Case Studies

John W. Gleim Jr. Inc.

Strength Through Diversity

It’s been proven many times over, but it’s a basic fact that companies that don’t diversify service offerings are not going to survive this recession intact. Jobs that used to have five reputable bidders are now being overrun with numerous out-of-state contractors bidding well below cost. John W. Gleim Jr. Inc. (JWG) is an example of a company that has adapted to the new reality and will make it through to the next boom cycle.

The Carlisle, Pa., based company was founded in 1969 by John W. Gleim Jr., with just a back-hoe and a dump truck as a small family-owned excavating business. Today the company employs 95 personnel and during the boom years of the early 2000s, was averaging around $30 million in sales annually.

JWG has since expanded its service offerings over the years, and John T. Gleim, John W.’s son, estimates that the company’s diversity has helped insulate it from the harshest effects of the economy. The company now offers: full-service excavation for both commercial and residential clients, asphalt installation, utility ground work, demolition and blasting, truck hauling rock crushing and its environmental division specializes in dam removal, wetlands restoration and stream work. In addition, Gleim recently formed a new corporation called Truck Equipment Crane Solutions (TECS). TECS will be mounting cranes on over-the-road truck crossings, as well as offering a variety of custom features such as tool boxes, tow hitches and lift axles.

JWG is also partaking in a joint venture with Headwater Partners LLC. This venture will focus on projects relating to dam removal, repair or construction in addition to river restoration and streambank stabilization. The venture will also cover lake and pond dredging, wetland enhancement, creation and mitigation as well as stormwater infrastructure retrofit and/or construction. This will provide clients with a sole-source solution to restoration needs with a seamless process that will save both time and money for project owners.

Gleim also states that while its diverse services have helped JWG, its reputation for honesty helps bring in additional business as well. “We really focus on our customer service. We work for a lot of clients who value our honesty. Some of our competitors are known for submitting change orders and we stay away from that.”

“We’re upfront with our pricing and give customers a true estimate from the beginning on what things are going to cost,” continues Gleim.

Large Area of Operation

JWG’s crews can typically be found within a 100-mile radius of the company’s headquarters in Carlisle, but Gleim says that it’s not uncommon for JWG to work on projects across the state, and in any of the six states that border Pennsylvania.

In spite of the company’s diversification, business has stilled slowed down, but JWG’s owner aggressively responded to the challenge by selling off unused equipment and tightening up the overhead. The company still considers site work for large commercial warehouses and residential subdivisions as its primary market, but Gleim adds that it will respond to the market appropriately as time goes on.

“One of the benefits of being so diverse is that if things dry up completely in our site development operation, we’ll shift the resources that we still have into fields that are still producing work.”

Today in the construction industry, it’s ‘cool’ to say that a company is dedicated to green building and environmentally friendly practices. JWG, with its environmental services division, was dedicated to green long before it became an industry buzzword. “We understand that we only get one environment and we’re committed to helping restore damage and allowing streams and rivers to flow freely,” adds Gleim.

El Paso Energy, out of Houston, Texas, was recently ordered to remove three dams from the Raritan River by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (N.J. DEP). The company acquired properties with previous mitigation liabilities, which included the removal of Calco Dam and the Duke Farm Dam. Gleim was recently awarded the contract for the Robert St. Dam removal to begin in July 2012.

Open for Fishing After 100 Years

JWG won the contract to remove Calco Dam, and subsequently opened up a 17-mile stretch of the river to fish migrations for the first time in over 100 years.

“This unique and unprecedented settlement will make valuable habitat in the Raritan River available for fish spawning while improving overall environmental conditions in the river system. In addition, dam removal will make it easier for kayakers, canoeists and other lovers of the outdoors to enjoy a river system that has been undergoing a steady and impressive ecological comeback over the years,” Bob Martin, N.J. DEP commissioner, was quoted as saying.

The highly-trained crews at JWG are able to tackle any project, regardless of its size. For one of the company’s projects, JWG drilled, blasted and excavated over 700,000 cubic yards of dirt in an amazing three month period. To top that, the company then went ahead and installed over 3.5 miles of utility pipes within the same time frame.

So while the company does offer its clients access to a wide variety of services, its roster of successfully completed projects point to the fact that JWG’s crews are well-trained and able to accomplish pretty impressive feats in a short amount of time. John Gleim Jr. may have started JWG as a small one man and a truck operation, but its high quality work and ever expanding roster of services has made John W. Gleim Jr. Inc. one of the leading site contractors in the region.

Published on: May 24, 2012


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