In 1974, Stuart and Alan Michie founded Michie Corporation (MC) as a small Redi-Mix operation in Henniker, N.H. The brothers started out with a small batch plant, two employees and three mixer trucks, providing concrete for construction projects in southern New Hampshire. The company’s first major job was for the town sewer system in 1975. Over the years, the business grew. The brothers acquired more plants, eventually consolidating the individual businesses under the name the company uses today.
The husband and wife team of Alan and Pamela Michie, along will children Jason, Jessica and Johanna, as well as other key members of the management team run the business.
“My father is still very much involved with the company,” Jessica explains. “This is a big year for us we are celebrating our 40-year anniversary. We are still family-owned and -operated.”
MC employs more than 75 people in the field and at the facilities in Henniker and Epsom, N.H. Together, the team pulls off diverse and unique concrete Redi-Mix and precast projects throughout the region.
“We can build just about anything in concrete,” Jessica states. “We work in the residential sector, the commercial sector and on public projects. We do a lot of work for the Department of Transportation. We can deliver our precast products just about anywhere, although transportation is expensive. Most of our work is concentrated in New England and more specifically, New Hampshire.”
Over the years, MC has displayed great variety in products and projects. Precast products include tanks, bridge components, barriers, baseball dugouts and other specialty items. “We deliver our precast products to the site and work with contractors to support installation,” Jessica notes. “We guide the assembly and help them make sure everything comes together correctly and efficiently.”
A growing portfolio
One of the more memorable projects for the team in recent years has been a major bridge replacement contract in Concord, N.H., with general contractor, E.D. Swett. MC formed large, precast planks and delivered the whole bridge to the site on highway 93. “The bridge was replaced over a weekend and people didn’t even know,” explains Steve Gard, precast division manager. “The bridge was shut down to traffic at 7 p.m. on a Friday evening and reopened by 7 a.m. the following Monday.”
The entire bridge was replaced in 60 hours, with full-width planks that were 45 feet wide in 8-foot lay lengths. The crew performed a mock-up of the bridge structure in the MC yard prior to delivery to ensure everything was labeled, marked and lined up perfectly before delivery.
Steve, along with the team, engineered and designed a tank for a local mushroom grower. “This was a startup company,” Steve elaborates. “The gentleman who owns the business came to us to help design a concrete tank for a steam vault so he could sanitize the sawdust for the mushroom spores to grow in. After that, we cast a tank that was 10 feet by 17 feet and 8 feet tall.” The project was a huge success and the company owner is considering having MC build more vaults for an upcoming expansion project.
Balancing the market
Now that the country is recovering from the recession, Jessica says business is steady. MC’s diverse capabilities helped the company remain stable throughout the downturn. While the team previously performed more private commercial and residential work, public work was more available throughout the leaner years. Now, the private market is opening up and the crew is ready to take on new, challenging projects.
“Our challenge now is finding good help,” Jessica explains. “In New Hampshire, a lot of young people are moving out of state to go to college and find jobs. There aren’t as many opportunities here and losing that labor force doesn’t help. We have many truck drivers who are aging and no new employees to fill those roles when they retire.”
To address these challenges, the company has taken on a referral reward program, providing incentives to current employees who send their friends in to apply for jobs. While the selection is limited, MC still prioritizes safety. All employees are subject to pre-employment drug screening and the company is a drug-free workplace.
Jessica does not foresee any major changes within the company over the coming years. MC has established a strong and manageable market. The crew will stick to the work it does best. At the end of the day, Jessica says the greatest indicator for success is a happy customer and an incident-free project. Michie Corporation values service, efficiency and safety for each and every contract, maintaining a reputation for quality work on challenging concrete projects in New England.
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