Michels Corporation is an international utility, engineering, design and construction contractor based in Brownsville, Wisconsin. With more than 6,000 employees in its 14 divisions and subsidiaries, Michels is the largest construction company in Wisconsin. It currently maintains 26 permanent office and yard locations in 12 other states spanning from coast to coast, as well as Alberta, Canada.
|Industry||Utility, engineering, design and construction contractor|
|Founded||1959, Brownsville, Wisconsin
(as Michels Pipeline Construction)
|Key people||Pat Michels, President
Tim Michels, Vice-President
Kevin Michels, Vice President
Michels is involved in various areas of utility construction, including pipeline construction, directional crossings, drilled foundations, wind energy, communications and pipe services, as well as sewer, water and tunnel construction. The company is also involved in cable placements, pipe restoration, wind farm construction, concrete paving, vertical drilling, road construction, and electrical power infrastructure construction services, as well as in trenching and construction of natural oil and gas projects.
Michels Corporation was formerly known as Michels Pipeline Construction, Inc., but changed its name in 2001. In 2008, the company won Western Builder Magazine's Project of the Year competition with a job that constructed 252 miles (406 km) of pipeline and included a Wisconsin-record tunnel 80 inches in diameter and more than 1,000 feet (300 m) long. As of 2013, Michels Corporation is ranked No. 36 on the Engineering News-Record Top 400 Contractors list, up from No. 50 in the 2012 rankings. In 2013, Michels Directional Crossings won Project of the Year honors from Trenchless Technology magazine for a new installation. 
- 1 History
- 2 Operating divisions and subsidiaries
- 2.1 Anderson Bros. & Johnson
- 2.2 Michels Stone
- 2.3 Michels Communications
- 2.4 Michels Directional Crossings (Horizontal Directional Drilling)
- 2.5 Michels Foundations
- 2.6 Michels Materials (Aggregates/Road Building)
- 2.7 Michels Paving
- 2.8 Michels Pipeline Construction
- 2.9 Michels Pipe Services
- 2.10 Michels Power
- 2.11 Michels Tunneling
- 2.12 Michels Wind Energy
- 2.13 Continental Fabrication Services (CFS)
- 2.14 Pilchuck Contractors
- 2.15 Michels Canada
- 3 References
Dale Michels founded the company in 1959 as a gas pipeline construction company and provided services to Wisconsin utilities. In 1963, Michels began providing outside plant construction and installation of buried telephone cable systems. The company expanded again in 1970, forming a Sewer, Water and Tunnel Division.
In 1976, Michels began producing crushed aggregates to supply materials for various road and building construction projects throughout eastern Wisconsin. The next year, 1977, Michels began constructing rural water distribution systems throughout the Northern Plains. As part of this development, the company constructed water mains, laterals and residential water service.
Michels branched out into fiber optic cable systems in 1983. The company built customized equipment, including the design and fabrication of rail-mounted cable plows.
In 1988, Michels began a new method known as horizontal directional drilling to construct underground utilities. The company expanded on this when it designed and manufactured the most powerful directional drilling rig to date in 1996. The rig was called "Hercules-1200" for its 1,200,000 pounds of push/pullback.
Two years later, Michels acquired Redmond, Washington-based Pilchuck Contractors, Inc., a wholly owned Seattle-based underground utility contractor. Michels also manufactured a second "Hercules-1200" in 1999.
Michels kept expanding in 2000, acquiring Data-Tel Communication Services . The addition of Data-Tel (Mi-Tech) as a subsidiary of Michels added more than 175 employees capable of performing design engineering, surveying, drafting, field inspection, right-of-way acquisitions and more.
In 2001, what had been Michels Pipeline Construction became Michels Corporation due to the wide array of services the company had become involved in. Michels Corporation continued expanding in 2002, acquiring BBC as part of its Mid-America Line and Cable division. Michels also acquired Anderson Bros. & Johnson of Wausau, Wisconsin, the only company to mine deep-red granite in North America.
Michels added an office and yard facility in Phoenix, Arizona, and a pipeline construction operating facility in Burnsville, Minnesota, in 2003. The company also added yet another division in Michels Drilled Foundations.
Michels Mid-American Line and Cable changed its name to Michels Communications in 2004 and made another move on the west coast, acquiring the cured-in-place pipe business of Gelco Services, Inc., based in Salem, Ore. Michels also manufactured another drilling rig, the DD-840, bringing its total fleet to over 65 drilling rigs.
In 2005, Michels opened a regional facility in Rockdale, Illinois. Michels Paving also was formed in 2005, offering paving services to public and private sectors. This move was bolstered by the assets of recently acquired PCC Construction Co. and its sister companies.
In 2007, Michels Sewer, Water and Tunnel division took on a new identity as Michels Tunneling.
Operating divisions and subsidiaries
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Anderson Bros. & Johnson
Anderson Bros. & Johnson is a Wausau, Wisconsin-based company that mines the only deep red granite in North America. The company has been in operation since 1895, and is one of the oldest continuously operating mining companies in the United States.
