With a legacy that dates back to 1961, Brown Bear Corp. has continuously evolved since its founding as Roscoe Brown Sales Company. President Stan Brown currently leads the organization his father began, which is now a privately held manufacturing company that builds products for the environmental, pipeline and utility industries.
Initially sellers of trenching equipment for Speicher Brothers Manufacturing, the company started manufacturing crawler-mounted auger backfiller attachments in 1968 and developed a hydrostatic conversion kit for the Speicher trenchers in the 1970s. In 1976, the company developed the Brown Bear backfiller equipment line and started expanding the product application.
“The primary product line expanded to four sizes of tool carriers with the primary attachment being a continuous auger backfiller for trench filling, mounted perpendicular on the front of the carrier,” Brown says.
The Jimmie Creek run-of-river hydroelectric expansion project is taking place in a remote location about 100 miles north of Vancouver, which presents unique challenges for Alterra Power Corp., the renewable energy company overseeing the work. “It’s a remote project,” says Jay Sutton, vice president of hydropower.
Alterra is accustomed to working in the region, having built plants there in recent years. “This is an expansion of two other plants that we have,” Sutton says. Specifically, the plant will be an expansion of the 234 MW Toba-Montrose facilities that became operational in 2010. “The Jimmie Creek plant will use the Toba-Montrose transmission line to carry its electricity to the grid,” he says.
I-84 is one of the most important highway corridors in the state of Connecticut, and for years the highway has been strained to keep up with the daily demands placed on it by the traffic that streams through it. In order to alleviate the congestion and better prepare the I-84 corridor for the future, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has begun a massive project to widen I-84 through Waterbury, Ct.., and make significant improvements to the connected infrastructure. Lending their expertise to the project is the I-84 Constructors JV, which consists of leading Northeast general contractors Empire Paving Inc. and Yonkers Contracting Co., Inc.
“Currently, the section of I-84 through the project limits experiences heavy traffic congestion due to high traffic volumes, steep topography, lack of roadway capacity and design deficiencies in ramps and weave areas,” CTDOT says. “The implementation of the proposed project will improve traffic flow along I-84 and local nearby streets and reduce current and future traffic congestion along the mainline and the connection streets, ramp weaves, and accident rates. These traffic enhancements will result in improvements to air quality, noise, aesthetics, and the quality of life.”
If there’s a large infrastructure or building project underway in Chicago, there’s a very good chance that Walsh Construction or II In One Contractors Inc. are involved. The two firms individually have worked on projects including underground stormwater tunnels, new and reconstructed bridges and roads, as well as new runways and other improvements at both of the city’s major airports. They are joining forces to replace a nearly 100-year-old public transit station.
A Walsh/II In One joint venture last fall began work on the reconstruction of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)’s Wilson Street Red Line station in the city’s Uptown neighborhood. The $203 million project involves completely rebuilding and modernizing the station, which was built in 1923. The project is one of the largest projects involving a Chicago elevated train – or “L” – station in the transit agency’s history, the CTA says.
Ronald Lane Inc.’s business value system is the same as its family value system. They believe in honesty, respect and doing the job right. RLI began in 1979. Today, President Ronald Lane, manages his pipeline company with the help of more than a dozen family members. This family management team has more than 200 years combined experience in the pipeline industry. They know what is needed to get a job done, and they have the experience to back it up.
Lane thinks maintaining efficiency will keep the business healthy for the next generation of family members. “Efficiency is the key,” he insists. “In 36 years, we’ve learned how we need to approach these jobs. We pick our times to do the worst part of that job and watch weather conditions. There’s a lot of factors in how you go about a job. We see a lot of our competition making what we think are big mistakes.
Peltz Companies performs only a handful of roller compacted concrete (RCC) projects each year, but the size of those jobs keeps the company busy. “We focus on one to three projects a year,” President Terry Peltz says. “Staying small has allowed management to dedicate the time and resources to each project to ensure quality workmanship and profitability. Though opportunities for expansion have presented themselves, staying small has been a key to Peltz Companies’ success.”
“We’re located in western Nebraska, where very few roller compacted concrete projects exist,” says Peltz, who runs the company with his brother, Jim. But location hasn’t gotten in the way of the company’s success. Peltz Companies has constructed significant projects in major metropolitan areas throughout the country since winning its first bid for RCC work 30 years ago. When not busy with RCC projects, Peltz performs as a general construction contractor in western Nebraska.
Construction industry professionals understand that the market carries a diverse set of challenges that frequently are beyond the control of the contractor. For example, changing market conditions in 2007 resulted in a significant number of jobs being eliminated through 2010. As public funding started drying up, capital projects were deferred and market sectors became crowded. It was during this period that contractors such as Pacific Pile & Marine (PPM) had to adjust to an increasingly unpredictable marketplace.
The Seattle-based heavy civil and marine contractor opened in 2008 at a time when the construction market was heading into a state of decline. Despite the economic downturn, PPM continued to expand its portfolio of services and grow its presence in core markets throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska, Montana and Canada.
In the past three years, the municipal drinking water in Bend, Ore., has been recognized as the best tasting in the Pacific Northwest by the American Water Works Association. The water — which is sourced mainly from a surface watershed as well as a deep well facility – has been noted as being clean, crisp and having a nice aftertaste by judges during an annual association contest.
The high quality of Bend’s water supply will soon improve even further. Construction manager Mortenson Construction earlier this year completed placement of a 10-mile, 30-inch pipeline that will carry water from the watershed, known as Bridge Creek, through the Deschutes National Forest and a local neighborhood to a water chlorination facility.