In the past 30 years, CSE Inc. has experienced a steady presence in the steel erection industry. Located in Williston, Vermont, CSE takes pride in being a service-oriented steel erection company and provides experienced personnel and equipment to meet the demands of the market. “Our primary focus is structural and miscellaneous steel erection,” says Bill Michaud, president and owner of CSE. “We also erect precast concrete, pre-engineered metal buildings and provide a vast array of rigging and crane services.” Geographically, CSE primarily works throughout Vermont, northern New Hampshire and northeastern New York.
Founded in 1987 by Yvan “Ski” Cote and Nancy Willis, CSE was the first company in northern New England to be certified by the American Institute of Steel Constructors (AISC). Nancy Willis eventually bought out Ski Cote in 2003 and then sold the company to Bill Michaud in 2011.
Michaud joined CSE in 1988 as a project manager. From a young age, Bill maintained a passion for the industry. “My grandfather was a blacksmith and my parents used to take me to his shop to be with him on Saturdays,” he recalls. “I was about 12 years old when I discovered that I loved working with tools and getting dirty.”
Projects that CSE has been involved in over the years have included the University of Vermont (UVM) Medical Center, (also known as the Renaissance Project). The company has also worked with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters not only on new buildings, but also on interior manufacturing processes as well as interior mezzanines, platforms and structural upgrades. With an abundance of microbreweries in the state of Vermont, CSE was recently hired by The Alchemist, a family-run brewery. “They’re building a new brewery,” says Michaud. “We have erected the building and are waiting for the brewery process tanks to come in so those can be put in place.” The project was expected to be completed by summer 2016.
In addition to the UVM Medical Center, CSE also completed a project at the medical school, where the company erected two four-story buildings in the courtyard of an existing structure. “All of the steel and equipment had to go in through a double overhead door so it all had to be sized and coordinated properly,” recalls Michaud. “The project took about a month to complete and it went very smoothly.”
Michaud recalls work that CSE did with IBM, now Global Foundries, as one of the more challenging projects the company has completed. “We built a penthouse on top of the building using a rooftop crane,” he explains. “We then went in under the new penthouse and took the old roof out.”
After hurricane Irene, the Waterbury State Office Complex in Waterbury, Vermont, suffered severe damage. CSE has spent two years installing interior structural framing, as well as some miscellaneous architectural ironwork in an attempt to salvage the building. The company was awarded the contract in February 2014 and finished the job in early 2016.
CSE has also been to the top of mountains. In the summer of 2014 they built a lodge at the top of the Killington Ski area gondola. All of the steel was sequenced, off-loaded at the bottom of the mountain and transferred to a specially designed rough terrain vehicle for the 4-mile trip to the top. “The logistics and access were the greatest obstacles,” says Michaud. “The views made it all worth it though.”
A talented team
The workforce that CSE has assembled is a major contributing factor to the long-term success of the company. With 25 employees, the staff at CSE brings hundreds of years of combined experience to each project. “Our employees are the most important asset to the company,” says Michaud. “We do not have a high turnover ratio. Most of our employees have been with us for a long time.”
Efficiency is one of CSE’s strong points as a company. As long as a project is phased properly, CSE is able to complete a majority of its jobs with a crew of approximately six to 10 workers. While CSE self-performs all of its work, the company occasionally brokers fabrication tasks to a local company that acts as a supplier to CSE on a particular project. Fabricators with which CSE works include Stone Bridge Iron & Steel, Jeffords Steel and Engineering and Reliance Steel.
Michaud says that the future of CSE and the job security of its staff are what motivate him every day. “I’m so very proud of our employees and what we have been able to accomplish with this company,” he says. “It’s very important to me to continue to give our employees the opportunity to live well and take care of their families.”
While working in a small community, CSE relies heavily on repeat business. “Everyone knows everyone in this community,” says Michaud. “It’s all about repeat business.” With the quality of work the company provides, coupled with its stellar reputation, CSE Inc. will remain a leading steel erection contractor in the Northeast for years to come.
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