Case Studies

Atwood Fence Company: Strengthening a Nation’s Infrastructure

  • Written by: Atwood Fence Company: Strengthening a Nation's Infrastructure
  • Produced by: Atwood Fence Company: Strengthening a Nation's Infrastructure
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Atwood Fence Company (AFC) takes pride in keeping things simple. This is not to say the company doesn’t delight in tackling complex projects requiring a hefty amount of logistical coordination; rather, AFC reinforces its reputation as one of the largest and most experienced contractors specializing in guardrail and signage construction with a simple directive: Deliver what was promised. AFC’s philosophy has always been to simply do what is necessary to deliver the project, and it’s this level of dedication that fuels the company’s growth across Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

“It’s really just about fulfilling the promises we make,” asserts Kay Atwood-Van Skiver, founder and president of AFC. “That may sound like what any customer would expect of a contractor, but not all companies deliver on those promises and we take pride in upholding our reputation for providing accurate quotes and completing projects on time and on budget.” AFC’s presence across sectors has been strengthened continually by strategic moves and continuing education since the company was founded in 1971.

True, AFC’s early days involved just one employee and one pickup truck installing residential fences, but the company inched its way into the transportation industry and hit the ground running within a few years. AFC secured its first contract with the federal government in 1975 installing fencing along Interstate 55 in Mississippi, which subsequently led to a host of other projects in the transportation industry.

The Dependable Choice

AFC’s growth was aided in particular by the publishing of the 1978 edition of the Federal Highway Authority’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. This edition established design standards for just about every commonly recognized highway sign currently in use along the interstate systems, and also established provisions for traffic control plans that addressed safety issues in highway construction zones, chiefly the use of barricades and impact attenuators.

“We now have more than 40 years of experience in road building with a focus on publicly contracted road work requiring guardrails, impact attenuators, signage and specialty items,” adds Atwood-Van Skiver. AFC headquarters is on 10 acres in Kosciusko, Miss., which provides the team (which fluctuates between 45 to 60) with enough space to stage and assemble the equipment and materials needed for the day’s work. The company will install signage whether the job calls for a standard post or a custom-made trussed sign structure.

With over 40 years of specialized industry experience, AFC guarantees all of its designs and products will meet regulations set by federal, state or local authorities. AFC can begin working with the client during the initial design stage, assessing topsoil conditions, topography and climate to determine the best guardrail systems and weatherized coatings for the job, with the help of engineers from the Department of Transportation if appropriate.

AFC is also a distributor of many commonly used barrier systems and highway safety products and can work with the client to determine the best impact attenuators for the job, whether permanent or portable. AFC has installed numerous crash cushion devices in its 40 years, along bridges, roadways, overpasses and gore points.

A Company to Count On

“We have longstanding relationships with our material suppliers to assure our client of uninterrupted progress on every project,” expands Atwood-Van Skiver. One also might add “at a good price” to Atwood-Van Skiver’s assertion, as AFC has established a network of contacts over the years that work to ensure AFC will be as competitive as possible in today’s fiercely competitive public bid market.

AFC focuses primarily on public-sector work for clients at the federal, state and local level; however, the company will also field requests for smaller commercial projects. AFC stocks a variety of used w-beam guardrail, wood posts, steel guardrail posts and hardware for use in a variety of demarcation applications, including parking lots.

As work slowed down across Mississippi, AFC put its licenses in Louisiana and Alabama to good use, pursuing and landing contracts for work beyond its traditional geographical focus. Kosciusko has become an increasingly strategic location for AFC, as it sits almost at the very center of Mississippi. “We’re currently working on a $4.8 million signage job in Lake Charles, La., as the prime contractor, and we have succeeded in adding a greater volume of work in Alabama as well,” adds Atwood-Van Skiver.

In spite of AFC’s achievements, Atwood-Van Skiver believes there is still a great deal of recovery across the country to be had, and moves have been made to position AFC for growth. “Having been in the transportation industry for over 40 years, I know how important our highways and roads are to our economy,” asserts Atwood-Van Skiver. In fact, the Council on Foreign Relations reported in 2012 that 13 countries surpassed the U.S. in the overall quality of infrastructure in just 10 years, pushing the U.S. from its fifth-place spot in 2002 to 24 in 2011, confirming the importance of transportation infrastructure.

How the country will approach that need has yet to be determined, but when the time comes to ramp up activity in transportation construction AFC will be standing by to ensure roads and highways are built with great regard for the safety of every passenger and cargo load. In the process, Atwood Fence Company will help support the nation’s economy and deliver on its promise of excellent service.

Published on: March 5, 2013

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