Case Studies

Milton J. Wood Company

General contracting, fire protection specialists, and HVAC systems serving the Southeast

Milton J. Wood Company (MJW) is a full-service general and mechanical contractor serving customers throughout the Southeast from its headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida.

Founded in 1969, MJW traces its roots as far back as 1917 with the creation of Wood Brothers Contracting. The company specialized in heavy equipment rigging and housing moving, and was where MJW founder Milton J. Wood earned his introduction into the contracting trade from his father, Milton Monroe Wood.

Milton J. Wood Company

Wood joined the family business during high school, leaving to fight in World War II but returning with an expanded skillset that allowed Wood Brothers Contracting to move into steel erection, heavy rigging and hauling work. After a change of ownership, Wood left to found MJW in 1969, completing all planning, scheduling and execution for the nascent enterprise.

With decades of real-life experience behind him and a strong reputation in the industry, Wood was able to quickly establish MJW as trusted industry partner specializing in dangerous work, precision and tight schedules. This model of tackling jobs that others might have considered impossible gained MJW quite a following in the industry and eventually led it to expand into pile driving, concrete placement, steel erection, process piping, equipment erection, code welding and boiler repair.

Today, the company is actually composed of three companies unified under the MJW Consolidated banner. Fire protection was added to the company’s ever-expanding slate of services in 1991 and soon became its own line of business called MJW Fire Protection.

An important part of the fire protection company is the ability to add the design component to its list of services, so MJW Engineering was formed to facilitate that need. The company has since added HVAC service and installation, an electrical division, and automated controls to its list of service offerings which helps move it more toward making it more of a one-stop shop for a full range of construction solutions.

MJW now serves a wide range of clients including architectural, engineering and contracting firms, aviation and automotive concerns, chemical, food and beverage, government, health care, mining and refinement, oil and gas, pulp and paper as well as the alternative energy sector. In addition to its Jacksonville headquarters, MJW has offices in Lakeland, Florida, Brunswick, Georgia, and Savannah, Georgia.

Partnering with the Southeast’s largest brands

MJW’s Fire Protection division has found success in designing fire safety systems from the country’s wood pellet mills. While alternative energy sources like biomass are becoming a popular choice among the ecologically minded, the pellet industry has struggled with addressing fire safety issues such as surface fire, deep-seated pile fires and dust ignition.

The company currently has two wood pellet-related jobs underway, including a pellet facility in Greenwood, South Carolina, for Colombo Energy and another in Wilmington, North Carolina, for Enviva. MJW handles both installation as well as design on its pellet facility fire protection systems like on a project for Green Circle Port in Marianna, Florida, for all fire protection services for the Grass Roots plant construction as well as fire protection systems in the export facility in Panama City, Florida.

The company has also seen growth in the ethanol and fuel industries, completing fire suppression systems for both fuel providers and storage facilities.

Milton J. Wood Company performs mechanical and structural work in the pellet, pulp and paper industries throughout the Southeastern U.S. Currently working in Greenwood, South Carolina to construct an entire woodyard equipment system for the wood pellet industry. In addition to that project MJW is just completing the installation of a material handling system which includes approximately 4,000 feet of conveyor systems that are a mix of 36” wide and 54” wide. In addition, the company is constructing a ship loader unit to facilitate ship loadout in Wilmington, North Carolina.

In the facility maintenance service sector, MJW works with some of the Southeast’s most recognizable brands including Anheuser-Busch, Maxwell House and Tropicana. The company performs maintenance, upgrades and repairs to equipment and buildings, reducing delays and inefficiencies. MJW is on-site 24/7 for many of its clients, completing site work, concrete, carpentry, finishes and equipment setting as well as process piping, plumbing, HVAC work and fire protection.

At Jacksonville’s Anheuser-Busch plant, MJW recently upgraded two production lines. The company has served Anheuser-Busch since 1988, providing ongoing maintenance for myriad repairs, conveyor work and fire alarm inspection.

MJW has also worked on Florida’s west coast at Tropicana’s Bradenton facility since 1993, completing maintenance work for civil, structural steel and equipment installation as well as concrete and masonry work,.

The company is currently completing fire protection work on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, working to install deluge piping on the launch pads that help send $1.5 billion rockets into space. At MJW, success is measured both in the value delivered to clients as well as in the maintaining of an immaculate safety record. The company takes a proactive approach to behavioral-based safety processes that have resulted in MJW achieving an experience modification rating (EMR) of just 0.53 with more than 2.5 million man hours without a lost time incident.

Connecting the generations

Like many established construction companies in today’s market, MJW has had to deal with the influx of a next generation workforce whose career goals often include an entirely different set of expectations than the existing workforce. While this new millennial employee base has occasionally engendered friction in the workplace, MJW has made a concerted effort to improve communication between workers of all ages, as well as our workforce and our client counterparts.

“We do training in-house to make sure our millennials are reacting to baby boomers, both internally and externally, in the right manner and vice versa,” says David Tankersley, president of Milton J. Wood Company. “They’re talking different languages, so it’s mostly an issue of communication.”

These communication issues often boil down to a basic lack of understanding, according to Tankersley. “We have instances where older guys thinking the younger guys aren’t paying attention because they’re multi-tasking, which younger guys are proficient at and most older guys aren’t,” he says.

Tankersley says the company is considering an expanded presence in both Louisiana and South Carolina in the near future, both of which could well lead to the company establishing new branch offices in the states. “I can see that potentially happening in the next year or two,” he says.

As a company with more than 45 years of experience in the region’s mechanical and general contracting market, MJW has managed to carve out a niche by offering a full range of services including both fire protection as well as engineering. With an experienced team and eyes trained on further expansion, Milton J. Wood Company will continue to build its brand across the Southeast.

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