Construction Today - October 2009 - (Page 78)
Civil | MOLE CONSTRUCTORS Looking Ahead MOLE SAYS IT WILL HAVE LARGE MARKET SHARE ONCE THE ECONOMY IMPROVES. BY LIBBY JOHN n 1974, three high-profile construction firms partnered up to form Mole Constructors to take advantage of the small- and mediumsized projects that were available in Ohio. “It was a completely different set-up,” Vice President Rod Shoulders says. “There was just too much overhead [in the larger companies] to be competitive in the smaller markets. “[The owners] knew they were missing a segment of work out there because of the overhead,” Shoulders explains. “So, they started the smaller firm to go out there and make the most of that market.” Mole was started by M&S Investors, an affiliate of S&M Construction that specialized in tunnel construction; L.W. Relyea Construction Co., who specialized in open cut excavation; and Wrightco Inc., a mechanical contractor. Back then, Mole aimed to do projects that were between $5 million and $15 million. After Mole broke off from the larger contractors in 1986, it grew its capabilities and today, performs projects that are up to $100 million, Shoulders says. The Beachwood, Ohio-based company – owned and managed by Victor J. Scaravilli, J.J. Scaravilli, and Shoulders – still focuses on an array of tunnel and tunnel-related projects, such as tunnel pump stations for wastewater and underground tunnel construction, Shoulders says. Mole has vast experience in utilizing tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) to excavate hard rock in tunnel diameters of 6.5 to 33 feet, and lengths of more than 30,000 feet. The company has used main-beam style TBMs for rocks up to 40,000 PSI, fully-shielded TBMs in lesser strength and lower-quality rock formations and earth pressure balance TBMs, digger shields, slurry microtunneling and pipe jacking technologies in soft ground conditions. It also is experienced in using controlled blasting to excavate tunnels and shafts, and using all support types including channel straps and rock bolts, liner plates, precast concrete segments, steel ribs and lagging boards as primary tunnel supports. It performs projects mainly in the South, Southwest and Midwest including Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia and Kansas. I »Mole Constructors specializes in a range of tunnel and tunnelrelated projects. Mole Constructors www.molecon.com • Headquarters: Beachwood, Ohio • Employees: 40 to 150 depending on workload • Service: Tunneling contractor “We’re bidding on three projects right now. We haven’t looked at three at one time since late 2006.” –Rod Shoulders, vice president Equipment Advances Technological advancements are the biggest change Mole has seen over the years, Shoulders says, particularly the advancement of information systems and electronics. “We have Web cameras on jobs, so when we have a problem in the tunnel, guys can podcast via the Web cam and we can – in the corporate office – play it up on a 52-inch monitor and help to diagnose the problem immediately,” he notes. “The rapid exchange of information [is the biggest advantage].” The company first utilized video feed in 2007 at a project in Atlanta. “The ability to remotely view a field issue has allowed greater and more effective collaboration, thus decreasing a problem’s impact on our work,” he says. Tunneling equipment also has improved significantly. “There have been some very nice advances in equipment technology and what really stands out is that we now have much more efficient tunnel boring machines,” he says. “For example, our TBMs now utilize variable frequency drive (VFD) motors that are more efficient, operate on less power and the TBM operators have greater control in how a machine operates. CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM OCTOBER 2009
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Construction Today - October 2009
Construction Today - October 2009
Regional Spotlight: Southwest
Ledcor Construction Hawaii LLC
C.H. GUERNSEY & Co.
First Gulf Development Corp.: Meadowvale Corporate Centre
Jacobsen Construction: Workers Compensation Fund Headquarters
Novak Construction Co.
Affordable Concepts Inc.
HBD Construction Inc.: Edwardsville Crossing
Ledcor Construction: Napa, Calif.
Mared Mechanical Contractors Corp.
Myers & Chapman Inc.
Summit Contractors Group Inc.
Wilcox Construction Inc.
Special Focus: Mergers & Acquisitions
Hensel Phelps: Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl. Airport Sky Train
Circle Construction LLC
Electrical Contractors Inc.
Everett, Wash., Department of Public Works
Imco General Construction Inc.: Arlington WWTP
New Prince Concrete Construction
R.N. Rouse & Co. Inc.
Stanek Constructors Inc.
Fort Lewis: New Barracks, Army Growth Complex and Support Battalion
Torcon Inc.: Brookhaven National Laboratory’s National Synchrotron Light Source II
Bovis Lend Lease: FBI Denver HQ
Stuart Olson: University of Lethbridge Markin Hall
Bird Construction Co.: Shearwater Helicopter Base
Carbon Constructors Inc.
Consultants & Builders Inc.
Emerick Construction Co.: Rock Creek Middle School
Broadmoor/Boh Brothers Construction Co.: U.S. Coast Guard Integrated Support Command
Cahill Contractors Inc.: The Oakland Museum of California Phase 1
Flintco Inc.: Germantown Women & Children’s Pavilion
Gamma Construction Co.
Kreizenbeck Constructors: BSU Student Union
Pizzagalli Construction Co.: FAHC Radiation Oncology
Robins & Morton: Lincoln Hospital
Steele & Freeman Inc.
Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp. (TNDC)
W.G. Yates & Sons Construction: Armed Forces Retirement Village
BBL Construction Services LLC: The Glen at Sugar Hill Apartments
Chelsea Investment Corp.
Affirmed Housing Group
Westland Construction Inc.: Bridges at Citifront
Product Showcase: Plumbing Equipment
Hunzinger Construction Co.: Johnson Controls Headquarters
B.L. Harbert International LLC: S.O.F. 5th Special Forces Battalion Operations Complex
Duke Construction: Monarch Beverage Co. Headquarters
Irish Construction Co.
TMU LLC (Triune)
Last Look: Consultants & Builders Inc.
Construction Today - October 2009