Businesses are born when entrepreneurs see something missing in a market – primarily a product or service – and businesses then tend to succeed when the market responds with demand for that product or service. Great Basin Industrial (GBI) was founded in 2006 when two industrial construction veterans – Scott Kent and Jeff Murray – saw that a quality of service was missing from the oil and gas service industry, and they aimed to meet that with high-quality plate steel construction services. The market has responded very well, and the business continues to grow.
“The company got started by two industry veterans with 20-plus years of experience in industrial welding, painting and construction,” CFO J.D. Oldham explains. “They were superintendents and wanted to do their own thing. Along the way, they’ve added more people, key managers and more customers.”
Based in Utah, GBI provides new construction as well as repairs and maintenance for industrial tanks, vessels, towers and other steel-plate structures. The company works closely with clients, engineers and contractors to provide turnkey services such as design and engineering, fabrication, field erection, piping, refractory, painting, maintenance, repairs and alterations.
The company wrapped up its work at Rio Tinto’s Kennecott copper mine earlier this year – which Oldham says was a “a major project” for GBI – and it is working on a “major development” for a rail terminal in Canada. GBI has completed work in 15 states, and Oldham notes that it serves many of the leaders of the petrochemical, mining and power industries. It also maintains strong relationships with most major engineering firms and general contractors serving the industrial market.
“We do a lot of $2 million to $3 million projects,” he says. “We are still relatively new, but there is a lot of experience here, which has allowed us to attract a good customer base. We have guys who are certified by the AWWA, API, ASME and National Pressure Vessel Board. We started with one customer and now we have 100-plus across a broad spectrum.”
Passing the X-Ray Test
The expertise of GBI’s staff allows it to work with stainless steel, high-nickel alloys and unique alloys. Oldham notes that the company also is unique in that is has expertise with elevated structures, and it works on more than just tanks, having also completed foundation, piping, paint and brick lining work.
“We’re a fabricator and field director – we can fabricate it and put it up or do one or the other,” Oldham says. “We are in the process of an expansion to increase our fabrication space, and we bought 32 acres 10 miles away from our current plant to do that. We are turnkey, a one-stop shop for everything our customers need for a tank and more – the piping as well. We also have a large repair and maintenance service within our company, which is a good percentage of our business.”
He notes that GBI continues to focus on the mining and petrochemical markets – “those are our bread and butter,” he says – and it has several trained crews who know how to work in industrial environments. GBI sees potential, however, in coal-fired power plants once more of the regulations are finalized. Oldham says the company is growing at a rate of 50 percent each year, and he attributes that to its ongoing dedication to quality and safety.
“Our people – their effort and dedication – is top-notch and it keeps the customers coming back,” he says. “Our safety and quality is the best – these are the values our owners stand for and they are the basis for our success. As an example of our quality, there was a project where they had to X-ray all of our welds, and the customer was amazed by the pass rate. We have more than 65 percent of our business from repeat customers, and we continue growing very fast.”