Anderson Bros. & Johnson supplies Sierra Rose Granite, Wausau Red Granite, Wisconsin Lavender Grey Quartzite and Wisconsin Silver Grey Granite for a multitude of uses, including: monuments, sculptures, countertops, tiles, building stone, landscape stone, armor stone for erosion protection, and crushed stone for road and building construction.
Michels Stone is based in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and supplies building stone products and dimensional cut stone products. Michels Stone supplies a wide range of stone to architects, owners and builders.
Originally Fond du Lac Stone, Michels Stone was started more than 60 years ago. Fond du Lac Stone partnered with Michels in 1997. The company currently has five quarries in Wisconsin (Appleton, Beaver Dam, Door County, Fond du Lac, Stoneybrook), from which it supplies full dimension building stone, thin veneer building stone, landscape stone for pathways, gardens, retaining walls and parks, specialty cut limestone for fireplace mantels, hearths and sills, and stone matched to existing buildings.
The company services outside plant construction, aerial, buried and underground construction, cable pulling and blowing, splicing, testing and cutover of copper, coax and fiber optics, directional drilling, routine line extension and major plow crews, service wire installation, Fiber To The Home (FTTH) technology, telephone and broadband (CATV) installation, residential/business/urban/rural applications, structured cabling, fiber optic splicing and testing services, copper and coax cable splicing, fiber optic fusion splicing, optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) and power meter testing, 24-hour restoration service, underground and aerial fiber optics and FTTH applications.
Michels Directional Crossings (Horizontal Directional Drilling)
Michels Directional Crossings is a division specializing in land and marine horizontal directional drilling (HDD). Michels has completed pipe installations of up to 60 inches in diameter crossing spans of more than 15,000 feet.
Michels Directional Crossings has been internationally recognized for establishing numerous industry records. HDD work done near Boston in 2004 received project of the year honors from Trenchless Technology magazine. The magazine honored Michels Directional Crossings again in 2006 with two awards: one for project of the year — a 7,600-foot (2,300 m), 20-inch-diameter (510 mm) crossing under the St. Lawrence River in Canada — and one for honorable mention for an 8,400-foot (2,600 m), 10-inch-diameter (250 mm) crossing under Choctawhatchee Bay in Destin, Florida.
Michels Directional Crossings has more than 65 drilling rigs, some of which are capable of 1.2 million pounds of drilling thrust and pulling power. The company also provides large-scale custom fabricated drilling equipment.
Michels Foundations is a division with a fleet of vertical drilling machines capable of drilling shafts with diameters of more than 20 feet (6.1 m) and to depths of greater than 175 feet (53 m).
Michels Foundations specializes in: Caisson construction, pilings (sheet, micropiles, macropiles, pipe piles and H piles), soldier piles, helical piers, pile driving, civil site construction, design/build foundations, earth retention, marine construction, substation construction, transmission line foundations, soil nails, tiebacks, shaft construction (small and large diameter), wind turbine foundation drilling and vertical drilling.
Michels Materials (Aggregates/Road Building)
The company is a Wisconsin Department of Transportation road-building contractor that operates quarries and sand and gravel deposits throughout the state. The company supplies a wide variety of crushed aggregates for the construction industry.
Michels Materials has highway construction operations varying from specialized underdrain systems and shouldering to complete construction of roadways, including base course placement and grading. It operates an inventory of mining and crushing equipment, including mobile crushing plant spreads, mobile wash plants and screening plants used for the separation of specific aggregate sizes and types. It is also involved in custom aggregate crushing for other contractors and municipalities.
Michels Paving provides concrete paving services to both the public and private sectors.
Michels Paving got its start in 2005 when Michels Corporation purchased the assets of PCC Construction Co. and PCC Transport, both of Two Rivers, Wis.
Michels Paving is a member of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association and participates in concrete paving of highways, airport construction and rehabilitation, concrete parking lots and driveways for the retail, industrial and commercial industries, concrete loading zones for industrial applications.
Michels Pipeline Construction
Michels Pipeline Construction is a cross-country oil and natural gas utility pipeline contractor and the oldest division of Michels Corporation
Dale Michels conceived the idea to found Michels Pipeline Construction when he was working as a pipeline welder. Given the growing demand for gas distribution infrastructure, he approached his brother-in-law, Ted Koenigs, and Ted's business partner, Jim Michel, to join in the new venture.
Michels originally planned to take advantage of the gas infrastructure industry and then move on to something else, but Michels Pipeline Construction gradually grew to the point that the entire company was rebranded Michels Corporation in 2001. This allowed Michels Pipeline Construction to live on in its current form, where it works in the following areas: mainline and distribution pipeline construction, interstate and intrastate pipelines, compressor stations/pumping stations, metering and regulator stations, maintenance and repair, gathering systems and storage facilities, odorizer facilities and river crossings, emergency repair and steam lines, high voltage underground construction and water lines.
