Case Studies

PPMI Construction Company

Making Sense of the Mechanical Industry

PPMI Construction Company (PPMI) was originally incorporated in 1986 as Precision Piping and Mechanical Inc., a union pipe trades and mechanical contractor. The company has since grown from providing a wide variety of mechanical contracting services to additionally offering electrical contracting and general construction services to serve automotive, heavy industrial, utility and institutional sectors across eight states.

“We started out focused primarily on serving power plants. As time went on and our customer base grew we expanded our operations, but we are still primarily an industrial contractor,” explains Scott Jones, president of PPMI. “Not only do we perform new construction, we also handle refurbishment and retrofits of existing facilities.”

Today, the company conducts its operations within a 150-mile radius of each of its three offices: the corporate office in Evansville, Ind., plus branches in Louisville, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn. Each location houses project managers, estimators, construction managers, and fabrication facilities. To staff its locations PPMI maintains solid working relationships with over 50 skilled trade unions, enabling the company to provide quality workmanship for projects and clients of all sizes in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

“We self-perform about 75 to 80 percent of all the work, which is very important to us as a company and why we have been able to build the client relationships we have. We don’t perform some of the specialty work, like sheet metal and insulation for instance, but we maintain a really loyal subcontractor base to work with, who will travel across the country to work with us,” asserts Jones.

Health and Safety

PPMI employs a wide variety of skilled trades, including pipefitters, plumbers, electricians, boilermakers, millwrights, ironworkers, laborers, operators, cement finishers and carpenters. The wide variety of services offered is complemented by a corporate culture that places a high value on employee wellbeing. “Safety is absolutely critical for us,” proclaims Jones. “We have an excellent safety culture here, which gets us to a place that others simply can’t go.”

Putting safety as a top priority has resulted in an industry-leading EMR. The company has been recognized by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) for maintaining accident rates of more than 25-percent below the national average, making PPMI a popular choice for some of the largest Fortune 500 companies in America.

Having a foundation built upon a wide range of large-scale repeat and referral clients assures that PPMI stays active, shifting expertly between clients as different sectors feel the recent economic downturn. PPMI did experience some layoffs, but Jones sees a positive transition taking place. “Companies like Toyota did take a hit recently, so we did go down to 200 employees from about 350 at our peak, but the good news is that we have been lucky enough to get some more work at the moment so we are hiring again, which is very good news,” he explains.

Firing Up the Boilers

Currently, the firm is getting back to business, achieving what it does best: delivering a wide array of services, including site preparation and utilities installation; concrete foundations, superstructures and flatwork; deep excavations and trenching; water and sewer main installations; steel fabrication and erection; pre-engineered buildings; specialty and heavy rigging; demolition; carpentry and masonry. The ability to oversee multi-faceted projects means PPMI’s experienced management, supervisory and field personnel can be found on every substantial site.

“About two years ago we finished a brand new plant for Honda in Greensburg, Ind., which was one of the larger projects we have had,” says Jones. The new plant totaled over $550 million to complete and sprawls across 1,700 acres, featuring more than 1 million square feet with welding, stamping, painting, injection molding and assembly facilities onsite. In total, PPMI performed more than $11 million of work, including all drain piping, utility piping, and sludge system and wastewater treatment piping work.

One of PPMI’s crowning jewels, however, has been its work at the Toyota manufacturing plant in Princeton, Ind. “We established a work site office there when the plant was under construction in 1997 and that office is still there.  We have had a lot of work at the plant and are very fortunate to have Toyota as a long-term customer.”

PPMI has overseen both construction and maintenance in almost every department at the plant, which produces all Sequoia, Highlander and Sienna vehicles. Some of the major jobs included work for the paint circulation systems, welding equipment installations, floor conveyor systems installations, and E-Coat and Phosphate installations.

In Pursuit of Stability

Though the firm takes pride in the complexity of projects it has proven capable of completing, PPMI has no plans to rest on its laurels anytime soon. “We’re in the process of building a large manufacturing plant in Tennessee right now, which is probably one of the largest work sites in the country. At this time it has about 1,500 construction workers, but it could climb to 3,000 or 4,000 pretty quickly,” states Jones. “We’re also getting started on a new $6 million water treatment plant in Lawrenceville, Ill., where we’ll be performing 100 percent of the project. In the Tennessee market we see a lot of opportunity for growth as the GM Saturn plant is being refurbished for about $1 billion, which is encouraging.”

Even with such projects on the immediate roster, PPMI has been mindful of the need to streamline operations, though not at the detriment of quality. “We’re very cautiously optimistic because we went through the past two years really whittling away, taking out expensive overhead and making everything more efficient,” says Jones. “We are well positioned for profitability moving forward.

“One market segment currently difficult to predict is the power industry,” continues Jones. “It is very unclear as to which direction the industry will move. There are billions of dollars in maintenance and pollution control work, but until Washington gives them a more definite direction they will continue to hold off performing any work.”

In 2011 PPMI celebrated its 25th anniversary, a testament to its continuing commitment to full-service mechanical contracting. Holding the means to assure future projects of all sorts are feasible, PPMI Construction Company will continue to reinforce relationships with both long-standing and new clients alike.

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Spring 2018



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