Michels Corp.: Making History For 50 Years

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | June 2009 Vol. 64 No. 6
Founders of Michels Pipeline (left to right) are: Ted Koenigs, Dale Michels and Jim Michel.

Brian Johnson terms Michels' 50th anniversary a celebration of endurance, pride and success for everyone at Michels.

"For a business that has grown from one man's simple idea to become a small Wisconsin gas distribution contractor, and then evolves into a leading North American utility contractor is a remarkable accomplishment," said Johnson. "And that accomplishment is the result of some incredible people and very loyal, satisfied customers over the last five decades."

Teamwork

With many milestones in its 50 year history, perhaps one of the most important occurred shortly after the company was started. Dale Michels was seriously injured while the young company was working on one of its first large projects. Without their leader, the crew didn't waver, didn't give up, and completed the job.

"That the new company survived Dale's injury is a major event in Michels history," said Johnson. "The way our employees went forward without Dale's presence, completed the job, and carried the company forward, speaks volumes about the team members that Dale chose and the character of employees who have taken the company to where it is today."

Indeed, the Michels family credits its employees – now numbering more than 4,000 – with a large part of the company's success. Almost 75 percent of the company's employees have been with the company more than 10 years.

"A good company attracts good people," said Johnson. "We need to provide a quality workplace, a great place to work, one with challenging opportunities, state-of-the-art facilities with the right technology and tools and modern equipment, and a pay structure that rewards performance and exhibits the company's core values."

What about the future?

"Change," said Johnson. "Five to six years ago, we weren't in businesses that today represents as much as the total volume of our business then. We know that if we don't change, we're standing still and going nowhere. We understand that we can take our skills and apply them to a world of opportunity. Some ideas for the future are still in the planning stage, and some have yet to be discovered. We need to be adaptable; we need to think of new ways to do old things; we need to advance the technology of our businesses, we need to embrace change. We still subscribe to the belief that we can do whatever we put our hearts and minds to. We have safely stayed vertical to our business.

"My vision is that the next generation here at Michels will build on what we too have created – just as Dale Michels created it for us. The next generation has a wonderful opportunity before them."