warehouse. As Madsen identified, “They came to us because of our capabilities and the schedule that we could provide for them.”
It is important that both structurally and aesthetically, J & M Steel produces results that achieve customer satisfaction. Quality and safety are never compromised for schedule, though J & M Steel has never missed a deadline, often beating established timelines. “We do pre-engineered buildings and we do conventional and structural steel buildings and so on the pre-engineered side, the quality – where we do the metal wall panels and the metal roof panels – that’s what people see on the outside and the insulation on the inside,” described Madsen.
“We’ve had multiple customers and clients say, ‘We like the way this building looks,’ and to me, that’s telling us that we’ve done our job. If everything passes the inspections and everything is structurally sound, then it’s what it looks like and that’s what our customers or clients are going to be walking by every single day,” he continued.
Whether the project entails J & M Steel Solutions’ design-build capabilities, the erection of structural steel, pre-engineered buildings, or joist and deck, customers are guaranteed industry-leading experts equipped with the tools and resources necessary to get the job done, backed by a reputation for industry-leading quality and safety. This reputation has sustained the company even in down markets, just as it did during the economic downturn that began in 2008. The resilience shown by J & M Steel is a testament to its capacity and ability to execute projects on time, on budget, and to specification.
“We have clients that took us to different places around the country with them in different states, and having such a diverse ability and capability with our field guys made it easier on us to be able to try to find projects that we could still be qualified and capable of building, even when the economy was low,” explained Madsen. J & M Steel Solutions has significant bonding capacity and is licensed in many states including: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Industry success has also given the company the opportunity to have a positive impact on the local community through monetary and in-kind support for local schools, sports teams, Rotary Club, and various youth and church groups. “I love being in a position to help and certainly, we’ve been blessed as a company where we can reach out and give back and we love doing that,” said Madsen.
The goal is to never remain static, always improving to be able to capitalize on market opportunities when they present themselves. With an emphasis on customer service, on quality, and on safe project execution, J & M Steel Solutions intends on fortifying its position atop the industry and in the broader community, building its reputation to be as steadfast as the buildings it erects.