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Electrical construction performance you can depend on


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G R E AT S O U T H W E S T E R N C O N S T R U C T I O N

How Great Southwestern Construction is training its teams to offer expertise in EPC project delivery across a range of substation, transmission line and distribution system projects

S

ince 1977, Great Southwestern (GSW) has successfully completed hundreds of substation, transmission line and distribu-

tion system projects throughout the United States. 04

During the 1980s company founder and Vietnam War veteran Robert Martinez established the company’s reputation on a series of power delivery projects, securing government contracts with the Western Area Power Authority and Bonneville Electric while performing a substantial role in the Central Arizona Irrigation Project. Expanding into utilities projects, GSW became an operating subsidiary of MYR Group in 2000. MYR Group provides management expertise, resources and financial backing that has allowed GSW to achieve new levels of performance and the ability to take on larger and more complex projects. This led to GSW’s involvement in MYR Group’s largest single project to date – the 235-mile, 345kV Cross Texas Transmission Line, part of Texas’s US$7bn Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ).


1977

Year founded

$1.6bn

MYR Group revenue in US dollars

600+

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Number of employees

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G R E AT S O U T H W E S T E R N C O N S T R U C T I O N

“We want our employees to feel as though they’re part of a large team, in a family where their interests are looked out for, that they’re valued” — Brandon Lark, President, Great Southwestern Construction

“The acquisition by MYR helped out a lot because it added the capital resources needed to grow, supporting the ability to buy equipment and bond projects with capital backing,” recalls President Brandon Lark. “Shared resources throughout the group gave us the opportunity to grow rapidly from being a project focused organisation that bounced around the country focusing on single projects all won through competitive hard bid, to an organisation that is now regionally

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focused with long-term MSA agreements in multiple different regions across the US.” Lark explains GSW is focusing on overall market saturation from a regional aspect and keeping crews local to an area. “In the past our crews would travel nationwide, so this helps with our recruitment and our employee development.”

RECRUITMENT & TRAINING Since 2005, GSW has focused on increasing the pace of its EPC (Engineer-Procure-Construct) delivery method. “We’ve prioritised developing project management skills and capabilities throughout our organisation,”


Great Southwestern Construction, Inc CLICK TO WATCH

|

4:10

07 confirms Lark. “We have an in-house

foundation of GSW and the organisa-

development programme to develop

tion’s expectations. Employees receive

solid project managers across the

industry training through MYR Group

board. This has paid dividends in our

going through the OSHA (ET&D) best

ability to communicate in a timely and

practice course to ensure safety is

effective way with our clients. We

paramount across all of GSW’s sites.

really like to have a very transparent

The continuous improvement of its

approach and, in order to do that, you

employees is important for GSW.

have to have a solid means and meth-

“Our employees have the opportunity

ods of communication through project

to take three paid Department of

management practices.”

Labor Bureau-accredited appren-

Training is a key part of the pro-

ticeship programmes,” adds Lark.

cess at GSW where new hires will go

GSW’s Transmission Lineman and

through a week-long orientation to give

Distribution Lineman Apprenticeship

them a grounding in the values and the

Programmes are provided through w w w.g s wc. u s


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“When we’re working towards turnkey delivery methods with our clients we want to have sub-contractors, vendors and staff that are working with us repeatedly rather than going out for the lowest bid on every project” — Brandon Lark, President, Great Southwestern Construction

“Despite the fact we’ve grown tremendously since the 1980s, we’ve tried to maintain a family feeling, we do that through our people first focus,” says Lark. “We want our employees to feel as though they’re part of a large team, in a family where their interests are looked out for, that they’re valued. We do that by ensuring everybody has a voice and understands it’s not only a right, but an expectation, that if they have questions they get the support

T&D Power Skills, and are geared to

they need. We’re committed to helping

instruct electric utility line workers

them improve their skill set to move

with up-to-date, safety-related work

forward and grow as employees from

practices and technical skills related

one day to the next.” Lark believes this

to the installation, maintenance and

approach has helped GSW develop its

removal of transmission and dis-

reputation as a solid organisation to

tribution systems. The company’s

work for. “The transmission distribu-

Substation Technician Certification

tion industry is a relatively small one,

Program is provided through the

word is spreading and people are

Northwest Lineman’s College

seeking us out.”

