FCC Construction celebrates 60 years of success and growth.
It started as a small business that specialized in masonry. Its founder, Don Fredricks, had only six employees working for him in 1959. But Caledonia, Mich.-based FCC Construction has come a long way since that time. Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the company has grown into a full-service design/build general contracting firm with a full-service steel fabrication/erection shop.
“Today we have over 80 employees and do over 30 million in sales,” says Byrne Harmon, FCC’s owner and president. “Each year, we’ve grown little by little and we have proven to be sustainable through both good and bad times.”
Harmon started with the company in 1991 and purchased 20 percent of FCC’s stock in 1998 and then operated the company with the founder’s son, Tim Fredricks, until Fredricks retired in 2015. Today, he is the sole owner. But Harmon doesn’t take credit for the company’s success.
“You are only as good as your employees,” he says. “This company would not be where it is today without the employees who show up day after day to make everything happen. Everyone in the company plays an intracule part to FCC’s success.”
Roughly half of FCC’s employees have been with the company for more than 10 years. The company also offers continual training for its employees to ensure they are up to date on necessary industry certifications.
In 1998, FCC had a small steel fabrication division building miscellaneous stairways and other small steel projects. When the economy slowed in 2008, the company went into the steel business full force to keep from laying off employees. The company soon found its niche in the market.
“FCC’s structural steel side of the business has grown into one of the top four in Western Michigan and with a full-service steel operation from detailing through complete erection, we have placed a good system in a very solid market and continue to grow,” Harmon says.
FCC prides itself on its ability to tackle a structural steel project. Its experts manage the process from procurement to design and installation. The company’s AISC-certified fabrication shop includes estimators, detailers, shop foreman, fabricators and erectors.
Its on-site erection crews monitor every phase of the process – prepared to respond to developing issues. Aside from structural steel, FCC also provides miscellaneous steel products that include decorative hand railing, stairways and specialty equipment support systems.
FCC works in a variety of different markets that include heavy industrial, commercial, retail and civil. “We work with a lot of plastics and metal manufacturers and do work in the tool and die industry,” Harmon says.
One of the company’s recent high-profile projects is the RE/MAX corporate office in Byron Center, Mich. Completed in August 2018, the 2-story, 24,000-square-foot building features full glass curtain walls, mix of masonry and metal panel systems and lots of open office space.
“It’s a beautiful state-of-the-art building,” Harmon says. “It has a lot of high-end interiors, masonry and architectural panel. The interior has a lot of built-in offices, finished ceilings, lots of glass doors and the drywall finish had to be to top notch. The second floor had all custom build walls and trim.”
Much of the construction on the $4 million project was done during the winter and required a great deal of temporary protection and coordination. FCC responded with a phased build out of the second floor that lead to completing the project on time. The project was also completed on a tight construction site surrounded by busy streets and businesses. Although FCC’s team encountered challenges with weather, it delivered the project on time and within budget.
Another interesting project involved the Duncan Aviation airplane maintenance building in Battle Creek, Mich. The $7 million project included a 90,000-square-foot airplane maintenance hangar with a 300-foot clear span structure.
“It was one of the biggest projects and one of our good customers,” Harmon says. “We had two cranes on siteand a 15 man steel crew to set it.”
The project featured an impressive open floor space that included the efficacy of a Simple Saver roof system delivering a R-43 isolation factor and a built-in fall protection system designed to ensure employee safety.
“Safety has always been a top priority at FCC,” Harmon says. “We have a third party company that does walk-thrus on all our projects and we train all our employees two times a year and continue to enforce it every day.”
In addition to the vast hangar space FCC constructed the two-story structural steel office that incorporated custom designed stair and railing along with unique marquee canopies.
Harmon says that he is involved in all of FCC’s design/build projects from the beginning to end. In addition to his company’s employees, he also credits FCC’s success to relationships.
“That’s how we’ve gone from $7 million per year to $30 million per year – it’s all about relationships,” he says.
When it comes to the future of his company, he wants to teach the younger generation about the importance of work force development and how construction can be a very viable profession. “It’s extremely gratifying to take a project from design phase to completion and then drive by that same building or structure 5, 10 and 15 years later,” he says.