Case Studies

Signature Industrial Services LLC

Relationship-based business hits the ground running

After just four fast years, Claude Wilhelm and his partners at Signature Industrial Services LLC (SIS) have quickly made a name for the Texas-based industrial turnaround contractor. “We established SIS Oct. 22, 2010,” reveals Wilhelm, senior vice president and general manager of SIS. “Our leadership team includes: Jeff Ogden, president; Wayne Townsend, operations manager; Joe Thibodeaux, turnaround manager; Elton Ogden, QA/QC manager; and our newest partner, Jeff Holmes.”

Past connections carry through

Starting a company from scratch is no small task, but starting a company in the midst of a post-recession economic climate is another ballgame. “Starting out wasn’t easy, especially growing a customer base in this economy,” admits Wilhelm.

With a combined experience of more than 120 years, the SIS leadership team drew on previous clients and relationships in order to hit the ground running, and the company’s profits have doubled every year since. “Every partner has at least 20 years of industry-related experience, so we were able to use longstanding connections to get things going,” shares Wilhelm.

Such connections include the likes of industry giants and big names in the oil and gas and petro-chemical sectors; ExxonMobil, Valero, Sunoco, Delek and Huntsman, just to name a few. This high-profile client list has given SIS the opportunity to work on landmark developments from the Keystone Pipeline to major refinery projects.

Headquartered in Beaumont, Texas, SIS has expanded in its infancy to locations in Highlands, Texas, as well as Sulphur, La. “We have three locations, but we work all over the U.S., employing anywhere from 600 to 650 non-union contractors, depending on the workload,” details Wilhelm. “We have recently added a new 17,000-square-foot fabrication shop to our Beaumont facility to further increase our in-house abilities.”

Specialty skill

As a general mechanical contractor with an industrial foothold, SIS self-performs a full scope of mechanical services. “We do everything mechanical; capital maintenance projects to complete turnaround and we don’t throw just anyone on a job,” assures Wilhelm. “We put a lot of detail and effort into every crew. Our partners have built a database of certified workers over the years and we frequently grade and hand-pick crews for specific jobs.”

Special skills are needed when operating in environments in the oil and petro-chemical fields, and Wilhelm says SIS understands people are the company’s greatest asset. “We know that success can only be realized through our employees, which is why we strive to hire the best people in our industry and provide them with the training they need,” he shares.

If it’s mechanical, make it SIS

The company’s teams of skilled, non-union tradespeople self-perform all things mechanical in-house, from towers and vessels to bundle extraction, fabrication, piping and welding, as well as pipeline repair, emergency and routine maintenance. “We specialize in full-service turnaround,” details Wilhelm.

In any industry, time is money, but that holds even more true when dealing with multimillion dollar companies in the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors, as SIS does. “We deliver scheduled turnarounds that get production up and running faster with less downtime,” says Wilhelm.

SIS kicked off 2014 with a scheduled turnaround for Suncor in Denver and the company has also had a hand in building receiver headers for Sunoco’s Keystone Pipeline connection. “We have performed maintenance for ExxonMobil’s heat exchangers and also built a new acid regeneration facility for ChemTrade Logistics,” details Wilhelm.

SIS often answers the call for highly specialized industrial components, while competitors shy away from such challenging work. “Air Liquide, a company that supplies industrial gases and services to various industries, such as medical, chemical and electronic manufacturers, needed a specialized 30-inch header pipe,” shares Wilhelm. “At first, they couldn’t find anyone to build it, about 11 shops turned it down and were scared to touch it, but with our in-house fabrication shop, we built it and installed it all on our own.”

According to Wilhelm, there’s plenty more of this kind of work coming down the pipeline for SIS. “We have demoed and erected three new towers for Huntsman and we’re anticipating another expansion project with them,” he reveals. “There are also more capital expansions in the works with ExxonMobil and Formosa, which will all be supported by the recent addition of our Beaumont fabrication shop.”

There’s no doubt, the last four years have flown by for SIS as the company establishes a first-choice standing with industry giants and double-digit growth. However, Wilhelm says the company wouldn’t be where it is now without relationships. “Drawing on past connections helped us establish and it’s how we’ll continue to grow,” he assures.

With more industrial projects on the horizon, Signature Industrial Services LLC continues to make a name through relationship-based business.

Published on: March 24, 2015

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