(NLC) Power Delivery Program, is most commonly used as the curriculum

TURNKEY SOLUTIONS

component of apprenticeship leading

GSW’s clients are increasingly looking

to journeyman certification, and is ideal

at outsourcing for the kind of special-

for adoption or endorsement by utility

ised expertise unavailable elsewhere

company associations and state-wide

or over-committed in-house. “We must

organisations. A third course focuses

be prepared to deliver turnkey solu-

on distribution alignment.

tions to answer their call,” pledges Lark. w w w.g s wc. u s

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G R E AT S O U T H W E S T E R N C O N S T R U C T I O N

Great Southwestern Construction: Apprenticeship Program CLICK TO WATCH

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3:10

10 Delivering these turnkey solutions often

that are working with us repeatedly

comes in the form of EPC agreements,

rather than going out for the lowest bid

prevalent on more complex projects.

on every project. The best way to show

EPC agreements allow owners to share

steady improvement over time with a cli-

more risk and lower overall costs by

ent is by having a complete team that’s

transferring a project’s engineering

all in and understands their key drivers.”

design, procurement of equipment and

GSW’s in-house construction capa-

materials, and construction activities to

bilities secure the turnkey approach,

a single contractor.

offering the opportunity for early stage

To achieve this, Lark explains that

constructability analysis and the chance

GSW takes an approach of partner-

to optimise value and enhance efficiency

ships across the board. “When we’re

to deliver the best overall design. By

working towards turnkey delivery

directly managing all stakeholders GSW

methods with our clients we want to

enhances communication to minimise

have subcontractors, vendors and staff

impact on project schedules.


E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Brandon Lark From Superintendent then Project Manager to Vice President and now President, Brandon Lark’s breadth of experience at Great Southwestern has given him a raft of hands on expertise engaging with all facets of the organisation from the ground up. “It’s given me an invaluable perspective on being able to understand the challenges and the lifestyle that our folks lead out in the field,” confirms Lark. “I understand the problems they face day in and day out, and I’m always keen to get their input on how we can improve. Our senior leadership team are here to help ensure they have what they need to succeed every day they go to work.” “My hope is that the young folks out there considering their careers and looking into the trades can see from my career path that you don’t necessarily have to jump into a four-year degree and go down that path right off the board. Actually, you really can move into a trade and take that route and it’s by no means closing a door to the future opportunities that you thought maybe your college degree would offer you; there are other ways of doing that and still achieving the highest level of success within an organisation.”

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SUPPORTING SUSTAINABILITY As an industry-leading provider of electrical construction services, GSW delivers optimal value while ensuring sustainability that depends on its ability to prioritise economic, social, cultural, ethical and environmental considerations generated throughout day-to-day operations. “When we look at how Great Southwestern promotes sustainability and energy efficiency, it’s through supporting renewable energy projects,”

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13 confirms Lark. “We seek out and

of a 34.5kV underground collection

partner with renewable energy devel-

system and a new 138kV substation

opers to help bring solar and wind

including two 138kV breakers, eight

energy projects to market. We come

34.5KV breakers, all related steel, bus,

into play to get their green energy

conduits, grounding, foundations, cable

projects connected to the grid. We’ll

trench, control building and site work.

work on the high voltage side, and

“We’re seeing a huge drive on the

the interconnection with the host util-

energy delivery front,” says Lark,

ity.” Driven by client expectations and

highlighting the chance for GSW to

specifications, GSW has constructed

capitalise on its expertise. “There’s a

substations, transmission lines and

big push to move away from coal and

collector systems for solar and wind

towards more renewable, sustainable

farms throughout the US. The Magic

energy. With that, there’s a lot of differ-

Valley wind farm in Texas (completed in

ent complexities that come into it. One

2013) was an EPC project consisting of

of the areas we really want to focus

the construction of 258,000 circuit feet

on is that these renewable projects w w w.g s wc. u s


G R E AT S O U T H W E S T E R N C O N S T R U C T I O N

Great Southwestern Strengths Cohesive Crews that Remain Together from Project to Project A crew works best together only when given the opportunity and time to do so. This continuity results in better performance, greater efficiency and increased safety – all factors that contribute to the success of your project.

