Case Studies

LHC Inc.

A True Turn-key Operation

In the heart of Big Sky Country there typically aren’t a lot of people around, so self-reliance has always been a common trait and residents are accustomed to wearing multiple hats to get a job done. LHC Inc., out of Kalispell, Mont., continues that tradition by having a lot of services to offer potential clients from one location. Jeff Claridge, vice president of LHC Inc., describes how the general contractor, specializing in highway and utilities work, got its start:

“My father, Roger, started the company in 1969. At that time, he was mostly hauling logs around the [Flat Head] Valley and he did that for 10 years. Then we ended up buying a gravel pit in 1985, and started doing small site work and utilities. Later on we bought a rock crusher, an asphalt plant, and most recently the concrete plant.”

LHC now employs 100 people and conducts primarily municipal work within a 100-mile radius of Kalispell. LHC offers potential clients expertise in utility work, water main and sewer construction and maintenance, road and highway construction, asphalt paving, and the production of ready-mix concrete.

On Time and On Budget
The Montana Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently tapped on LHC’s expertise for a highway widening project on U.S. Route 2, which, as its route number indicates, is the northernmost east-west thoroughfare in the country. Claridge details the scope of work that LHC did on that project: “We were responsible for finishing up Phase III of the bypass project at Kalispell. We paved several thousands of yards of concrete that we had produced in our concrete plant. The project was a big success for us; we came in on time and on budget.”

Dean Sackett, the project manager from the MDOT who was responsible for the supervision of the project, had this to say about LHC’s involvement in the project: “We are extremely pleased with the work that LHC has done for us along this vital corridor. They completed the job efficiently and professionally and we would definitely appreciate the chance to work with them again on another project.”

City leaders in Polson, Mont., also called upon LHC’s expertise for a recent major project in the downtown area. The city needed a new storm drain system, and that required the relocation of the existing water main. “That was a very challenging project for us, because we were impacting access into the local businesses along Main Street, so the sense of urgency to complete the project was definitely on us,” says Claridge. “Because of that, it motivated us to work faster and we finished up the full restoration of Main Street a little ahead of schedule and on budget.”

Giving Back to the Community
Cognizant of the fact that LHC has been so successful because of its work in closely knit communities such as Kalispell and Polson, Claridge tries to give back to the community whenever he can. Kalispell’s local high school, Glacier High School, only had two access points onto the campus; a planned third access point had to be dropped from the blueprints for budgetary reasons. The limited access caused substantial traffic jams, particularly at major school events. Even though the school had dropped the construction plans for the third access point, it still had purchased the right of way for point in case funds were freed up in the future. LHC and a couple of other local businesses generously donated the construction materials needed so that students from the community college could build the access point for school at a greatly reduced cost.

Looking towards the future, Claridge explains where he’s like to take the company: “I’d like to continue growing at the same pace we’re growing now. I’d like to stretch our arms out and take on projects within a 200-mile radius [of Kalispell].”

Considering started with Roger hauling logs and how now LHC Inc. employs 100 people and offers a multitude of services that rival substantially larger firms along the east and west coasts, Jeff Claridge’s hopes will likely become reality.

Published on: February 14, 2012

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