Case Studies

Bullock Construction Inc.

Construction services for rail lines in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast U.S.

Jay Bullock established Bullock Construction Inc. (BCI) in 1967 as a small railroad contracting business serving rail lines in Maryland. For more than 45 years, the business has grown steadily, building a large client base throughout the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern United States. Over the years, BCI has performed a wide range of rail transportation projects throughout the region. The crew of approximately 45 people has performed new construction, engineering, consulting and maintenance services for public and private entities. While the company has also been involved in commercial and industrial construction over the years, BCI’s main focus has moved toward rail projects, especially in the last decade.

Today, BCI has entered its second generation of family ownership and operation. Michelle Bullock, Jay’s daughter, as well as owner and president of BCI, now proudly leads the company alongside her brother, Josh, executive vice president. The siblings have worked in the family business since their teens and therefore, have built up strong industry experience and now oversee a skilled team.

Making connections

With Michelle at the helm, BCI is a woman-owned and small, disadvantaged business. Furthermore, the company is affiliated with the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC).

“There are a lot of benefits to membership for us,” Michelle explains. “Specifically with the NRC, we can take advantage of a strong community that allows us to make new contacts within our industry. There is also a political aspect of the organization that offers us representation in local and national legislation.”

These partnerships have also helped the company boost exposure. In recent years, BCI has built relationships with rail line companies and municipalities throughout the region. While backing from two national associations offer visibility, Michelle, Josh and the crew work hard to maintain relationships with clients.

As a railroad contractor, safety is a huge priority for the team. Through in-depth planning and a unique safety program, BCI ensures that jobs are performed efficiently, reducing downtime from incidents and injuries on-site. The company employs a full-time safety officer, responsible for training employees and enforcing stringent safety policies on the job.

Rail work is also highly time sensitive. “Organization is huge for us,” Josh explains. “We need to be sure every project is completed on time. We coordinate with our suppliers to have our materials in on time and check in throughout the project to make sure our crew is on track.”

With 95 percent of work performed in-house, BCI has better control over scheduling and quality than contractors that rely on subcontracted labor.

Time-sensitive projects

BCI has been involved in a number of time-sensitive projects in recent years. The crew recently completed a Streetcar project in Washington, D.C., which includes three contracts. “We built the D.C. Rail from Benning Road to H Street,” Michelle notes. “That segment of the project is complete. We also rehabbed; which included taking out the original tracks, cleaning them and relaying them, the streetcar rail in downtown Georgetown on O and P Street, related to a large rehabilitation project in the area.”

Another contract the team recently completed is a Concrete Railroad Bridge Project for the state of Maryland. “This was a challenging project,” Michelle elaborates. “Because of design issues we were late starting this project. But because of the time sensitive nature of rail service on this line the project completion date could not be extended. We had to accelerate our schedule and we got it done. They just ran the test train on it. In order to meet the new deadline, we added additional staff and our crews put in a lot of overtime.”

BCI is very conscience of time deadlines for all of its customers. “We are proud to say that we have never missed a time deadline,” Michelle notes.

The crew also performs ongoing and on-call maintenance contracts for many of the area’s short line tracks. The siblings report that this type of work is growing, although larger repair and new construction projects comprise most of the company’s revenue.

“In the next few years, we will continue to take on more street car and mass transit work for local authorities,” Josh explains. “We have seen improvement in the economy on a local scale and we hope the upward trend will continue.” With a strong portfolio of projects and a qualified team, Bullock Construction Inc. is ready to take on new challenges in the growing transportation industry.

Published on: March 27, 2015

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