Jackson Industrial Construction – Designing, building, and repairing iconic structures for Midwest and beyond.

Farmers need places to store and process their harvests. Industries need facilities to fabricate, house, and distribute products. Construction companies dedicated to the design and building of facilities with a purpose can meet that need, particularly in a high-output agricultural and manufacturing region, like Michigan and adjacent Midwestern states. Since 2013, Jackson Industrial Construction has worked with commercial agricultural and industrial processing companies to design, fabricate, and install support structures for material handling. Grain elevators, flour mills, and ethanol plants are among the iconic structures in their wheelhouse. The company’s steel fabrication arm also repairs or replaces parts and pieces, as well as renovates or adds spaces to foundries, manufacturing facilities, and plants. “Our employees are passionate about what they do,” said Nick Curtis, JIC owner and president. “They genuinely want to make sure our customers are happy and that we meet their expectations.” Curtis explained that the expertise of his staff of nearly three dozen is based on constructing metal buildings and structural supports that their customers need for storage, processing, and distribution. Staff, too, step in for repair and preventive maintenance, providing essential skills and services to keep businesses operating in top-flight facilities. “We specialize in particular types of facilities — either building or repair,” he said. “If a company performs, needs, or works in facilities made from steel or concrete, we can construct it.”

GETTING STARTED Curtis worked for about a half-dozen years as the field operations manager for an agricultural-industrial construction company and traveled the United States working on projects. In 2013, he and his business partners, Dave and Gary Adams, had an opportunity and decided to strike out on their own. The decision, while life-changing, was somewhat spontaneous. They had received a call from a business owner in North Dakota. The business needed an agricultural processing facility built in South Dakota and had heard about their talents and skills. Were they interested? “We said yes,” he said. “It was the right time and the right place.” Curtis and his colleagues got to work on a facility for drying grain. They did the millwright scope of the work, starting in mid-July 2013 and finishing two months later, in mid-September. From there, the partners came closer to home, networking with businesses and companies as they founded JIC. Within a matter of months, the three had secured several construction jobs in the state, providing them a base from which to grow their fledging company. In 2015, JIC purchased a 14,000-square-foot fabrication shop at 584 Homer Road in Concord. About 3,000 square feet are set aside for office space. Seven people work in the office, coordinating different projects, estimating, and providing general business support and administrative functions. Another 27 employees work in the shop or in the field, fabricating pieces and parts or doing millwright, concrete, and construction work. Curtis said that all fabricated steel is processed and assembled at JIC’s home base in Concord. Building and support structures are fabricated on-site. The facility is equipped with semiautomated saws, a shear for cutting sheet metal, a high-definition plasma table, and a 20-by50-foot paint booth. Skilled staff operate a CNC beam drill line and a CNC press break machine. Many of the tools and supplies used onsite are sourced from Michigan-based companies. Alro Steel Corporation, Baker’s Gas and Welding Supplies, Colony Hardware Corporation, PPG Paint, and Wuerthner Brothers are among the familiar-sounding Jackson area and midMichigan names. “We try to source our materials and products for our projects locally to support the community,” said Curtis. “Also, many of our staff have been with us from the start, and we have lots of local people and families working here. We’re a fairly closeknit group.”

 

PROJECTS BIG AND SMALL Curtis and his colleagues work primarily within five hours of Jackson and Concord. Occasional projects take teams as far as Virginia, as well as into farming areas of Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. One of JIC’s largest projects is located due north of Jackson on mid-Michigan farmland. Curtis and his team designed and built grain-handling facilities for an established family-owned and operated business serving the agricultural industry. The large greenfield project for ZFS Ithaca, LLC, took two years and involved construction from the ground up. “The majority of our customers represent repeat business,” said Curtis. “We might typically do something for them year after year, be it a new build or repair.” Curtis said JIC tries to take a healthy mix of certain-size jobs. In a given year, the company might oversee two to three large anchor jobs, balanced by smaller-scope projects or those involving maintenance work at local facilities. Some of the projects in recent years include a sand foundry rebuild, repair and maintenance at an ethanol plant, an expansion for a machine company, a new build for a trucking business, and preventive maintenance projects. On a small scale, a team recently installed a new garage door at a manufacturing plant. Curtis said he enjoys working with the companies and people he serves. He’s committed to the idea of helping to keep businesses and facilities up and running, particularly during the uncertainty of the pandemic and other national and global events. “We’ve worked on facilities that process foods that end up in grocery stores and in people’s hands,” he said. “One of the projects that kept us going during the pandemic was the ethanol plant that started to produce hand sanitizer. We’re considered an essential business and have helped out other essential businesses, too.”

 

REGIONAL PRIDE, REGIONAL CONNECTIONS To stay up to date on developments in industrial and agricultural construction, JIC staff receive annual training, with concentrated instruction related to particular projects or companies. Staff have been trained to operate various equipment, including fork and aerial lifts, cranes, and other specialized tools.

 

Many JIC staff, too, have been trained and educated in the building trades through the Jackson Area Career Center. Curtis himself attended the JACC while in high school and graduated from Hanover-Horton schools. While Curtis admits the construction business and its needs change quickly, he anticipates moderate to steady growth for JIC. He’s looking ahead to working with repeat and new customers and continuing to provide the service and quality JIC has delivered since launching eight years ago. The Jackson area, he said, is a good place to be based. He commented on its diversity and said he values a strong network of business partners, vendors, and suppliers within the region and beyond. The companies he works with have the same customer service mindset, which contributes to the overall profile and strength of the Jackson-area business community. “You have a lot of good people here who genuinely want to see you do better,” he said. “As a businessperson, I try to do more listening than talking. I work hard on listening to what issues and problems people have and on coming up with solutions. As a company, that’s something I think we’re good at.”

 

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