The Roberts Company: Setting Standards for Industrial Services
- Written by: The Roberts Company: Setting Standards for Industrial Services
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The Roberts Company (TRC) has been serving heavy and light industrial clients since 1977, operating out of Winterville, N.C. With a pickup truck and one welder, founder Jon Roberts nurtured his small mechanical business into a large-scale company that now regularly employs up to 800 people who provide extensive capabilities to meet all civil, structural, mechanical, piping, electrical and process engineering needs, while achieving the highest industry standards of safety and quality. D. Chris Bailey, P.E., current president of TRC, has been with the company for 15 years and was appointed CEO when Roberts left the company in 2008.
TRC’s services are categorized into four divisions: field services, plant services, fabrication services and engineering services. Often TRC’s divisions overlap on projects, especially in new construction. The company subcontracts occasionally for heavy excavation architectural work, and general contract labor like painting, carpentry or insulation, but TRC considers itself a one-stop shop.
“We do all the structural steel, piping, electrical, controllers,” Bailey explains. “Our work is on an EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] basis, so we use the engineering side of this business and we have fabrication capabilities. Ours is one of the most complete services out there.”
The field services division at TRC is a diversified heavy industrial contractor on its own with satellite offices in Raleigh, N.C., and Sumter, S.C. TRC is licensed for this type of work, ranging from setting concrete foundations to demolition to large-scale steel framing. Many of TRC’s projects are in heavy manufacturing sectors, such as pulp and paper, cement, steel and chemicals. The field division has developed an excellent reputation for its commitment to safety and efficiency, and its project management group project management group consistently provides planning, scheduling, procurement, and site management services to a full spectrum of industrial clients.
TRC’s plant division provides ongoing support for clients in a range of industries; performing maintenance and turnaround repair solutions for existing customers is only the beginning. The company routinely upgrades, overhauls and expands plants taking advantage of TRC’s team of specialists. TRC employs personnel trained and experienced in civil, structural, erection, precision alignment, mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumental crafts. Because of the company’s diverse skill set, TRC is able to establish lasting relationships with clients, allowing the team to focus not just on the project at hand, but also guarantee of dependability, responsiveness and results.
The heart of TRC’s fabrication division is a unique, 100,000-square foot facility in Winterville. The shop is outfitted with high-tech equipment and its size and cleanliness accommodates proper materials segregation. The division has over a quarter-century of experience in design, engineering and manufacturing of equipment for its industrial clients, and it offers unlimited steel plate fabrication services specializing in custom complex ASME code pressure vessels and heat exchangers.
TRC’s Professional Project Services (PPS) partnership provides the company’s engineering services. PPS works within every aspect of TRC and offers services from consulting to structural design to project management. The engineering division encompasses a delivery system that works in collaboration with clients from conception through commissioning. PPS staffs professionals with engineering backgrounds in a variety of disciplines. The team offers innovation, integrity, efficiency and above all, safety, and brings practical and innovative design solutions to capital projects of various sizes in a host of industrial industries, including chemical, specialty chemical, mining, power and light industrial pharmaceutical and manufacturing.
Flexibility and Innovation
TRC’s broad range of cost-effective, delivered on-time services has helped the company float through the recession, although Bailey admits the last few years have been tough. “The market got really tight for a while,” he explains. “There was a lot less work.”
Since the jobs weren’t coming to TRC, the company went out to find them. Bailey says, “We expanded our services and started reaching out further than our normal geographic availability.” Initially, TRC had some difficulties breaking into new markets and garnering labor in new localities, but the company’s perseverance would pay off.
The contractor currently has remote job sites scattered around the southeastern U.S. TRC has gotten into the groove of pulling together local labor and taking advantage of local suppliers. “We’ve seen a robust turn in the market,” reinforces Bailey. Many of the industries TRC services are back on the rise. The company is in the early stages of a project involving a pulp and paper plant, and has landed a contract upgrading a ship terminal facility.
“This year will be better than the last,” says Bailey, who has seen his industry bounce back in the last nine months and is looking forward to steady improvements in the economy. “We’re trying to keep the focus short-term for now. There isn’t a lot of long-range planning.” TRC’s approach to steady growth is what has kept the company stable. Slow-growth has been a healthy trend for the business.
As always, TRC rightfully relies on its good name for business. The company embraces six core values, in this order: safety, integrity, employee well being, quality, customer satisfaction and common sense. TRC has earned a reputation for honesty, discipline and hard work, and the company’s values are demonstrated in the way its team works and interacts with others. The company routinely achieves its goal of profitable growth by providing responsible leadership that is measured by customer satisfaction and increasing value. The Roberts Company builds more than buildings; it continues to build relationships.
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