A group of New River employees at the Bixby substation project standing in a group.
Grove Port, Ohio

Project Spotlight: Bixby Station

At New River Electrical, our goal is to always deliver projects on time while executing a high standard of professionalism and quality, all while keeping our crews safe. But sometimes, things happen, and we have to rise to the challenge in order to stay true to this commitment. To conclude 2021, we wanted to applaud our team at Bixby Station in Grove Port, Ohio, who successfully installed a security fence ahead of schedule, despite delays outside of our control that prevented us from starting on time.

Starting Behind, Finishing Ahead

“We planned to start the project in February 2021 with the original goal of being finished by the end of October,” says Joe DeFrancis, Project Manager at New River Electrical. “There were several things that needed to be done before we could get started with our part of the project, and our civil contractor wasn’t able to start until two months after our original start date.”

Because of that two-month delay, it wasn’t too promising that we would be able to maintain the original finish date. “At that point, we were looking at finishing this project in late January or early February,” says DeFrancis. But about 9 weeks ago, after our team presented the new timeline to the utility, they approached us and asked if there was any way we could get the fence enclosed by the end of this year.

“We weren’t too sure. We did a lot of calculations to estimate if we could meet their deadline,” explained DeFrancis. We talked with Mike Ratliff, the foreman on the job, for three or four days straight, thinking through ways we could make this work.” That entailed grabbing more crews, and instead of 40 hours per week, Joe and Mike planned for six days per week.

“We came back to the utility and said we would accept their challenge,” explained DeFrancis. “Our crew not only met the deadline but successfully completed the challenge with three weeks remaining.”

The Power of the Team

The Bixby Station Crew. Not pictured: Dave Kangus, Shane Perdue, Wayne Smith, Danielle Causey, Dustin Kangus, and Amanda Jenson.

When asked how they were able to be so productive, Mike Ratliff, General Foreman, attributes the success to his crew on the job. “We had a crew doing concrete foundations. They did an awesome job staying ahead. My other crew was putting up the fence panels. They smoked the fence panels, averaging 35-40 panels a day,” explained Ratliff.

“Not only did everyone pull together and work together as a team, but we did it safely. We had thirty guys on the job but not one bandaid incident. My guys did the project safely, quickly, and professionally, and that’s the reason we were able to complete this project ahead of schedule.”

It’s impressive to see what can be accomplished when our crews work together. “Nine weeks ago there were no panels up. There was maybe 15% of the posts installed. A little over two months later, the project managers came for a site visit with the utility, and they were extremely impressed. They expressed gratitude for the sacrifice and hard work of our crew for doing the job so quickly and professionally,” said DeFrancis.

The New River Electrical Difference

Here at New River Electrical, we know we work with an all-star team that gets the job done right. But we don’t want to take our team for granted. “It all begins with leadership right down to my team. I had great support from my management – Ryan Tuttle, Joe DeFrancis, Damien Phillips, and Steve Adkins. And then the team on-site knocked the project out of the park. Even though I had only worked with a handful of this crew before, I would take any of these guys and gals any day on any project. I know they’d perform there as they did on this job,” said Ratliff.

As we wrap up a successful year, let’s look forward to setting the standard in expertise, safety, and professionalism in 2022 and beyond.