Atlas Industrial Contractors LLC
- Written by: Erica Berry
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
For more than 50 years, Atlas Industrial Contractors LLC (Atlas) has provided turnkey industrial contracting services to clients throughout the country. What once began as a transportation service for heavy equipment has blossomed into a full service contracting company specializing in turnkey machinery installations, maintenance services, heavy rigging, as well as electrical and piping installations.
From the company’s first location in Columbus, Ohio, it quickly earned its reputation as a premier resource for cost-effective, timely and dependable rigging and installation of heavy machinery. As word of the company spread, it began to see an influx of diverse clients throughout the United States, and eventually Mexico, pushing it to hire an experienced team of master millwrights and open several strategically located satellite offices. The company employs an average of 500 workers and generates annual revenue in excess of $100 million.
Entering new markets
“We open new offices when we work on large jobs with clients we are likely to collaborate with again,” explains Tim Seils, CFO of Atlas. The company dove into international waters and opened its offices in Mexico in 2007 as a result of winning work for General Motors (GM). “There’s a lot of automotive industry work going on in Mexico now and expanding those branches are going to be a focal point for us,” Tim adds.
While Mexico offers Atlas a wealth of opportunity for business growth, there are several factors that make international contracting inherently difficult, including languages barriers, labor laws and payroll and tax regulations.
“Conducting business in Mexico has been a learning experience,” says Tim. “In the states we manage our own teams, but because the laws and regulations are different in Mexico, we have connected with an American expatriate who has 20 years’ experience working in the country. He has connected us with trustworthy contractors and labor brokers and is now the general manager on our worksites there. It took us a few years before our work in Mexico became a profitable venture, but now that we are established, things are looking up.”
In addition to its success south of the border, the last few years have been profitable for the company’s domestic market share, as well. Atlas has completed several major jobs, including a $36 million project at a cement production facility, which at the time of construction was the largest in the world, and has additionally completed a number of large tooling installations at various automotive facilities throughout the United States.
“We’ve done a lot of work with GM in the past,” explains Tim. “These projects are going to be very successful as we have great rapport with the company and know what they expect.”
With roots in the automotive industry, opening an office in Detroit has proven to be a very positive, strategic move for the company. “Opening this Detroit office has been challenging in various respects but, since entering the Detroit market, we have been able to expand our commercial relationship with various OEM’s and tier 1 suppliers,” details Tim. “Getting in with big name automotive outfits is all about relationships and we are dedicated to fostering those relationships by always providing quality work at a competitive price.”
Finding the right fit
In the contracting industry, building a trusted network of suppliers and subcontractors is essential to success, which is why Atlas is a member of the Central Ohio Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) – a group that connects associated businesses with quality workers throughout the United States.
“As a union contractor, the biggest benefit we receive from NECA is being connected with local and qualified trade workers, regardless of jobsite location,” explains Tim. “We have clients all over the country, but because we don’t have an established presence in every city we work in, it would be difficult to find the right people without the broad network NECA provides.”
When it comes to measuring success, Atlas focuses on its budget and financial performance, but also takes its employees happiness into consideration. “We always strive to provide a comfortable, fun and safe workplace,” explains Tim. “If our employees aren’t happy, our quality of work would suffer. We have a set of core values that we like to keep consistent regardless of location. It helps us to hire ethical people who share the same ideals and allows us to uphold a high level of integrity.”
In the upcoming years, Atlas will continue to complete work in the automotive sector – where it built its roots – and also plans to expand into the power, petroleum and steel markets. With major opportunity arising in Mexico, Atlas anticipates significant expansions in the south, as well.
“We’re always growing and exploring new markets,” explains Tim. “I foresee us opening additional offices in the next five to 10 years. While it would be entirely possible for us to gain more territory, we want to stay nimble enough as to where we can control our own workload. ”
Since 1955, Atlas Industrial Contractors LLC has been building a trusted name as one of the United States’ go-to industrial contractors, with no intentions of letting its good name falter.
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