Case Studies

Feutz Contractors Inc.: Improving Infrastructure on Main Street

  • Written by: Feutz Contractors Inc.: Improving Infrastructure on Main Street
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Feutz Contractors Inc. (Feutz) – originally established as Frank C. Feutz Co. – is a heavy construction company based in Paris, Ill., that has been improving infrastructure in communities for almost 88 years. Performing work throughout central Illinois and Indiana, Feutz offers services to clients in the local government and private sectors.

Founded in 1925 by Frank C. Feutz, the business remains a family enterprise today. Feutz has been a Delaware Corporation since 1959, changing the name of the company to its current designation in January 1998.

John (Steve) Blair, chairman and CEO of Feutz, joined the business in 1972 when he married into the family. “My father and uncle owned a sand and gravel trucking business,” recalls Blair. “I’ve been in construction from the get-go. From the time I was about 7 or 8 years old, I would ride around in the dump trucks with my father.” Blair went on to develop his knowledge, focusing on engineering. Overall he’s been working in the industry since 1968 and brings a great deal of expertise to Feutz.

Blair and partners Dave and Don Wright represent the third generation of management in the business. In addition, some members of the fourth generation are also currently actively involved in the business.

The company calls Paris its home base. However, Feutz has a location in Terre Haute, Ind., along with an office and shop in Champaign, Ill. During peak season Feutz employs around 150 people, with 25 full-time employees.

Heavy on Infrastructure

Feutz offers a wide range of services in the heavy and civil construction areas. By self-performing 80 percent of its work, the company mainly focuses on grading, utility, concrete paving, and bridge work. Feutz’s workload consists of all open-cut utility installations and reconstructions, ranging in depth from three to 30 feet.

While the size and scope of projects has increased significantly in the last 10 to 15 years, Blair notes that the type of work Feutz performs really hasn’t. In that time the company has geared up by adding both equipment and capabilities that cater to larger segments of both the public and private markets.

Feutz delivers concrete paving, curbs and gutters for highways and streets, in addition to earth grading, which includes dams levees, excavation, site work, drainage and culverts. Feutz also lays concrete foundations, walls and floor slabs. Site development services include curbs, walkways, driveways, riprap, landscaping and aggregate surfacing. Also well versed in the utilities sector, Feutz offers sanitary sewers, force mains, pump stations, water lines, storm sewers and drainage structures, along with piping, equipment, lift stations and pumps for sewage treatment plants.

Enhancing Main Street

Feutz won the bid for a large-scale streetscape enhancement project in Decatur, Ill., breaking ground on the site in 2012. The work was substantially complete in 2002, and the project involved a complete re-do of a large portion of the downtown area. With a record of quality work and diverse services Feutz was chosen as the company to do the job.

The project required the removal and replacement of existing curbs and gutters, pavement and sidewalks, trees and plants. Feutz needed to install brick paving, special concrete items, new storm inlets and sewer, electric and fiber optic conduit and pedestrian lighting. The site also needed relocating and modification of existing traffics signals, gateway structure and street signs.

To make the area more community friendly, Feutz installed a drinking fountain, box hydrant watering system, tree grates, bollards, bicycle racks, planters, fences and railings. Aesthetically, the site needed a great deal of landscaping; more trees, plant beds and turf seeding. Overall, the project will bring more charm, functionality and vibrancy to Decatur’s downtown district.

Back in August 2005 Feutz was awarded an $8.8 million contract for the Hulman Street Road Reconstruction project for the city of Terre Haute, Ind. The job included a complete re-do of 1.66 miles of Hulman Street involving pavement, concrete curbs, gutters, driveways, sidewalks, pumping station, a force main, redirection of sewers, a new storm water collection system and a brand-new storm water detention facility.

Feutz served as the general contractor on the site, providing a valuable service to the estimated 60,000 people in the city. Once completed in December 2006 the reconstruction helped preserve the quality of storm water flow to the Wabash River.

Feutz is well connected and belongs to many associations including the Associated General Contractors of Illinois (AGCI), American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), Indiana Contractors Association (ICI), the National Utility Contractors Association and many other associations.

Developing trusted relationships through quality service, Feutz boasts a long list of clientele in government, municipalities and private industry. Feutz has worked with many well-known organizations, including the Illinois and Indiana Departments of Transportation, Indiana State University, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the University of Illinois. In addition, the company has worked with numerous cities, counties and private-sector organizations in east central Illinois and west central Indiana.

Despite many successful projects like the main street enhancement, Feutz is not impenetrable to economic blows. Blair has seen his share of economic ups and downs over the course of many years at Feutz. “We are certainly pretty aggressive in looking at some of the larger jobs,” explains Blair. “The market goes up and down of course, and there have been years in the last 10 when most of our earthwork equipment is parked for a good portion of the year. But when a larger job comes up that we want to go after, we know we have to have the capability to get it done.”

Considering Feutz’s 88 years in business, Blair has no doubt the company will remain productive but does admit the past few years have been a challenge. “It’s a mixed bag, some things are improving, some aren’t,” says Blair. “We are seeing more potential for work in the private sector this year than we have in the last two or three years, but public owners are having more difficulty funding projects.” Regardless of the challenges, Feutz Contractors Inc. can weather the economic storm by focusing on diverse, quality services and client relationships.

Published on: April 19, 2013

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