Case Studies

MP Nexlevel LLC: Connecting America Line by Line

  • Written by: MP Nexlevel LLC: Connecting America Line by Line
  • Produced by: MP Nexlevel LLC: Connecting America Line by Line
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, and the new device immediately caught on in popularity. The United States, however, was a much larger nation geographically than the smaller countries from which most of the century-old nation’s immigrants had arrived. For this reason it took AT&T another 16 years to connect Chicago to New York City via phone. The line could only handle one caller at a time, and the cost of a call was a staggering $9 a minute. Cities along the East Coast weren’t connected to the West until 1915, almost 35 years after Graham’s invention.

Technology, especially with the increasing proliferation of broadband Internet, now allows a much simpler, substantially more expedient connection to be made between rural communities in the nation’s interior. It should be noted, however, lines and utilities must still be dug or strung overhead manually to connect all of the towns and cities. MP Nexlevel LLC (MP) – owned by family members Lawrence, Tim and Rob Pribyl – is a nationally recognized full-service utility contractor based in Maple Lake, Minn., that is helping to connect those communities.

The company had a humble start when brothers Larry and Tim founded it in 1973. MP provided excavation services around Minnesota with its one backhoe and a dump truck. The brothers soon developed their company’s reputation as a provider of quality work that is completed on time and on budget, which eventually led to contracts with national-level telephone companies.

Steady Expansion into the Industry

MP continued to expand its utility construction services, and the brothers made the logical expansion into extended contracts, which grew the company into a multimillion-dollar operation. In 1999 the brothers sold their company, but five years later decided to repurchase the company. Two years later they shared partial ownership with a new partner: Rob, Tim’s son. The trio has grown MP to be a major player in the utility construction industry, and the company has satellite offices throughout the Midwest to support its operations in 32 states and counting.

Rob, who worked his way up through the ranks to the current position of vice president, estimates that the company currently employs over 700 personnel and has grossed around $140 million in 2011.

MP has been providing expertise in planning, installation and maintenance of aerial and underground infrastructure work for over three decades, and each year the company places well over 3,500 miles of fiber optic cable, installs thousands of services entrances on FFTH projects and undertakes around 100 major projects – from new construction to emergency restoration. The company’s experienced project managers, foremen, journeymen, linemen and cable installers have the comprehensive construction qualifications, certifications, technical training and experience to handle directional boring, splicing, bridge attachments and more.

The company offers its clients the full range of utility construction services in multiple sectors, including electrical distribution, tower wiring, gas line distribution, call-tower construction and network building, fiber optic, telephone and rural utility service (RUS) contracts.

MP stays ahead of its competition by keeping abreast of technological advances in the industry. For example, the company recently completed construction of a wind farm in Jackson County, Minn. The 205.5-megawatt (MW) facility – Lakefield Wind Project – was completed for enXco, an EDF Energies Nouvelles company, to deliver energy to Indianapolis Power & Lamp.

The project consists of 137 GE 1.5 MW turbines with the capacity to generate renewable energy for more than 68,000 homes. Rob reveals that the company completed the project in a relatively quick time frame, with construction taking place from September 2010 to September 2011, including just a four-month hiatus during the winter months.

Communications Project from Duluth to St. Paul

Rob admits that projects were scarce during the recent economic slowdown, but MP has remained active, due in part to the stimulus package passed by the Obama administration. For example, MP completed a communications project for a national client connecting the cities of Duluth and St. Paul, Minn.

“The overall goal of the project was to connect Duluth to the Twin Cities, but it also was to provide high-speed broadband access to the rural towns located between the two cities,” adds Rob. “We faced a minor challenge in Duluth, because that area is very rocky and there was a lot of rock boring involved. Still, we accomplished what we set out to do.”

The MP staff is capable of performing in unusual and challenging circumstances because the company emphasizes the importance of ongoing training, and nurtures an environment that allows it to retain excellent employees. Rob asserts that another one of the reasons for the company’s success has been its reluctance to select subs on bids alone.

“We won’t work with anyone until we’re sure of the quality of their work and their commitment to maintaining a safe work site,” he emphasizes. “We might save a few dollars here and there, but in the long run it would cost us more than we would have saved.”

MP is deeply committed, morally and economically, to ensuring operations within the company’s control are conducted in a safe and efficient manner. Safety is a core element of all planning and construction phases, and the company’s safety program pays special attention to OSHA requirements. Training is ongoing, from hire through to each new work are and job function. Safety is reinforced by a thorough understanding of all federal, state and local regulation, assisted through the company’s membership in over 40 trade associations.

The transfer of electricity, data and telecommunications has been at the core of progress in the United States, and the high-quality customer satisfaction-minded work performed by companies such as MP Nexlevel LLC assures the future will hold many more positive developments for company and country alike.

Published on: March 9, 2013

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