Many businesses choose to specialize in providing only a few select services, limiting their scope in the hopes of improving performance. However, some companies can also find a unique niche by taking on an amazingly wide variety of tasks that would otherwise require hiring a number of less-diversified businesses or organizations to accomplish. Force Corporation of LaPorte, Texas, seems like a prime example of the latter.
RAILROAD MAINTENANCE DIVISION
Started by Jack Jackson back in 1973, Force Corporation started out as a merit shop general contractor serving the industrial market. Because of its location on the Texas Gulf Coast, Force worked in many of the petrochemical plants, refineries, and terminals in the area and started a railroad maintenance division in 1976. Jack’s son, Mike Jackson, grew up working for the company and assumed operational control while also serving as a Texas State Representative and Senator for 24 years. Since then, Force has continued to grow, providing full-service construction, railroad. and industrial maintenance services in both Texas and Louisiana.
“In a nutshell, we’re a general industrial contractor and a railroad construction company working predominantly in the Houston Ship Channel area,” says Rusty Barnhill, president of Force Corporation. “Our railroad division works in many of the plants in and around Houston. However, 3 years ago, we branched out our railroad operations by also opening an office in Plaquemine, Louisiana. We’ve doubled our workload there in the past year alone.”
On the industrial side of the business, Force has been providing continuing construction services in some plants for more than 35 years. As a general industrial contractor, Force provides construction services for capital construction and supplemental maintenance contracts for many industrial customers. Forces capabilities range from heavy civil, structural, piping, and mechanical to lump sum EPC construction.
Featured Image: The backhoes come equipped with hydraulic thumb and bucket attachments that are particularly useful for handling railroad ties and tamping ballasts.
Above: Force Corporation’s dedication to quality and excellence extends to the equipment the company has chosen to use on its various construction and maintenance jobsites.
DEDICATION TO QUALITY
Barnhill joined the Force team 5 years ago in 2011. As the company’s president, he oversees Force’s day-to-day operations, but also wears many other hats depending on the organization’s immediate needs. He’s very proud of what Force has accomplished over the past few years, and for good reason. “Since 2011, Force has more than quadrupled in capital volume and has experienced significant growth,” Barnhill says. “We’ve taken steps to surround ourselves with the best personnel and management team that our industry has to offer, and we take good care of our people. That philosophy has definitely served us well.”
Force Corporation’s dedication to quality and excellence extends to the equipment the company has chosen to use on its various construction and maintenance jobsites. Force currently owns a JCB JS160 hydraulic excavator and 12 JCB 3CX backhoes, ten of which were purchased in the last 3 years. While the JS160 excavator is used primarily for civil work, such as preparing foundations and road beds, the 3CX backhoes tackle various tasks for Force’s railroad construction and maintenance operations. The backhoes come equipped with hydraulic thumb and bucket attachments that are particularly useful for handling railroad ties and tamping ballasts.
“If a track needs to be repaired, the thumbs can grab the railroad ties and pull them out from under the track,” Barnhill explains. “The thumbs help us avoid “pinch points”—a safety hazard that occurs any time you have to manually pick up a heavy object with your hands. We try to avoid those pinch points through the use of specialized tools or equipment. The thumbs can reach up under an object like a railroad tie and do the work of multiple pairs of hands without the risk of injury. In other words, the backhoes and their attachments help us get this type of job done faster and safer.”
Force purchased its current fleet of JCB machines from Houston-area dealer, Adobe JCB. While most of Force’s current backhoe fleet is less than 4 years old, the company has owned other JCB equipment throughout the past 10 years.
“Over time, our mechanics have gained a good working knowledge of JCB machines,” Barnhill says. “That was one factor in our decision to continue purchasing JCB equipment. Our salesperson at Adobe, Leo Pruneda, also worked closely with us to understand our needs and get us the most for our machine investment. By working with JCB instead of a competing manufacturer, we got more powerful machines at pricing that was still palatable to our budgets.
“The exceptional power of the JCB backhoes certainly can come in quite handy, particularly on a railroad construction site that can be very tough on the equipment. Using a hydraulic thumb to hammer out railroad ties can also put a lot of stress on a machine. Driving over the ballast and tracks adds to that stress. The JCBs have done very well so far with very few issues.” ■
For More Information: For more information about JCB equipment and its impact on maintenance projects, visit www.jcbna.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions – August 2016
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