Michels Pipe Services
Michels Pipe Services is notable for its ability to rehabilitate existing pipes without the need to break ground.
Michels Pipe Services picked up project of the year from Trenchless Technology in 2007 for relining 4,000 feet (1,200 m) of 60-inch pipe in Milwaukee, Wis. Trenchless Technology also honored Michels Pipe Services in 2008.
Michels Pipe Services works in areas such as:
- CCTV — Closed Circuit Television inspection equipment inspects damaged or deteriorating pipelines to view problem areas normally undetected by standard television equipment.
- Lateral Camera — Line Launched Lateral Evaluation Television System (LETS) is a self-contained, portable unit for inspecting sewer service laterals, remotely working from a main sewer line.
- Line Cleaning — Hydraulic cleaning equipment uses a variety of special application nozzles to remove blockages and restore pipe flow to full capacity.
- Cured-in-Place Pipe (CIPP) — With the help of premium felts and resins, structurally deteriorated pipelines can quickly be rehabilitated.
- CIPP Internal Point Repair — A non-disruptive method for repairing localized structural problems in otherwise sound pipe. This point repair method rehabilitates damaged pipe from 6-24 inches in diameter and up to 10 feet (3.0 m) in length without digging.
- Pipe bursting — A pipeline rehabilitation method capable of actually increasing the diameter of existing pipe. Pneumatically powered bursting heads pull in welded HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) pipe, resulting in increased infrastructure flow capacity.
- Chemical Grouting — First developed in 1955, it is a defense against infiltration and exfiltration of groundwater in structurally sound sewer systems. Also used to stop leaks in sewer, manholes, tanks, vaults and tunnels.
- Segmented PVC Slip Lining — No profile joints rehabilitate existing pipes. SPVC can be installed without the total pipeline bypass required by other processes.
- Structural Rehabilitation — Involves any of the following techniques: slabjacking/stabilization, dam restoration, manhole sealing/coating, pressure grouting/soil stabilization, crack sealing, epoxy injection and joint caulking.
Michels Power has been in business since 1949, operating as Superior Electric Company until being bought by Michels in 1997.
Michels Power is in the field of electrical power infrastructure construction, working with investor-owned utilities, municipalities, cooperatives, federal agencies and private investors. The company’s main expertise and experience includes overhead and underground transmission and distribution lines, as well as new substation construction and upgrades. The company has the capacity to do up to 500 kV substation transmission.
Main services the company provides are:
- Overhead Construction - Transmission and Distribution
- Substation Construction - Transmission and Distribution
- Underground Line - Transmission and Distribution
- Inside Wiring
- Emergency Response
- Safety and Environment
In 2007, Michels Sewer, Water and Tunnel division took on a new identity as Michels Tunneling in order to reflect the depth of the company's services.
Some examples of specialized equipment that Michels Tunneling uses are:
- Disc cutters for rock
- Conventional soft ground heads
- Muck trains with locomotives and slurry systems
- Micro-tunneling machines
- Pipe jacking equipment of various diameters
Michels Wind Energy
Michels Wind Energy is a full balance-of-plant contractor with 4,000 MW of wind farm experience. The division has the ability to turnkey wind power projects by self-performing all of the operations, encompassing electrical, QA/QC, project management and any civil construction that may be required.
Michels Wind Farm Construction's Services are:
- Access Road Construction
- Spread Foundations and foundations for substations
- Turbine erection and wiring
- Collection system installation by trenching, plowing and boring
- SCADA infrastructure design and installation
- Construction of underground and overhead transmission systems through 500 kV
- Substation construction through 500 kV
Continental Fabrication Services (CFS)
Continental Fabrication Services was acquired by Michels Corporation in 2012. CFS is a full-service pipe fabrication company located in Carrollton, Missouri. CFS has been in business for 20 years and performs services in the utility infrastructure and technical services industries, including the design of aerial, buried and underground cable placements, ranging from small line extensions to multi-million dollar projects.
Pilchuck Contractors employs a variety of techniques to complete projects on the west coast, working with customers to establish multi-year contracts. Pilchuck often works with Michels Power to perform joint utility projects for all dry utilities.
Pilchuck Contractors specializes in: trenching and excavating in highly congested areas, trenchless methods, such as directional drilling and plowing of plastic pipe, construction of new and replacement of old natural gas mains, and complete turnkey services.
Pilchuck Diversified works extensively in urban construction, specifically: trenching, plowing and directional drilling conduit, cable and inner duct, and fiber optic cable installation via jetting in urban, suburban and long-haul projects.
Michels Canada is a Nisku, Alberta-based subsidiary of Michels Corporation.
The company performs a wide variety of services encompassing almost all of Michels' divisions, including: Cured-in-place pipe, horizontal directional drilling, pipeline construction, tunneling construction, electrical, telecommunications construction, vertical drilling, wind farm construction and pipe rehabilitation.
- Bloomberg Businessweek, "Company Overview of Michels Corporation"