Selge Construction Co. Inc.: Making a Big Mark with a Small-town Approach
- Written by: Selge Construction Co. Inc.: Making a Big Mark with a Small-town Approach
- Produced by: Selge Construction Co. Inc.: Making a Big Mark with a Small-town Approach
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Selge Construction Co. Inc. (SCC) has been a key player for more than half a century in the development of utilities and roadways across Michigan and Indiana. As one of the oldest utility contractors in the area, the multifaceted Niles, Mich.-based company has earned a reputation for providing comprehensive services on large-scale sites with the friendly small-town attitude that comes from a family-owned and -operated company.
“I bought this company in 1993 from my father, who started it in 1961, but I have been around projects since I was 10 years old. I grew up in this business, and was blessed by good teachers and mentors of my own,” says Marv Selge Jr., president of SCC. Today, SCC continues to deliver the same comprehensive earthmoving, site work and infrastructure services it has for five decades.
“We are a company that handles everything from the roadway down,” explains Selge. “We do directional drilling, trenchless technology, concrete roadway paving, sanitary sewers, water distribution systems and storm sewer systems for the Department of Transportation and other municipal clients. Basically, we build underground infrastructure projects.”
Some companies will provide you with complex metrics and multi-part performance indicators as explanation of their success. Selge, however, boils it down to one simple reason why SCC has been resilient through several trying economic times.
“Our people are what have made us successful,” asserts Selge. “We focus on effective leadership in the office and the field. It’s a part of our mission statement that ‘We respect and appreciate our mentors, for their wisdom and knowledge they have passed on to us. We also accept the traditional responsibility to teaching and sharing our knowledge with others who are eager to learn.’ Being eager to learn is an important part of that statement, because it’s key to strengthening this company. We do not only look for high-quality people to work here; we also encourage leadership and character in our employees, who help to create a culturally rich organization. We are blessed to have terrific employees who genuinely care about each other.”
Over the past 50 years SCC has put its employees second to only safety concerns, which is merely like putting them second to their own wellbeing, and the company ensures employees comply with OSHA regulations. “We have a full-time safety and resource manager out on projects encouraging our people to work smart and work safe,” explains Selge. “He is an enthusiastic person that is willing to help people at or away from work.”
I Think I Can, I Think I Can …
Having earned a reputation for taking on some of the most complicated projects with a careful, can-do attitude, SCC has been able to maintain a steady workload despite an intensely competitive bid market. “In our markets, we do still have to win projects by being the lowest bid, and the bid market these days is incredibly competitive,” acknowledges Selge. “It’s a historically challenging time, but we know that if we are patient, we will sustain. We also have a long history of this type of work.. We were one of the first in the area to directional drill a sanitary sewer 1,200 LF below a state highway.”
While the firm has extensive experience with involved techniques, and holds an extensive portfolio of comprehensively completed projects, Selge is adamant that no one service makes up the majority of the company’s scope of services. SCC maintains the latest technologies and training necessary to meet any of the needs of water and sewer utility owners and operators, as well as rural homeowners and housing developers needing improvements in both their underground infrastructure and roadwork.
“Directional drilling has been an addition for us, but we’re not only a directional drilling specialty contractor,” affirms Selge. “We are, by and large, more grounded as a company in the open cut challenging projects. Just last year, for example, we completed infrastructure work in Elkhart and Mishawaka, Ind., where we replaced the old sanitary sewers and separated storm and sanitary sewer lines. The project also involved our completely reconstructing the street, the roads, the curbing, everything … so our work goes way beyond just directional drilling.”
Building on Hard Work, High Standards
SCC can cite many showcase projects throughout its history, and this year the company has again lined up a number of impressive, important projects that will have positive impacts on the local community.
“We’ve been working on a stretch of State Road 331 in Indiana that’s about two miles of earthmoving, storm sewer, concrete and finish work,” says Selge. “We’ve also been building a sanitary sewer collection system around Lake Koontz in Walkerton, Ind., that is a low-pressure less trenchless project that also involves the installation of grinder pump units.”
Selge’s company has been one of the most respected utility contractors in the southwest Michigan-South Bend, Ind. Area for 50 years now, but he has no plans to slow down now that the company has celebrated its golden anniversary. Selge’s primary objective has been to prepare the company for future generations, and he feels confident that the organization has evolved nicely in this respect.
“It is not a concern. If I passed on tomorrow I know this amazing group of employees would take the company and do wonderful things with it … I’ve made it a priority to enable and position others to lead who are better equipped than me,” explains Selge. “I feel we will be able to sustain ourselves in these economic conditions well, but it is part of our belief as a company to be prepared for the future.”
Selge Construction Co. Inc. has been personably paving the way, literally, for half a century, and will continue to keep things flowing in its region’s infrastructure for many years more.
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