Case Studies

Mountaineer Contractors Inc.

Heavy highway construction in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky

Mountaineer Contractors Inc. is part of MCI Group (MCI), a four-business construction group based in Kingwood, West Virginia. Edward Boyle founded the family of companies in 1946 when he established Sandy Creek Fuel Company, which focused on serving the energy industry with a single coalmine.

Over the years, the Boyle family has carried on the tradition of quality and safety. Today, in 2015, MCI includes four separate subsidiary companies: Mountaineer Contractors, Kittanning Contractors, Everson Resources and Preston Contractors.

John Boyle, Edward’s great grandson, as well as current president and CEO of Mountaineer Contractors, works with a team of 350 qualified construction professionals, administrators and managers. Together, the crew delivers complex solutions for highway departments, energy companies, institutions and other public and private sector clients alike.

“We do a lot of things here,” John explains. “I would classify Mountaineer Contractors as primarily a heavy highway contractor. We work predominantly in West Virginia. Our projects include intermodal facilities, highway construction, infrastructure projects, water and sewer and asphalt paving. One of our largest customers is the West Virginia Department of Highways, but we have also worked for the USDA, the FBI, the FAA, various landfills, multiple universities and hospitals, as well as coal and gas companies.”

Mountaineer Contractors

A diverse portfolio

Among Mountaineer Contractors’ recent projects, one of the most interesting, according to John, has been his crew’s work on the Pritchard Intermodal facility. “This is located just south of Huntington, West Virginia, right near the Kentucky border,” he recounts. “The project is a partnership between the West Virginia Port Authority, the West Virginia Department of Highways and Norfolk Southern. The facility is part of Norfolk Southern’s Heartland Corridor rail upgrade between Virginia Beach and Chicago.”

John goes on to explain that the rail company spent over $1 billion upgrading the rail line to accommodate double-stacked containers. “We are working on one of the last phases, building the rail to truck terminal facility,” he continues. “It’s a $30 million project and our scope includes 3 miles of rail, roller compacted concrete, over 1.3 million cubic yards of excavation, and a bridge. This is a very large project in area – at around 40 acres. We are finishing up year two of the three-year project.”

Another unique project has been the $10 million Tucker County Landfill in West Virginia. “This one was really interesting because it was a 25 acre cell we were contracted to construct with yardage of excavation in excess of 2 million yards,” John says. “As part of the contract, the owner and engineering firm wanted us to over-excavate the entire cell, extract metallurgical grade coal under the finished elevation, then put the cell back with 3 to 1 side slopes. They planned to cover the cost of construction with the sale of the coal.”

Another favorite for John’s has been the company’s Tunnel Ridge project located in the northern panhandle of West Virginia, sandwiched between Ohio and Pennsylvania. “We were contracted by Alliance Resources to help with the initial infrastructure in the construction of a coal mine that was gong in,” John elaborates. “Coal mines don’t go in often, because the initial startup can reach in excess of $300 million. This project had a myriad of subcomponents, such as refuse area development, prep plant site work, vertical shaft and slope to access the block of coal. Lengthwise, the project covers the entire width of that panhandle. This was probably my favorite, because it encompassed every aspect of construction you could think of.”

Holding steady

Mountaineer Contractors’ diversity in capabilities has helped keep the large business steady, even throughout the recent economic downturn. While many contractors faced insurmountable challenges between 2008 and 2012, John and his team were able to redistribute resources and balance expenses to make it work.

“For one thing, in the Appalachian region, we didn’t have the bubble other areas had,” he details. “We also felt the downturn later, around 2010, because of the backlog we had. Fortunately, we are in other sectors of work that we could focus on. That negated us from experiencing too much of a downturn.”

However, there are always ups and downs no matter where a company is located. “In our region, we have coal and that bubble burst in 2010 when we started feeling it,” he elaborates. “The public sector experienced it in 2009. With oil and gas, specifically the Marcellus Shale Basin and Utica Basin in Ohio, we put more of a focus on that segment of our market in the last couple of years and that has helped. Also, garbage is recession-proof and certain places we work in Kentucky and along the Ohio border have seen no slowdown for us.”

While careful management of resources has been key to the company’s continued success, John says that his company’s biggest asset is its people. “It’s all about people here,” he explains. “We don’t have a factory, we don’t have a quarry. We build things. We take pride in having multi-generational families within our companies. The dedication we see from the employees that have been here long-term and also the new people we bring on as we grow is unparalleled by our competitors.”

With new opportunities opening up across a number of markets, the Mountaineer Contractors Inc. team is prepared for continued long-term growth over the coming years.

Published on: July 6, 2015

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