24 August2010

UIG-Ten Years Ago to Now…What a Decade!

In July of 2000, United Contractors was in its twenty-second year in business and Triplett-King and Associates was barely three years old. At that time they were the only two "United" companies. Lewis Ryan and John Barrett, founding members of United, had recently sold their stock to Jim Triplett. Also, in July of 2000, I left Rea Construction Company and joined United Contractors. Jim Triplett and I shared a desire to start a road building and construction-management company that would compliment the bridge building talents of United, and in the process help United be more of a General Contractor. The start of the road division was delayed by the acquisition of the Virginia Route 288 Project in Richmond that was acquired in late 2000. The next year however, 2001, U.S. Constructors, Inc. was formed and we were on our way. In 2001, Ken Fitzgerald left his accounting practice to become the Chief Financial Officer for United, USC, and TKA. Within the next five years A.E. Anderson and Triplett Peak were merged with United and Bill Hedgpath and John Davis took on key roles with United. The assets of Bridgebuilders, Inc. were acquired in 2006. Jim Ewart joined our team in 2002. In 2005, Coleman-Snow Consultants was formed to add road design services to our list of services provided by the United group of companies. TJC Painting was purchased in 2006. Hanson Safety is the newest team member, joining in January of this year. By the end of the decade our group had expanded by mergers, acquisitions, and start-ups to become a leader in road and bridge design, construction, inspection, and safety services in the Southeastern United States. Permanent offices were in place in Great Falls, Rock Hill, West Columbia, and Charleston. The past ten years have seen the United Companies become a premier design-build firm that has successfully completed many large transportation projects in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

The driving force behind the growth of United has been Jim Triplett. Jim owns all or a majority of the stock in all the United companies. During this decade, the collective group has slowly migrated away from centralized management, not necessarily consciously, but more as a result of physical location, different ownership structures, goals, objectives, and a host of other reasons. Jim's vision has always been to move closer together as a group: physically, operationally, and strategically to accomplish several goals:

  • Ensure the long term success of the organization
  • Provide a platform for expansion and diversification in the transportation industry as well as in new business opportunities
  • Better align our resources to take full advantages of economies of scale that are possible
  • Provide opportunities for personal and professional advancement and training within the organization

The first step in Jim's realignment plan actually began several years ago. Highly regarded construction industry consultants, attorneys, and accountants were engaged to help map out the strategy. With the help and advise of these professionals, countless meetings, conference calls, and emails, we were finally ready to pull the trigger. So, on January 1, 2010, United Contractors, Inc. changed its name to United Infrastructure Group, Inc. (UIG) and merged with U.S. Constructors, Inc. On the same day United Contractors, LLC (UC,LLC) was formed as a wholly owned subsidiary of UIG. UC,LLC is now the "construction company" that specializes in Bridge and Road Construction. UIG will eventually act as the parent company for all of the other United companies, providing key services for all of the operating entities. The merger and creation of the new companies has been a tremendous undertaking for everyone involved, but especially the office accounting, information technologies, and human resources staff. I want to thank each of you for all the hard work and long hours put in to make this first giant step. Also, thank you to all the managers and employees for patience and understanding shown during the reorganization. We obviously still have a ways to go before the processes are perfected and therefore we can't rest yet. We need for everyone to continue to help work through this transition. Recognizing that we all have different opinions of how the company should operate and although everyone's opinion is important and is considered, this is the course set by Jim Triplett and there is no turning back. Most importantly though, please remember that the purpose of all of this is to make our company stronger, more professional, and more successful. Jim and I along with the management of all UIG companies are fully committed to the long term success of our organization and to providing opportunities for each of you. We will never forget that it is the people in the organization who make it successful.

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