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George J. Igel & Co. Inc. Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Wed October 12, 2011 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

George J. Igel & Co. Inc. celebrated its 100th anniversary with an open house for its customers and vendors July 15 and for its employees and their families July 16 at its Columbus, Ohio, facility. The event drew more than 400 attendees over the course of the two days.

According to George J. Igel & Co. Inc. President John Igel, the event offered the opportunity to thank many of the people who have contributed to the company’s success by treating them to some food, games and fun.

Rudd Equipment Company supplied an equipment simulator for attendees to test their skills out.

Now headed by the fourth generation, the family-owned company got its start in 1911 as a trucking company with George J. Igel II using horse-drawn wagons to haul materials for Columbus area excavation sites.

In 1917, the company marked the beginning of its ongoing goal of employing the most up-to-date equipment available with the purchase of two Packard trucks.

The company purchased its first bulldozer in 1936 and the fleet has grown to include nearly every type of earthmoving available to help meet customer needs.

In the early stages of the crane industry, Ohio was at the center of equipment development with companies like Bucyrus-Erie and Lima manufacturing cranes locally.

As Igel Construction's fleet expanded to include these new and effective machines, manufacturers often consulted with the “Igel Construction Team” for input on design improvements for future models. George J. Igel & Co. Inc. used cranes extensively from the 1920s through 1990s, at one point becoming one of the areas largest crane rental houses, until divesting the business in 1993.

The company flourished as Columbus and the surrounding area grew an in the post World War II years as an excavating house, at one point digging more than 100 basements in a single month for area builders. Through the years, the company has been a large part of the growth in the area.

Each new generation of the Igel family has contributed to the continued success of the company. Under the leadership of George Igel Jr., William Igel and Joseph Igel Sr., the company grew to maintain the largest crane rental fleet in Central Ohio, while also becoming one of the area’s leading site-work contractor.

In 1990s, the fourth generation of the Igel family became the guiding force behind the company with John Igel serving as president, Joe Igel Jr. as secretary/vice president, and George Igel V as vice president. In addition to the Igel family, the company’s leadership team also includes Vice Presidents David Downs and Ronald Wallace and Financial Officer Jeff Fries.

Igel Construction now employs approximately 300 employees and, like the company’s management team, is pleased the company has a number of second and third generation employees as well. With a focus now on heavy construction, the company serves a market area within a 150-mile radius of Columbus, Ohio. Igel Construction continues to grow, running a fleet of more than 250 pieces of major equipment and more than 100 licensed vehicles. Its fleet includes Caterpillar, John Deere, Komatsu and Volvo machines. According to John Igel, the company enjoys a strong relationship with its equipment dealers, taking a partnership approach toward its business dealings.

The company’s current President, John Igel, got an early start in the family business. As a child, he visited job sites with his father, swept the floors of the shop as a teenager, and worked numerous jobs within the company before becoming its president in 1997.

As well as celebrating its 100th year, 2011 also marks the 50th year as a member of the Ohio Contractors Association for George J. Igel & Co. Inc. Fittingly, John was named Chairman of the Ohio Contractors Association this year. He sees the role as an opportunity to promote group collaboration and encourage membership participation.

John also celebrated his 23rd anniversary married to his wife Dolores in 2011. The couple has three children; Daniel, who attends Ohio State, and Brian and Melanie, who are both in high school.

In the years that he’s been with the company John has seen the industry become more sophisticated, stating that the skill sets required of today’s superintendent are much more complex than they’ve been in the past..

“Not only has technology provided greater efficiency and productivity, it can also present you with new and quicker ways to make mistakes,” said John. Limiting those mistakes, learning from them when they occur, keeping an eye on what succeeds and, above all, putting the customer first has served George J. Igel & Co. Inc. well over the years.

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