The Power of Relationship-Building

Industrial Constructors / Managers

Long-time, Pueblo, Colorado, general contractor Industrial Constructors/Managers, Inc. (ICM) stands by its motto: ‘We Love a Challenge.’ Throughout thirty five successful years in the heavy industrial arena, ICM has delivered projects on time and within budget, while maintaining safe work practices on all projects, from design-build services to machinery installation, structural concrete, and pre-engineered metal buildings.
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This American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) certified structural steel fabricator and erector regularly takes on projects from $500,000 to $25 million with professionalism, while fostering genuine relationships based on mutual trust and respect.

“In construction, one of the most important things is the personal relationship between contractor and customer companies,” says ICM’s President Ed Myers. “We have found that the best way for us to have repeat business – and it’s been a recipe that has worked for us forever, since the inception – is to form that relationship and continue to cultivate and garden it, if you will, and protect it.”

Getting to know the names, faces, and company backgrounds of clients produces positive results for ICM and its customers as it works on large-scale projects from steel mills to cement plants, food processing facilities, pharmaceutical, and warehousing.

“It’s about building the trust and making the customer confident that when he calls his contact at ICM, he’s going to have his back.”

As a Class “A” general contractor and signatory to six unions, Industrial Constructors/Managers, Inc. targets heavy industrial clients and is always ready when needed. “If you call me in the middle of the night, you are going to get an answer,” states Myers. “We’re basically on duty all the time.”

Myers has been with the company for twenty-one years since obtaining a degree in civil engineering from the University of Southern Colorado (now Colorado State University-Pueblo). He started as an intern, moved on to work as a field engineer, then in the fabrication shop, in a project manager position, and as operations manager before becoming president. He says ICM is more like a home than a job.

ICM treats every client with respect especially when the need is urgent. Recently, the company received a call from one of its mining clients that its filter presses literally “tore themselves up,” including ripping anchor bolts out of concrete and that it needed ICM’s services as soon as possible.

“That’s the kind of relationship-building we do,” says Myers. “They know when they call us, we are going to put other things down and send guys to help them with their emergency. It’s that personal relationship that builds customers and repeat customers. That is how we do business.”

Since last year, Industrial Constructors/Managers increased the dollar range of its projects from $20 million to approximately $25 million, with a bonding capacity of the same amount. Part of the reason for the increase comes from ICM’s mutually beneficial acquisition of Brighton, Colorado-based Precision Industrial Contractors, Inc.

The acquisition of Precision Industrial complements ICM’s existing services – as Precision is involved in plant shutdowns and relocations, equipment installations, steel erection, concrete, fabrication, and other areas. It also made smart business sense for all involved.

Executives of the two companies had become close friends over the years, sitting on many of the same boards, including those of the millwrights and ironworkers. The head of Precision did not have a succession plan in place, so it made sense to transition the company he built to someone he knew, respected, and trusted. Like ICM, Precision was signatory to six trades, but only used ironworkers and millwrights, which limited the company to outage and maintenance-type work.

ICM retained about eighty percent of Precision’s staff, so the March 1, 2018 acquisition saw the company grow from about 100 to 140 employees. The move also opened northern parts of Colorado and Wyoming to ICM, as it gave the company a second office, fabrication space, tooling warehousing, and extra tooling and equipment.

“It was a very good deal. I was nervous at first, but I’m so glad we did it. It added a lot more depth,” says Myers. The company holds weekly transition meetings to ensure everything is in place and kept the former Precision owner on board for a year to help answer any questions. Precision officially become part of ICM as of January 1, 2019. The transition is going very well, and the company is hiring additional staff including project managers and estimators.

Industrial Constructors/Managers can handle larger works with restructuring and additional employees but will perform day-long jobs for as little as $1,500 to ensure that long-time clients are happy and their needs are being met. It is, states Myers, about building and maintaining relationships. “If we are there for that $1,500 job, we will also be there for the bigger projects.”

In the heavy industrial sectors, ICM is seeing some contraction, while others are growing. With more and more coal-fired power plants going offline, the company is experiencing an increase in work on gas turbines and renewable energy sources and is currently negotiating a 1 megawatt (MW) solar array with half a MW of battery storage. ICM is also pursuing battery storage projects along the front range of Colorado in an effort to shave peak demand energy spikes for customers. It definitely is a great move toward the future of smart energy.

Other growing areas for the company include food and beverage projects and pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. As more of us live longer, the need for maintenance drugs increases, and the pharmaceutical arena is booming. This sector has also grown owing to ICM’s acquisition of Precision Industrial Contractors, which was already active in the pharmaceutical arena.

As breweries and microbreweries spring up across Colorado, ICM is working on more hops and barley processing plants, including one recently which handles specialty hops for microbreweries.

“That’s an area that is really blossoming and opening up,” says Myers, adding that the Precision acquisition has also resulted in increased oil and gas work for clients such as Suncor and Sinclair.

Industrial Constructors/Managers works for industry giants like MillerCoors, UTC Aerospace Systems, Trane, Evraz Steel Mills (North America) and many others, receiving many accolades from clients. It performs a good amount of work for general contractor Mortensen, including its heavy rigging and moving.

Among the company’s recent projects is for the Rawhide Energy Station for Platte River Power Authority, just north of Fort Collins. ICM is serving as the general contractor for the Rawhide reclaim tanks, a project that started in March 2018 and will wrap up about March of 2019. The company is performing the civil, electrical, structural steel, and mechanical work, but its biggest contribution is about 3,650 cubic yards of structural concrete for the project which is budgeted at approximately $8 million.

President Myers is optimistic about the future and says there is a succession plan in place with Executive Vice President Jaime Hodges and Vice President of Operations Dustin Mincic poised to take over. “I am trying to build a structure that will succeed me for growth into the future,” Myers.

ICM also actively hires young workers and interns from Colorado universities to ensure young people are coming in the door. “The youth is the future,” he states. “Unfortunately, we all can’t live forever, so we are trying to build the construction industry future managers. As much as people complain about the millennials, whether you like it or not, they are the future, and you have to build and make them feel like they can contribute and move into the future.”

The company’s commitment to safety is not taken lightly. From a monthly safety scoreboard, the company carefully measures the total case incident rate (TCIR) and experience modification rate (EMR), which is used by insurance companies to determine risk. ICM receives a new EMR rating every September 1 from its insurance company. Last year, the company’s already low EMR rating – combined with Precision’s solid rating – went down from .81 to .74. ICM became self-insured for general liability, automobile, and worker’s compensation in 2015 through a captive insurance plan with 132 other general contractors.

A captive insurer is a particular type of insurance company that is created to underwrite the risks of a specific group and does not sell insurance outside of that group.

“Our safety record was so good in 2015 that we were able to get into a captive insurance group,” states Myers. “This has saved us a ton of money, but it is also very rigorous. The whole group of 132 contractors really monitors each other on safety performance, and they have safety professionals to do audits and support groups if numbers rise.”

Along with undergoing a yearly audit from their insurance company, ICM is setting goals, meeting goals annually, setting new goals, and then meeting those goals. “It’s a concentrated, continual improvement.”

Addressing the Ongoing Labour Shortage

For years, the construction industry across North America has seen fewer skilled tradespeople enter the workforce, creating challenges in getting projects completed on time and within budget. While the labour shortage is not new, it is reaching a breaking point.

March 24, 2019, 12:15 PM EDT