Case Studies

G•UB•MK Constructors: Providing Maintenance and Modification Services for Tennessee Valley Authority

  • Written by: G•UB•MK Constructors: Providing Maintenance and Modification Services for Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Produced by: G•UB•MK Constructors: Providing Maintenance and Modification Services for Tennessee Valley Authority
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G•UB•MK Constructors (G•UB•MK) is an unincorporated joint venture offering a broad range of construction capabilities to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Based in Louisville, Tenn., G•UB•MK is comprised of three companies: Worley Parsons Group, Williams Plant Services LLC and URS Corporation. Together, the collaborative G•UB•MK team provides construction and supplemental maintenance services for the TVA hydro and coal fueled plants.

According to Brian Barker, program director for G•UB•MK, the joint venture was founded in 1991 to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP) for TVA. The authority is a government-owned entity that provides electricity for 9 million people throughout seven southeastern states. TVA’s electricity rates are below the national average; providing flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, as well as assisting state and local entities with economic development.

Worley Parsons Group, Williams Plant Services LLC and URS Corporation each offer different services, while each of the companies’ provide management personnel dedicated to G•UB•MK. The management team is responsible for employing and managing craft labor necessary for the execution of modifications, outage and supplemental maintenance work in a safe, cost-effective, quality and schedule-driven environment to TVA.

G•UB•MK’s workforce ranges from 1,000 to 3,000 craft employees, depending on the time of year and amount of supplemental maintenance and construction work required. As spring 2013’s outage season rolls out, G•UB•MK Constructors will be working nine coal plant projects.

Services Offered Outside G•UB•MK Ensuring an Uncommon Cooperative

Australia-based Worley Parsons Group provides expert services in engineering, procurement and construction. The international company focuses its services in metals and minerals, hydrocarbons, power and infrastructure sectors.

From offices in Georgia, Williams Plant Services LLC provides specialized maintenance services for industrial facilities. As the subsidiary of Williams Industrial Services Group LLC, Williams Plant Services LLC specializes in industrial coatings, corrosion control, machinery and equipment installation, mechanical and structural repair, as well as general maintenance.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based URS Corporation is a leading provider of engineering, construction and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies around the world.

Collectively, G•UB•MK works with the Tennessee Valley Trades and Labor Council (TVTLC), local unions and labor partners to achieve common goals. In addition, the joint venture companies have separate contracts supporting other TVA objectives, which require the use of labor resources. While each of the joint venture companies may be competitors outside TVA, it is also possible that all are competitors within TVA.
Having the unique relationship of the joint venture companies, G•UB•MK and the TVTLC allows for the accomplishment of each individual company’s goal while also achieving TVA goals.

“Working closely together and considering everyone part of the same team, including labor with the same overall goals, has been a key to the success of this joint venture,” Barker says. “It’s a testament of partnership that we can share information with each other working for TVA, but not worry about being competitors.”

According to Barker, G•UB•MK maintains an open dialogue, trust and honesty along with strong leadership and high standards, which has led to a long-term business relationship with TVA.

Improving Operations

A long-term alliance of more than 22 years, G•UB•MK has delivered continuous improvement, excellent labor relations and outstanding safety performance. In 1999, G•UB•MK began a major program for TVA, which included the installation of Selective Catalytic Reduction systems on 15 operating fossil units at four different locations.

According to Barker, numerous lessons were learned as that work progressed; and G•UB•MK improved the performance of each successive project. The program spanned a period of six years, from 2001 to 2006. G•UB•MK managed over 6,200,000 craft hours, and successfully completed each of the projects.

The G•UB•MK team’s achievement in labor relations and safety has contributed to the accomplishment of outage and project goals through integrity, continuous improvement in costs, outage scheduling and project planning and execution.

In addition, G•UB•MK’s positive working relationship with local trades and labor council has helped achieve an OSHA Recordable Incident Rate of below 1 for several years. In 2012, the joint venture achieved a [low] worker compensation cost of 7 cents per craft man-hour with an EMR of .51.

The companies’ efforts have awarded G•UB•MK several internal safety awards, including The Maynard Spence Award, Shawn Provencher Stars and Stripes Award, as well as the URS 2012 Pyramid Award for both safety and project management. According to Barker, of the 2,300 nominations, G•UB•MK employees were among a select few to be recognized by URS.

“We believe our success to be indicative of the high level of commitment from TVA, our labor partner and G•UB•MK through its joint venture partners,” says Brian. “The intense belief by everyone in the partnering philosophy is the key to success.”

As G•UB•MK ramps up for spring’s scheduled outages, the team is planning how to most efficiently approach outages and supplemental maintenance that needs to be completed. Management support from the joint venture companies of Worley Parsons Group, Williams Plant Services LLC and URS Corporation will continue to build on experience and provide the best services to the Tennessee Valley Authority doing business as G•UB•MK Constructors.

Published on: May 15, 2013

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