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A Project-Based Focus on Every Job Our leadership and project management teams are skilled in all aspects of project controls and reporting systems required to efficiently and successfully execute projects on-time and on-budget. We have extensive experience in design-build and Engineer-Procure-Construct (EPC) methods of project delivery, and can also provide an array of pre-construction services. Our Attract, Train, Retain & Grow Philosophy

We attract and retain good people because we offer attractive recruitment packages and provide a firm foundation for professional growth within the organisation. Industry-Leading Apprenticeship, Training, Orientation and Safety Programs Our apprenticeship programs are accredited by the Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship. Great Southwestern dedicates significant time and effort to ensure our training, orientation and safety programs provide employees with the latest, most comprehensive and accurate information possible. Extensive Resources As part of MYR Group, Great Southwestern possesses the technical, financial and managerial resources to install multiple projects of virtually any size and type.


generally drive much tighter timeframes and therefore a higher degree of need for solid project management. We’ve got to be much more flexible, be able to think out of the box and accelerate projects to a pace that are outside of normal utility delivery. We really see an opportunity to be the bridge between the developer and the interconnecting utilities to help make that happen.”

GROWTH MINDSET “We’ve experienced steady and sustainable growth,” says Lark proudly. “Through that growth, we’ve been able to offer opportunities for our employees to grow too and improve their positions within the organisation. We’re in a growth mindset, which allows our teams to set high goals and ultimately go and achieve them.” Lark believes that this mindset, coupled with GSW’s commitment to safety and the value that individual employees can bring, has contributed to the company taking an industry-leading role to become best in class. “We’ve got a solid team of very dedicated leaders across the organisation and to me that’s a huge success.” w w w.g s wc. u s

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G R E AT S O U T H W E S T E R N C O N S T R U C T I O N

“We seek out and partner with renewable energy developers to help bring solar and wind energy projects to market. We come into play to get their green energy projects connected to the grid” — Brandon Lark, President, Great Southwestern Construction

2020 VISION “Projects like the Cross Texas 16

Transmission Line are huge undertakings and show the industry what we’re capable of,” says Lark. “When you look at where we’re at today, we’re excited about utilising those capabilities to develop long-term relationships with the likes of Oncor Electrics in Texas. “We’re one of their primary contractors and we have several hundred employees on their system supporting them day in and day out. It’s alliances like these that we’re looking forward to forging across the US.” Looking to the future, Lark believes the EPC model is going to be crucial in bridging the gap to ensure deliverable timeframes are met across a range of


projects, especially renewable energy. “This not only helps from a developer perspective, so they’re successful in making sure that the timelines are met; but also when dealing with the interconnecting utility and ensuring all the studies and standards of construction are also met.” “We’re reaching a point where a lot of utilities don’t have the same in-house capabilities that they used to have, due to recruitment issues and staff retiring. They’re looking at the EPC model as a method of augmenting their project delivery for their own capital projects. That’s the other area where we’re looking to fill the needs across the board, and a lot of that is ensuring that we’re bringing on that expertise in-house to meet client expectations. We’re aiming to balance the needs of both sides of the fence and I think we are in a very good position to be able to do that moving forward.”

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Great Southwestern Construction 1100 Topeka Way Castle Rock, Colorado 80109 USA T 001 303 688 5816 www.gswc.us

Profile for Business Chief USA

Great Southwestern Construction – March 2020  

Great Southwestern Construction – March 2020  

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