Impacting Our City’s Landscape
Every business that chooses to locate in Oak Creek enriches the community in terms of jobs and tax base, but not many can claim to enhance the physical landscape of the City. Edgerton Contractors, located directly west of the Oak Creek Police Station on Ryan Road, does exactly that.
Founded in 1961, the company took its name from its original location on Edgerton Avenue. The business moved to Oak Creek in 1966 and built its new facility on Ryan Road approximately eight years ago. Although they began in the landscaping business, the company now specializes in large-scale earth moving, underground utility installations and civil engineering site work – a combination that makes them flexible and sought-after for complex projects.
“We build everything except the building, and what’s inside it,” says Edgerton’s General Counsel and Vice President Ryan Murphy. By the time a structure is under construction, Edgerton has likely finished its work, making it perhaps a less visible, but still critically important, contributor to the project.
With a second office in Madison, Edgerton primarily takes on projects in Wisconsin and neighboring states, including Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota. Murphy notes that the company likes to serve the communities that they – and their staff of approximately 150 – live in. Edgerton has, indeed, been involved in several major projects in the Oak Creek community, including the WE Energies Power Plant expansion, the Lake Vista Park development, the Ryan Road interchange, and site preparation for the new Zünd headquarters in Drexel Town Square.
The impact of Edgerton’s work doesn’t stop at the boundaries of our City, however. In partnership with some of the largest construction firms in the state and country, they have been a key player in the Mitchell, Marquette and Zoo interchange projects, among others. Part of the company’s success can be attributed to its utilization of cutting-edge technology to provide its customers with precision and potential cost savings. With technology, their team is able to analyze all aspects of the project prior to construction, while looking for discrepancies that would otherwise cause an error being discovered during construction. This leads to a more efficient construction path. Edgerton has been using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology since the early 2000s, long before it became an industry standard. Once a client provides a design drawing or concept plan, Edgerton’s engineering staff will 3D model and map the project. These plans are then uploaded to the equipment in the field so that operators can view them on-screen inside the cab and know precisely where to dig.
Having GPS in the bulldozer or excavator also can provide other valuable information to the operator. For instance, the uploaded plans will contain boundaries of any areas to be avoided, such as wetlands or other environmentally sensitive areas. The GPS can be set to sound an alarm any time the equipment gets within a set distance of this boundary, so the operator can be sure to exercise extra caution near sensitive areas. This technology helps both Edgerton and its clients maintain the highest standard of protecting environmentally sensitive areas.
Another technology that Edgerton has embraced is the use of drones for a variety of surveying and construction purposes. Drones can be used throughout the duration of a project to capture updated aerial imagery at different phases of work. Each drone flight not only generates a three-dimensional aerial photo of the client’s site for use in creating an elevation map of the surface, but can also be used to capture images of very specific conditions or locations. In this way, the drone can be used to obtain very high-resolution photographs of areas that are otherwise unsafe or difficult to access by an individual on foot.
For example, the drone can fly over water to get detailed photographs of a harbor breakwater or can fly next to very steep slopes to help assess their stability. Edgerton’s ability to provide its clients with full access to site data, including photos and contour maps, adds a level of service unmatched by most contractors.
However, technology is just one piece of Edgerton’s formula for success. The breadth of the company’s services and its ability to provide a wide range of custom deliverables is one reason they have a stellar reputation with their clients. “That’s where our strength is,” notes Murphy, “People are realizing that we’re not just an excavator with a dump truck. We do earthwork management, and have connections to many different resources, which allows us to be a good partner in many types of projects.”
One example of this was Edgerton’s partnership with the City of Oak Creek during construction of the Lake Vista Park. “Edgerton’s engineering team made a point to understand not only the earthwork needs, but also the importance of meeting all environmental needs associated with the project,” says Susan Winnen, Oak Creek’s environmental engineer. “By systematically preparing and planning ahead for all tasks, they were able to save the City money by identifying potential construction conflicts in advance, and presenting cost-effective options for resolution.”
Edgerton’s dedication to protecting the environment and implementing sustainable business practices led them to receive a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Green Tier designation in 2012. They have voluntarily committed to continually lower the overall impact of their business operations on the environment, focusing on the reduction of pollution and construction waste, and effectively managing stormwater and erosion. This has been done, in part, with the purchase of new, more efficient construction equipment to lower emissions, and establishing a prairie on their Oak Creek office site to reduce mowing and eliminate the need to apply lawn fertilizers and chemicals.
Beyond their commitment to sustainability, Edgerton’s company philosophy can be summed up in three words: Safety, Quality and Efficiency, or SQE. Examples of the quality and efficiency of their work are abundant. The company prides itself on doing the job right and lowering the costs of each project without cutting corners. These elements could not be achieved, however, without dedication to protecting its strongest resource, its employees. This is accomplished through on-site safety personnel, comprehensive training and hazard analysis.
Beyond those measures, field staff are encouraged to put a photo of their loved ones inside their hard hat as a reminder to stay safe. Murphy points out, “Being safe helps not only our employees but the families they go back to at the end of the day.”
To learn more about Edgerton Construction and employment opportunities within the company, please visit Edgerton.us.