Since its founding in 1960, Atlantic-Meeco (AM) has become a leading national supplier and contractor for floating dock systems. “The company has gone through several changes with buying and selling as a result of mergers and acquisitions,” says Jerry Duncan, vice president of AM, who leads the company’s western office in McAlester, Okla. “The latest of which, a new company formed and bought it out in February 2013. Our sister company, Sullivan Flotation Systems, based in Warwick, N.Y., has a separate office and manufacturing facility.”
Duncan goes on to note that the team of 55 tackles marinas of all sizes, shapes and forms. “We build marinas for inland waterways, rivers and coastal environments,” he elaborates. “Anywhere water and land come together, we have a lot of products for it. We have product lines our competition doesn’t, such as roofing materials.”
Above all else, Duncan and the AM team maintain high standards. “We believe we have highest quality product and best customer service out there,” he continues. “We do business all over the lower 48 states with the exception of the New England area. Our sister company takes care of that region, as well as much of the East Coast. We work coast to coast, and we have gone international in the past. We are not doing much outside the country now, but it’s something we will return to in probably two to three years.”
Innovative Floats for Changing Waterways
Despite changes in the economy, AM has held onto a large portion of the private sector, as well as some government contracts. “Right now we have a project with the Coast Guard,” Duncan elaborates. “We also work with the Army Corps of Engineers from time to time and several other associations, as well as large and small private owners. We perform projects large and small, from huge developers down to the guy who wants a small dock for the lake in his backyard.”
Since Duncan began working with the business in November, the team has been involved in a number of unique projects of varying sizes. “We supplied some wave attenuators recently in Lucerne, Utah,” he says. “This is newly developed technology, but it has worked extremely well. You put it outside the marina where there are wind and wave issues or heavy wind coming from a certain direction. The attenuator breaks the waves, making the marina calmer so boats and docks are not damaged. Basically, it’s a barricade to calm the water. It is a floating dock that, like the one in Lucerne, has steel plate along one side that hangs down to the water level. We hang concrete slabs down into the water to reduce wave energy.”
Unique Design and Construction
AM performs design and assembly in-house at the company’s McAlester facility. AM’s in-house installers receive materials in the field and work with a number of qualified contractors who perform concrete and structural support. The company’s relationships with strategic partners are important and include a number of major suppliers. “A lot of the time we will sell to general contractors or the owner and they will install it,” Duncan notes. “Our products are not particularly difficult to put together.”
According to Duncan, the hardest part is anchoring and installing the roofing, which presents its own challenges. “These are floating docks, so they have to move in and out, as well as up and down, depending on the water level. Each dock has a winch system and cables to crank and move, and then we build the gangways to slide or roll in and out.”
Nonetheless, the AM team is ready and able tackle any challenging project. “There are a lot of different versions,” he continues. “The unique thing about the floating dock industry is that the final products don’t have a fixed place. There are lakes in California 90 feet below normal water level, for example. You have a major vertical and horizontal difference. We had one client who had to move the dock about a mile within the last few years.”
Duncan notes that over the last four or five years, drought in the western United States has had huge impact on AM. “There has also been a lot of storm damage, so we have some interesting projects going on with that,” he details. “The most challenging one we have is in development down near Austin, Texas, on Lake Travis. It’s a switchback access ramp that will fold like an accordion as the lake rises and falls.”
By supporting a solid project with innovation, AM continues to build onto its market, supplying unique dock systems to customers across the country. With the recent recession, the team was forced to make changes to improve efficiency and quality a process that has offered tremendous potential for success. Above all else, as the country cycles through the recovery, Duncan is confident in his team. Atlantic-Meeco will continue to build upon innovative, floating dock technology well into the future.
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