Reliable Contracting Co. Inc.

When success is achieved, some firms make mistakes as they try to grow their operations too quickly. But, for nearly 85 years, Reliable Contracting Co. Inc. has stayed successful by growing at a careful and deliberate pace, President Jay Baldwin says.

With the firm’s family ownership, “We are a conservative company,” Baldwin continues, explaining that Reliable Contracting does not actually grow any faster than it needs to. “We’re able to grow very safely, which is why we’re still in business.”

Based in Millersville, Md., Reliable Contracting provides paving, utility and earthmoving services, as well as aggregate and asphalt products. Baldwin’s grandfather and great-uncle, Frank and Bill Baldwin, started the company in 1928 with a single dump truck and a loader.

“It was basically a hauling company,” the younger Baldwin says, noting that his elders gradually grew the business and took on other work. For instance, in 1938, Reliable Contracting won its first state contract for backfilling bulkheads at St. George Island.

As the company purchased more vehicles, it grew to take on military projects, such as work at Fort George G. Meade, Md. Today, Reliable Contracting is the largest site-work contractor in Anne Arundel County, Md., with a staff of more than 400 and a fleet of 100 trucks and 250 pieces of earthmoving equipment.

Additionally, Reliable Contracting’s project portfolio includes roads, highways, airports, office parks, shopping centers, hospitals and churches. “We are very diverse,” Baldwin says.

“We do quite a bit for the state of Maryland and for Fort Meade,” he says. “Because of [our versatility], we’re able to spread ourselves throughout the construction industry.”

Working for the Family

Baldwin has worked for his family’s company since the age of 16, but he did not become a full-time employee until he graduated college in 1986. “I enjoy working for the family,” he says.

He asserts that Reliable Contracting is more than just a construction firm. “We have a number of development projects we’ve done over the years as well,” he says. “I enjoy being in all parts of the process, from the preliminary design to building the project out.”

Creating a Community

A current project that brings Baldwin pride is the Waugh Chapel Towne Centre in Gambrills, Md., a $500 million mixed-use retail center. When  finished, the property will feature a Wegmans, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods, as well as a Regal Cinemas theater, many restaurants and upscale shopping, as well as a 300-unit apartment building and 100,000 square feet of class A office.

Reliable Contracting’s partner on this project is the Maryland-based Greenberg Gibbons Commercial, which says that the project will help meet local growth. According to the company, 17,900 personnel and professionals will be added to Fort Meade because of the BRAC realignment.

Nearing completion, the project will feature approximately 500,000 square feet of retail, residential and office product. “Our part of it was the infrastructure improvements which included on site grading, utility and paving as well as off-site state highway improvements,” Baldwin says, adding that Reliable Contracting was grateful to have the project when the economy was at such a low point.

Additionally, Baldwin says that he is extremely proud of how the Towne Center has emerged to become a uniting point for various communities. “People are able to live here, work here and play here,” Baldwin explains. “It brings together a number of communities.”

Keeping Busy

Baldwin sees a strong future for Reliable Contracting, with a broad range of work ahead. With the economy improving, he says, the company is starting to see an increase in the number of residential projects that are moving forward.

Also, with the amount of work being done at Fort Meade, the road infrastructure supporting the base will need many improvements and upgrades as well, which is something the company looks forward to being a part of.

 He also expects the company to take on more work at Fort Meade. “We’re doing a little bit on the base now and bidding on new projects all the time,” he says. Currently, Reliable is working on the infrastructure improvements for what is going to be the new cyber security command center.

Paving New Ground

One area where Reliable Contracting excels is its asphalt and aggregate services. According to the company, it can produce high-performance asphalt paving products or custom mixes to meet its clients’ needs.

“Our accredited, quality control lab and certified technicians ensure consistency while our experienced plant and field crews deliver a final product of which [we and our clients] can be proud,” the company says, noting that it also offers parking lot striping, signage, parking bumpers and speed bumps.

Reliable Contracting also practices green methods, including burning recycled oil for fuel, producing glassphalt-paving mixes, and recycling asphalt and concrete for base materials. “In addition, we are now expanding our capabilities to include the production and installation of warm-mix asphalt, a product that will reduce our energy usage and increase the workability of the mix while still meeting rigorous industry criteria for installation and durability,” it says.

At a High Level

Another area of excellence for Reliable Contracting is earthmoving services. With its state-of-the-art equipment and experienced associates, the firm prepares commercial and residential development sites in Maryland. The company’s services include clearing trees and brush; mass grading; creating storm water management facilities, regenerative stormwater conveyance systems and coastal plain outfalls; and fine grading for buildings, roads and other applications.

Technology also can be applied to this field. “Reliable has been an innovator in the use of laser-guided leveling and is also experienced in the use of the latest satellite-based total site management systems,” the company says.

“Our in-house survey crews ensure that [our clients’] site plans are brought to reality with total accuracy, while our team of experienced estimators, project managers and field personnel evaluate and manage every phase of [the customer’s] project by identifying missing components of [their] plan, noting places where [they] can better leverage materials or technologies and finding ways to increase overall efficiency,” the company says.

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