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Going With the Flow for Decades of Successful Business

Tue August 18, 2009 - Northeast Edition
Pam Martin

The Fort Miller Co. is firmly rooted in America, having evolved from a company founded in 1939 by Jefferson Davis, a great-grandson of the President of the Confederate States of America. The company’s operations began in a small wood-frame building in Fort Miller, N.Y., on the Hudson River, 12 mi. east of Saratoga Springs. To this day, the business remains a family-owned, privately held company under essentially the same ownership that purchased Davis’s interests in 1948.

Throughout the past 60 years, Fort Miller has expanded its offerings to become one of the most diversified precast concrete producers in the country. From burial vaults in the 1940s to the addition of precast steps and residential septic systems in the 1950s, Fort Miller built its foundation for today’s market positioning. Listening to the customer and responding to market trends became early hallmarks of the company.

In the 1960s, municipal septic systems began to replace individual septic systems and Fort Miller adjusted accordingly, while adding precast manholes, catch basins and other environmentally friendly products to address market needs. In the 1970s, highway building became important to Fort Miller as the marketplace required alternatives to cast-in-place construction. Fort Miller began to produce highway median barrier, box culvert and retaining wall products.

In the 1980s, Fort Miller successfully enhanced its product lines again. A complete line of highway barrier products, more retaining wall systems and bridge products were added and the company began to produce custom structures to offer contractors a complete precast package for infrastructure projects.

Fort Miller made a major commitment to the bridge market in the 1990s. The company added a full range of bridge offerings to supplement its standard and custom box culverts. These additions included three-sided bridges, concrete-steel composite bridge systems, lightweight bridge deck replacement systems and many more. Fort Miller’s focus was to provide the market with a family of products within major product groupings.

Fort Miller offers not only products, but also services ranging from preparing value engineering opportunities, to developing design-build proposals, consulting on pre-bid product alternatives, and developing cost-effective solutions to its clients’ needs.

Today Fort Miller employs 200 associates during the peak construction season on its 300 plus acre facility in Easton, N.Y. Its management team has over 100 years of combined industry experience, and the company has 14 degreed engineers, several with advanced degrees and six with professional licenses. Over the years, 17 patents have been issued to the company.

The company has a fully automated NYSDOT certified concrete batch plant, over 250,000 sq. ft. of fully enclosed and heated production space, and a 20,000-sq.-ft. rebar fabrication and storage facility with an automated shearline.

Current and past Fort Miller projects represent a “who’s who” of highways, bridges and structures throughout New York, New Jersey and beyond. Public clients include the DOTs in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Maine, Minnesota, Illinois, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Montreal and Toronto, a number of airports and railroads, and many other state agencies. Private clients have included: Forest City Ratner, The Walkway over the Hudson, Natgun, GE, IBM, Verizon, National Grid, Consolidated Edison and a number of colleges and universities.

The Fort Miller Co. is part of The Fort Miller Group, a six-company holding company serving local, national and international markets and encompassing infrastructure, security and death care products and services.

Fort Miller’s Philosophy Statement is a simple one: “Our aim is simply to be the best. Excellence is the measure for all our actions.” This philosophy is put into action with eight ACI-certified quality assurance technicians on staff. Fort Miller is ISO 9001 compliant, and consistently ranks among the top three in quality of the over 300 participants in the NPCA Plant Certification Program. The company is one of only 76 companies in New York State to be SHARP (Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program) certified by OSHA and the NYS Department of Labor, and boasts an EMR of .62.

Fort Miller is proud of a lengthy list of awards and recognitions, including the Quality Award of Excellence for several years running from the National Precast Concrete Association, safety awards from OSHA, NYSDOL, and AGC NYS, and various awards from ACPA, AASHTO, Roads and Bridges, New York Construction News, and The American Concrete Institute Awards for Excellence in Concrete. Recently, Fort Miller was mentioned in the June 15, 2009, Engineering News Record article highlighting “The Walkway over the Hudson” project that it is working on with fellow AGC members Harrison & Burrowes and Bergmann Associates.

Fort Miller’s slogan says it all: “Your imagination is our only limitation.” By listening to the marketplace over the last 60 years, Fort Miller has distinguished itself as the premier manufacturer of structural precast concrete products in the Northeast.

This story was reprinted with permission from Cornerstone, Summer 2009.

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