Case Studies

Mobley Contractors Inc.: Tackling High-risk Projects with Teamwork

  • Written by: Mobley Contractors Inc.: Tackling High-risk Projects with Teamwork
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It takes a special breed to succeed in heavy civil contracting, and Mobley Contractors Inc. (MCI) boasts a team capable of just that. MCI prides itself on its team’s ability to succeed on especially high-risk jobs through heavy communication, coordination and faith in the Lord.

MCI specializes in working on the nation’s critical infrastructure, including projects in the field of energy, transportation, water treatment and even environmental remediation. It’s the MCI team’s commitment to conducting business with great respect, integrity and an eye for the safety that continues to fuel the company’s growth even as economies fluctuate and technologies come and go.

“We bring over 40 years of industry experience to every job,” asserts Ronny Mobley, founder and president of MCI. Mobley started the company in the early 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1973 that MCI officially incorporated.

Today, the company represents the culmination of three generations of Mobley family members working in the construction industry. Mobley’s father owned- and -operated a ready-mix concrete plant, for which Ronny began driving concrete trucks as a teenager. Ronny’s son, Ron Mobley Jr., has also joined MCI with hopes to carry on the family tradition. The rest of the team might as well be family, as Ken French, vice president of MCI, has been with the company from the start. Jared French, Ken’s son and a superintendent for MCI, has also joined the team. Don DePriests, controller for MCI, has also been with the company for 16 years.

And the tradition continues as the company has grown from a small general contracting operation with a penchant for concrete work into a multidisciplinary heavy civil contracting expert.

The company employs over 100 professionals at any given time, each of who operate from MCI’s headquarters in Morrilton, Ark. The company’s central location enables the team to travel to virtually any corner of the state, as well as into Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri if needed.

Excellence and Experience

As a general contractor with a history in concrete work, MCI has unsurprisingly accumulated an extensive portfolio of work in the public sector. Unlike some of the company’s peers, MCI can also provide its expertise on highly technical projects requiring close coordination with various engineering teams.

The company has completed work on a variety of projects, including bridges, dams and hydroelectric power generation facilities. MCI has also successfully completed a number of highways, water and wastewater treatment plants, drainage sites, pump stations and streetcar rail systems. But the team’s capabilities don’t end there; MCI has also worked on landfills pertaining to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, which addresses responsible disposal of both solid and hazardous wastes.

MCI’s experience is broad, but the unifying principles of quality construction, timely completion and teamwork allow the MCI staff to deliver only the finest on each project.

Mobley estimates that MCI self-performs 75 percent of every project, leaving the last quarter in the hands of capable, qualified and responsible subcontractors. “You realize very early on in this industry that it takes really qualified people to deliver a quality job and we’re extremely selective with our subcontractors,” says Mobley.

Over the years MCI has worked constructing and repairing some of the state’s most critical infrastructure. In 2007 the MCI team completed work that ultimately brought back the historic streetcar trolley system in Little Rock and North Little Rock, Ark. The River Rail Streetcar System is estimated to have cost $12 million, and MCI worked directly with the Central Arkansas Transit Authority to install an overhead contact system and rail for the 3.4-mile route.

Breathing Life into a Local Landmark

Visitors and locals alike can hop on the heritage trolleys at the historic River Market and hop off at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park, which also bears the work of MCI. The center includes the Clinton Presidential Library, the offices of the Clinton Foundation as well as the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. The library is the most expensive to date of any presidential library, with a price tag pegged at $160 million, but it is also the largest in terms of square footage and home to the largest archives of any presidential library.

The library was officially dedicated in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2010 that MCI became involved. The site sprawls across 30 acres and the historic Rock Island Railroad Bridge that once served as railway access across the Arkansas River now welcomes a mix of bicyclists and pedestrians. The Clinton Foundation spent $10.5 million to restore the historic structure, which dates back to 1899.

“To restore the bridge we had to lower two separate 1 million pound counterweights,” explains Mobley. The counterweights were previously used with the center lift span, which allowed river traffic to pass. The newly secured counterweights have been lowered and the top eight feet were demolished to stabilize the bridge and accommodate the 6-inch thick layer of concrete that was poured on the pedestrian ramp inside the framework of the 1,600-foot bridge, totaling over 1,700 cubic yards of concrete. New crossbeams were also added to resemble the originals, as well as six solar navigational lights for river traffic and a series of electrical outlets to accommodate special events.


The MCI team has been busy completing work on a handful of projects in the public sector, including maintenance of the bulkhead and siphon of the Norfork Dam and Power Plant on Norfork Lake in Arkansas. The maintenance bulkhead – or spillway closure structure – consists of a steel monorail supported on existing dam piers carrying a structural steel bulkhead weighing approximately 138,000 pounds, which will be used to temporarily seal an individual tainter gate bay at Norfork Lake. “The monorail enables the bulkhead to be positioned in front of, seal and de-water each of the 12 tainter gate bays on the dam for maintenance, or to demonstrate gate operability,” explains Mobley.

The siphon system transfers water from Norfork Lake to the tail waters of the dam. The siphon – at a maximum flow rate of 185 cubic feet per second – sprays into the stilling basin at a powerhouse level. “The siphon is a multilevel intake, which consists of three intake valves with grilles, temperature sensors and dissolved oxygen sensors located on the lakeside of the dam,” Mobley continues. “The work included boring a hole 48-feet square and 45-feet long through the dam.”

Opportunity looms large for the MCI team, as the company recently found its stride by scaling back to a select handful of projects in order to focus on delivering only the highest quality work. The local economy shows signs of improvement, with over $3 billion in federal stimulus money being put to work across the state, and Mobley Contractors Inc. is advantageously positioned to tackle the high-risk jobs where few others would succeed.

Published on: March 15, 2013

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