RJS Construction Group LLC
- Written by: Ivy Carter
- Produced by: Joe Atwood
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
RJS Construction Group LLC (RJS) is a full-service commercial and heavy-highway contractor based in Superior, Wis. RJS opened its doors in 1956 and has grown into a complete construction operation serving much of the upper Midwest since. In April 2013 RJS made U.S. construction history by purchasing John Deere’s first two hybrid-fuel end loaders. The machines use 25 percent less fuel, reflecting a commitment by RJS to reduce customer costs and respect the environment.
Pete Weidman, president of RJS, brings a long track record of success to the business; however, he is the first to acknowledge that he is the new kid on the block. “I’ve been here a year,” Weidman says. “Many of our employees have been with this company for decades.”
According to Weidman, only 13 employees technically make up the company’s combined heavy-highway and commercial divisions, which serve lucrative niches in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. “But what makes us unique is we’re a signatory to two unions,” says Weidman. “All of our operators and all of our foremen are union employees. We don’t include those numbers on our salaried staff, but if we did, each division would number between 80 and 100.”
Extensive Construction Services
RJS offers a wide range of building services between the two construction divisions. “On the commercial side, the company mainly seeks small- to medium-sized projects, including commercial buildings and offices,” Weidman says. “Our projects include restaurants, brew pubs and professional offices.”
The company’s commercial division had great success recently building Canal Park Brewing in Duluth, Minn. “We look for additional construction projects in the growing micro-brewery and brew pub sector, where we’ve developed expertise,” Weidman details.
For commercial work, RJS approaches each project with focus and attention to detail. The team offers services such as excavating, trucking and complete site work to prepare a site for building. According to Weidman, RJS installs storm, sewer and water utilities before moving onto footings, foundations and slabs. Rough and finished carpentry add supporting components and attractive interior spaces to buildings. Depending on project specifications, clients can choose RJS for design-build, bid-build and construction management contracts.
Heavy-highway Division Work
The company’s heavy-highway division seeks to bid on projects for the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as both states’ departments of transportation. “We can mobilize and get the work done,” Weidman explains. “We own all of the equipment, all of the big toys, ourselves. We deliver them, get there, start them up and get the job done. There’s no rental. We own the equipment. We buy it. No other contractor has a newer or more operational fleet. We have a great relationship with John Deere through our local dealer, Nortrax. They take good care of us.”
Weidman is quick to point out that just as important, of course, is having a skilled team that is able to work expertly with the equipment. Luckily for Weidman, RJS has just that. “We have loyal operators, guys we have employed and don’t have to go looking for,” he explains. “They know how to do the work, and they know how to do the work safely. Many of them have worked with the same teams of people for five to seven years. Our people have worked side by side in safety-conscious conditions. They are efficient, and they are safe. That’s a huge selling point.”
With established connections and a reputation for quality work, RJS has become a leading regional contractor in transportation and heavy industrial construction projects. The team recently added the first-of-its-kind, high-speed bulldozer to its fleet. The newly developed John Deere 764 HSD completes grades and operates at up to twice the speed of traditional bulldozers. Combined with GPS machine control, RJS can offer unmatched precision and speed to heavy construction operations, improving outcomes for customers.
The company’s unique capabilities allow RJS to complete complicated jobs quickly and efficiently. During summer 2012, the team responded to the call for help when heavy rains devastated and flooded parts of northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin.
“We performed flood recovery work in our hometown region in and around Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wis.,” Weidman says. “There was a particular emphasis on rebuilding the town of Thomson, Minn., and nearby Jay Cooke State Park.”
RJS will continue to offer competitive services building highways, restaurants, offices and more, following the company’s guiding principle of integrity. Weidman and his team gauge success on performance and customer satisfaction. “Especially on the final stretch,” he explains, “We want to make sure we’re maintaining initiative and finishing strong for our customers and our company.”
Despite the recent recession, RJS has faced few obstacles to business growth. “One of our concerns has been the changing insurance expectations in this industry,” Weidman explains. “These changes have placed more of the responsibility for covering risk associated with projects on contractors, especially in design-build environments.”
The team has responded, enhancing an already deep and established safety program. Weidman and his team ensure that every project has a tailored safety plan. Additionally, business offers safety education and training to all workers, as well as accurate, efficient reporting of safety practices to ensure RJS is operating in the safest manner.
“In the end, it’s about getting the job done for our customers,” Weidman says. “That’s a good day for us, when we know we have helped our customers accomplish their goals.”
RJS has plans to grow and develop, filling a range of construction needs in the region. The team’s relatively small size offers a personalized client experience, while longstanding relationships with union members ensure high levels of quality control and performance. RJS Construction Group LLC continues to engage in a strong network, offering continually diversified services and committed support to partners and clients alike.
For more information about RJS Construction Group LLC, please visit: http://www.rjscompanies.com.
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