Case Studies

L. Keeley Construction Company: A Quality, Eco-conscious Contractor

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L. Keeley Construction Company (LKC) is a full-service contractor based in Sauget, Ill. The business offers a highly diversified set of services from asphalt paving to building industrial waste facilities. Larry Keeley founded LKC in 1976, and he still works at the business today even though he has passed ownership along to his son, Rusty.

Family-owned and -operated, LKC embraces a familial philosophy in all aspects of its operation. Al Dreste, vice president of business development at LKC, says it is that philosophy that landed him a position at the company.

Dreste was working for a company that installs garage doors when he first met the Keeleys. “I was installing a few garage door openers for Julie Keeley, that’s Rusty’s wife,” Dreste explains. “We got to talking about our kids and work, and Rusty came home to respond to some emails, and we met for about five minutes. When I left, Rusty asked her for my card. When she asked why, he said he wanted to hire me. It just goes to prove you never know when you’re on an interview.”

LKC specialized in paving and civil contracting when Larry started the business over 30 years ago. The company has grown from a small business to a diversified operation that now employs upward of 75 people. “Our ability evolve into what our customers need is what sets our company apart,” says Dreste. Rusty also owns ADB Utility Contractors, a national full-service company that performs everything from excavation and drilling to stretching power cables across the country.

The company is recognized nationally for a quarter-century of quality asphalt and paving services. LKC has developed thousands of acres of durable asphalt parking lots for international retail chains, many of which are return clients like Walmart and Target.

Focused on Flexibility

The company offers such a wide variety of services that the team is well prepared to make adjustments to overcome any challenges that pop up. “We understand that jobs change throughout the duration of a project, and that’s OK,” Dreste says.

The one constant is the team’s interest is the focus of every project, and it shows. Dreste elaborates, “One of our clients said to me, ‘You know, you treat our money as if it were your own.’ We show our customers savings. We don’t have to do that, but that trust is what builds long-term relationships.”

The company has showcased its paving services for new construction as well as repairs and maintenance contracts. Colleges have also sought after the company’s paving prestige, and LKC has been known to pave a running track or tennis court from time to time.

LKC’s reach doesn’t stop there. The company’s general contracting division provides start-to-finish services for businesses small and large. The team performs land-clearing, utilities installation, paving and full construction of buildings. Once the building is up, the company even provides finishing services on its own projects and retrofits. In addition, LKC has repurposed several buildings, including the transition of a warehouse into an office space.

In a similar vein, LKC completes turnkey industrial renovations and installations. The company recently completed a major design, installation and maintenance project for Grossman Iron and Steel in St. Louis, Mo. LKC installed a state-of-the-art mega-shredder and materials separator at the plant and then built a facility around the machines. The company’s broad portfolio also includes several manufacturing facilities and space conversions involving a variety of heavy and delicate machinery installation.

LKC’s heavy civil/site work division exemplifies the company’s breadth of capabilities. From the ground up, the company’s utility and public project work displays a well-rounded wealth of experience. LKC has built bridges for the Department of Transportation, excavated a site and poured concrete for a recreational skate park, and prepared sites and foundations for electrical power substations around the Midwest.

Onward and Upward

LKC’s projects consistently involve a combination of some or all of the business’ trade divisions. Currently, the company is building the headquarters for World Wide Technology in High Ridge, Mo., which specializes in integrated technology and telecommunications systems. World Wide Technology delivers high-tech solutions and ongoing support to clients around the world and requires high-caliber information systems to properly serve its customers. LKC is undertaking a job riddled with advanced utilities installation and finishes, but Dreste and the LKC team are up to the challenge.

The company is growing, despite experiencing some slowdown from the economic dip over the last few years. “It used to be a challenge to secure work,” explains Dreste. “Now the focus is getting projects done on time and safely.”

LKC has resumed steady growth and is looking to expand its geographic footprint by obtaining licenses in a few more states, with the five-year plan picking up larger projects. Dreste elaborates, “We’re doing contracts at up to $15 million now, and soon we’ll be taking contracts up to $25 million.”

Dreste says the company’s unique skill set and focus on customer satisfaction have earned LKC a reputation that brings customers back while also attracting new clientele. “We grew 15 percent in 2011 and we’re looking at 25 percent this year,” he adds.

LKC’s mission to provide its clients with high-quality, environmentally sensitive construction services is well-executed by the team. The two biggest performance indicators for the company are customer satisfaction and the consistent safety of its employees, allowing L. Keeley Construction Company to dominate challenging projects and leave a lasting impression on customers.

Published on: March 16, 2013

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