by Ruth Scott
SBJ Contributing Writer
In response to the ongoing construction needs of the manufacturing-industrial segment of the market, Baumgartner General Contractors Inc. recently opened a new division, Industrial Services Company. Darin Wilken, vice president of operations, heads up the division.
"While ISC is under the Baumgartner General Contractors umbrella," he said, "we are treating it as a separate company." Baumgartner General Contractors, which was formed in 1980, is primarily involved in wastewater work and water treatment plants, including many government and municipal projects, according to Courtney Bennett, manager of business development.
"There is a strong need for a lot of industrial services, and we decided maybe we should expand," she said. "However, we didn't want to make our customers unhappy by spreading ourselves too thin."
As a result, the company began to hire very specialized people, such as millwrights, certified welders, foremen, carpenters, and ironworkers, Bennett said.
The new division opened in January, but Wilken said the idea had been under consideration for more than a year.
"We'd been working with companies such as Kraft and Tyson for several years," he said, "but not on a consistent basis."
The company moved ahead with the plan in January, he said, because Monty Wright became available at that time.
"Monty is our operations manager, handling the day-to-day operations out of our shop and with field people out in the plants."
Industrial Services Company offers a variety of specialized services, Bennett said, such as special coatings for concrete walls and floors, concrete repair, plant rearrangements, and stainless and mild steel fabrication.
"Most of the work is done for plants, and we are very strong in the food industry," she said. ISC clients include Tyson, Kraft and Dairy Farmers of America. "We have a program set up with Kraft as their on-call contractor," she added.
According to president Gary Baumgartner, Industrial Services Company was formed to reduce the cost of maintenance and plant rearrangement.
"We want to provide a resource to manufacturing and industrial clients that actually saves them money by having an on-call partner to deal with problems," he said.
Normally, when a plant has a problem that needs to be dealt with in a couple of days, Baumgartner said, it is almost impossible to get bids on short notice, and it is usually very expensive.
"It takes time and money to go through the bidding process," he said. "This program lets companies know the cost ahead of time, with predetermined, published rates."
In addition, the problem can be addressed within a couple of days, he said.
Baumgartner described the company as a "supermarket of construction services," with multiple skills and tools available. "We're trying to put a variety of capabilities under one roof," he said, "so we can help with anything in the plant that needs attention."
When the program is fully developed, a 24-hour on-call service for equipment problems and repairs will be available to customers, he said.
"Because we are able to work both in our own shop and in the field, we are able to build on-site, tailored to what the customer needs," Wilken said.
"We can provide a better service for our clients," Bennett added, "since we can do all of the work ourselves."
She said the company's experience in the food industry has helped, because "we are familiar with the special regulations involved."
Bennett's job consists of generating sales for ISC. "We're really trying to promote the company a lot right now," she said.
"The response from the local industry has been really fantastic," Wilken said. Industrial Services Company has nine full-time employees right now, he said, "but our workload is such that we will probably bring on another four or five people within the next two to three months."
According to Bennett, things are going very well, and sales are increasing. "We're growing steadily," she said.
"We've done numerous projects for Kraft Foods, and we're in the process of completing a large project for them in Kirksville," Wilken said.
For now, he said, the company plans to work mainly in southwest Missouri.
"It's kind of unlimited as to where it can go," he said, "but we want to expand at a pace we can control. Our main concern is taking care of the clients we have now."
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