Busy Birmingham Interstate Undergoes Major Overhaul

NY’s L.C. Whitford Co. Adapts to Whatever Comes Its Way

Tue November 04, 2003 - Northeast Edition

A remote location in southwestern New York State, Wellsville, Allegany County, is where Langford Clinton Whitford launched his construction company in 1916. For many years, the focus of The L.C. Whitford Company was commercial construction. Whitford erected many of the area’s largest institutional and industrial buildings.

In 1972 Hurricane Agnes flooded the Ohio, Susquehanna and Chemung rivers. The flooding was severe and as a result approximately 30 bridges in the area needed to be replaced. This event provided Whitford with the opportunity to enter into the realm of bridge construction.

Bridge construction and concrete beams go hand-in-hand, so in 1983 Whitford became active in the manufacturing of pre-stressed concrete beams. Whitford’s entrance into the pre-stressed concrete business came about when it contracted to build a pre-cast concrete building for a cheese factory in Cuba, NY. The process of building this cheese factory put the company in a position to build the pre-stressed concrete beams for its own bridge construction. This ultimately led to the establishment of the L.C. Whitford Materials Co. Inc., a major supplier of precast beams to other New York State bridge builders. By the end of this year, L.C. Whitford Materials Co. Inc. will have built 364 bridge beams, making it the largest producer of New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) beams in New York State.

The manufacture of pre-stressed concrete necessitates the use of large quantities of rebar. Because the company uses rebar in its beam manufacturing process as well as on construction sites, Whitford Materials decided to fabricate its own rebar. The company makes bulk purchases of rebar and stockpiles it. As needed, the rebar is cut to length and shaped to meet the needs of a particular application.

Bridge building also involves a certain amount of roadwork, which led Whitford to expand its operations. The Materials Division, headed by Robert Shields, now includes blacktop and ready mix plants to supply the company’s needs. However, what really set it apart from other substantial contractors is its rebar fabrication capabilities and its pre-stressed bridge beams.

As The L.C. Whitford Co. Inc. grew so did its equipment fleet, but local contractors had few options when it came to equipment rental and access to larger specialized machines. Whitford saw an opportunity and decided to rent equipment from its extensive fleet. As the rental durations were extended, the natural progression was to convert some of those rentals into sales.

In 1997, The L.C. Whitford Equipment Co. Inc. was established and is headed by Steve Heckman. Whitford Equipment rents and sells new and used construction equipment over a sizeable part of New York and Pennsylvania. It has available for rent excavators, backhoes, dozers, loaders as well as cranes, pavers, road wideners and roto mills. In addition, it is a Terex dealer for backhoe loaders and compact excavators and loaders.

To maintain the equipment, Whitford Equipment has an extensive shop, an experienced staff of mechanics as well as a fully equipped service truck and a small engine repair shop.

The L.C. Whitford Equipment Co. also is focusing on the tree care business. It is the Morbark dealer for central and western New York and is working to expand its territory. In addition, it is a dealer of Rayco stump grinders.

Currently The L.C. Whitford Co. Inc. is involved in a $5-million project involving nine bridge decks on I-86 in New York. It also is on a $5- million project in Macon, GA, constructing a sound wall on the I-475 by-pass.

Today, L. Chandler Whitford, grandson of the founder, is president and his son, L. Bradley Whitford, is vice president of the company that opens the door of opportunity as it continues to grow and expand from a remote corner of New York State.

For more information, call 585/593-3601 or visit www.lcwhitford.com.