- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Eric Colby
- Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Lost time running means money out the door, but plant shut-downs and regular maintenance are necessary to keep industrial plants running at maximum operational efficiency. The faster, the better; this is why big industrial names have been calling on Evans Construction (EC) for rapid shutdown and turnarounds for nearly 35 years.
Based in Rome, Georgia, the heavy industrial mechanical contractor has been serving major clients, such as International Paper, Southern Company- Georgia Power and other pulp, paper, chemical and petrochemical customers. A small, family-owned business, EC was formed in 1978 by Donald Evans.
“We started as a grading contractor and still maintain that status, but have also added a mechanical side that’s been going strong for 25 years,” tells Kevin Evans, president of EC. “About 15 years ago we added boiler repair and manufacturing to the lineup, as well. It’s been a slow, steady mechanical evolution, growing into highly critical industrial repairs and installations.”
Bring on the busy season
On a regular basis the company employs 50 professional union employees, but Evans describes EC’s business as very seasonal. “During outage time, the number of employees can fluctuate from 200 to 250 as we ramp up for plant shutdowns and turnarounds,” he explains.
Annually, many large industrial operations, such as International Paper, plan scheduled outages to perform accumulating repairs or modifications to changing systems. “Boilers especially require a complete shutdown,” considers Evans.
For EC, completion dates are the company’s highest priority, be it during a total shut down or amid an ongoing operation. “We continually invest time and energy to improving the ways in which we meet our clients’ stringent demands,” says Evans.
Among the many services EC delivers in the industrial arena are: equipment installation, heavy demolition, rigging, steel fabrication and erection, process piping, concrete foundations and more. “As an industrial mechanical contractor, we specialize in large, high-pressure installations,” details Evans.
However, Evans adds that the company has the unique niche in being a grading-mechanical contractor. “We’re able to meet the new EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] requirements mandating new controls on ash and soil reconditioning,” he explains. “We recondition the soil and put in control liners and piping systems to retain control of recycled water.”
EC is performing this type of installation at Southern Company. “We’re doing the grading to meet the EPA mandates, putting a liner on the parcel to control the water,” he reveals.
At Kemira Chemical in Marietta, Georgia, EC is a regular presence. “We’re constantly improving the piping system, doing modifications or adding new equipment to their production, including new reactor vessels,” says Evans.
Finding a balance
After a busy spring and summer season, Evans says EC is now entering a slower time of year, but has a large-scale shutdown going at International Paper. “We’re working on the annual outage and doing the boiler work,” he says. “Sometimes it’s a challenge to deal with the sporadic and seasonal schedule of our line of work. Work generally falls off in the fall in September and into March and it’s a matter of trying to balance our portfolio to maintain our core people.”
According to Evans, coming through the recession has taken time, as well. “We’ve been trying to climb out of this economic slump that’s hurt all contractors,” he adds. “Part of it is not being as selective in work as we’ve been in the past, but we’re fortunate to have these big clients moving forward.”
Evans notes that through the downturn, EC has had to sacrifice profitability to an extent, in order to maintain a solid workforce. “Sometimes profitability has to drop and you need to make sacrifices to maintain core people,” he measures. “I think maintaining top employees through the recession have to be top priority so quality stays the same.”
Evan details that EC had to get a little creative and expand its normal scope of work through the recession, but now that things are picking up again, the company has solid clientele to fall back on.
“I’m proud of the longstanding relationships we’ve built and the fact we’re still a small, family-owned business competing in this challenging market,” he says proudly.
Evans Construction continues to be the go-to grading and mechanical contractor for heavy industrial clients looking for a speedy turnaround and efficient, effective delivery.
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