Case Studies

MEB General Contractors: Value Through Service, Teamwork and Integrity

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MEB General Contractors (MEB) is celebrating 30 years of serving Virginia. From MEB headquarters in Chesapeake, Va., the team performs complex projects in the commercial, industrial, civil and multifamily residential and hospitality sectors. Eric L. Keplinger, vice president of business development for MEB, says the company has sustained steady growth since being founded in 1982 and it continues to do so with an ever-expanding spread of diversified contracting services.

MEB’s foundation of general contracting has allowed the team’s portfolio to amass everything from Department of Defense office buildings to middle schools, sewage treatment plants and fuel storage facilities.

“The base realignment and closure [BRAC] commission has brought quite a bit of money to the construction industry here over the last few years and we’ve benefited some from that,” says Keplinger. The MEB team has performed work for the military along the East Coast from Maryland to Florida.

Government Projects

The team at MEB completed an addition for the Defense Commissary Agency’s office building at Fort Lee. The company adjoined 90,000 square feet of additional space, including more offices, a two-story warehouse and storage facility, as well as a multipurpose area. The company performed all of the site preparation and major construction components in the steel-frame structure in addition to improving the grounds with upgraded drainage and retention systems as well as a new parking lot.

The Department of Defense has been a repeat customer for MEB. The company has performed multiple projects on Craney Island, an industrial area that hosts a fuel depot for the United States Navy. Recently, MEB secured a contract to demolish 19 existing storage tanks, which are no longer up to standard. The tanks will be replaced with six new tanks, including four 100,000-barrel tanks for storing jet fuel. The other two tanks will store fuel-oil-reclaimed products at 30,000 barrels and 40,000 barrels. All of the tanks will be aboveground supported by pilings. MEB subcontracts the construction of actual tanks, but site preparation and foundations will be self-performed.

The company’s capabilities in civil construction have been greatly expanded since MEB broke into water and wastewater treatment facility construction about 15 years ago. The state of Virginia has mandated the reduction of pollution expelled into waterways, resulting in municipal upgrade for many regions. “We’ve built treatment facilities over the last five years from $30 million up to $50 million,” says Keplinger. “We’ve had at least a half dozen in that price range.” With many regions following suit, MEB has performed plant construction projects in expanded territory up into southern Maryland.

Highly Evolved Business

MEB has suffered many of the same pains as other contractors in the recession. “In the last two or three years, that standard commercial construction work has ceased to exist,” explains Keplinger. Private businesses have put off new construction and upgrades due to an unsteady market. However, MEB has managed to stay afloat and maintain sustainable growth due to the diversity of services the team is proud to offer.

“Right now we’re focusing on wastewater treatment work and pushing our military fueling services,” says Keplinger. He says the traditional general contracting side of the business has not had a great year, but he remains optimistic for a turnaround. “We’re seeing small changes,” he explains. “We’re feeling good about 2013.”

The company employs over 300 people specializing in a number of crafts. The ability to self-perform significant aspects of construction, especially in such a broad spectrum of projects, gives MEB a competitive advantage in the industry. “We have relationships with key subcontractors in all of the markets we work in,” says Keplinger. “That’s part of our ability to pick up the work that we do.”

Outside of human capital, MEB has a vast arsenal of heavy equipment. “We’ve got a big yard here at the office,” says Keplinger. Because the company self-performs so many involved processes, MEB owns pile-driving rigs, cranes, excavators and a handful of other assorted heavy machinery.
MEB is reputed locally and nationally for its long-standing history for service and an endless stream of satisfied repeat customers in the public and private sectors. On top of success in business, the company encourages its employees to give back to community. MEB management leads by example with members of local groups that participate in regular fund-raising for a handful of deserving local charities.

On a corporate level the company makes regular contributions to local and national causes and sponsors business-wide fund-raising efforts for organizations and events, such as Habitat for Humanity and Lee’s National Denim Day. After the Virginia Tech tragedy in 2007, MEB made a large contribution to the Hokie Memorial Fund and sent a group photo in support of grieving families and classmates.

The company has emerged as a regional leader in construction, which is clear through its multiple recognitions in ENR Magazine as one of the top 400 contractors in the country. This recognition is due in large part because MEB is one of the most experienced and respected providers of construction services in the Hampton Roads Region, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and throughout the Mid-Atlantic. MEB has the resources and strength to provide the highest level of service on a broad variety of project types. MEB General Contractors’ ability to evolve and commitment to excellence has brought the company 30 years of success, and guarantees many more.

Published on: March 16, 2013

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