I have only been employed as a facilities engineer at Michigan Tech since the end of June 2015 and Gundlach Champion has been the successful bidder on two major projects that I have managed in that time span.
The first project GCI worked on was the No. 2 Fuel Oil Tank Secondary Containment Area in the 4th quarter of 2015. It entailed a large 7,400 square foot concrete containment area and an adjoining 2,400 square foot tanker truck unloading area. The project also included the setting of six horizontal storage tanks with capacities of 35,000 gallons each. Construction could not start until October 20 due to the demolition of a building located on the site and had to be completed by December 31 due to a “stop usage deadline on the existing university vertical storage tank”. Gundlach Champion finished construction December 8, well ahead of the deadline.
The second project was the 1st phase of the S-TEM ATDC Facility in the 4th quarter of 2016. The new facility consisted of a 1,000 square foot addition to the existing ATDC building. The new addition will house a “scanning transmission electron microscope” used for education and research. As with the first project, this project had a late construction start of October 10 due to the project approval date and was to be completed in two phases. Phase One was to complete the site work, foundations, and rough exterior structure before winter set in with Phase Two to follow later. Gundlach Champion was able to complete construction on December 5 before heavy snowfall set in.
My experiences at Michigan Tech were not the only times I have worked with Gundlach Champion in my career as a facilities, construction, and project engineer. In my 24-year career, I also worked with Gundlach Champion on several small projects as a senior project engineer at Smurfit Stone Container’s Ontonagon, Michigan paper mill site. In addition, I had previously worked with the company from 2012 to 2014 on two major projects at the Lundin Mining “Eagle Mine Project” mill site in Humboldt, Michigan as a construction engineer for Fluor Corporation. One project involved the complete interior refurbishment of the very large mill services building on the site and involved civil, structural, architectural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work. The second project entailed the complete removal and replacement of all of the existing concrete within the Concentrator Building. It involved underground, civil, structural, concrete column enlargements, and very precise layouts of foundations, floors, and equipment bases. Much of the work was performed throughout the winter in extremely cold and very difficult working conditions in a very tight work space because of the work taking place among other construction activities. Fluor Corporation and Lundin Mining maintained very, very strict safety and quality requirements. For GCI to accomplish that amount of work with zero accidents, the amount of precision required, and the ability to pass every quality control test very much exceeded my expectations. The project work and commitment to safety was as excellent at Michigan Tech as the previous projects, but it is something I have come to expect now from Gundlach Champion.
GCI’s personnel have always been very experienced and good to work with. They pay attention to detail, safety, schedule, and producing a quality project. Even under the most difficult conditions or time constraints and GCI has always come through.
- Larry Thorpe, P.E., Facilities Engineer