As published in Toledo Business Journal - May 1, 2017
Miller Brothers Construction, Inc., a family-owned highway construction company based in Archbold, is spending $5.62 million to relocate its offices a few miles south and crossing the Henry County line as the business expands.
The company broke ground in mid-November on a new building with a 31,000 square foot shop and an 8,000 square foot office area that will house equipment maintenance personnel, management, and possibly safety staff.
“Our office and our shop is currently one mile into Fulton County off of Route 66,” said Brad Miller, president. “We have been growing and we’re out of room in our shop, and it’s a little older, so this building will give us a chance to have more room, and to be more efficient.
“For instance, we’ll have overhead cranes,” he continued. “We do heavy highway construction, and we’re just out of room at the old place, so we are building the new building on property we already owned, that just happened to be down the street and just across the County line. We are within two or three miles of where our home currently is, so that’s one of the reasons we’re moving out of the Village of Archbold and out of Fulton County, and into Henry County. I think we’ll create a few jobs over time, but we’re just relocating to somewhere, hopefully, that will make us more competitive and more efficient.”
“The Community Investment Corporation (CIC) values Miller Brothers decision to expand and invest $5.62 million here in Henry County,” said Denise Dahl, Henry County CIC executive director. “We look forward to partnering with Miller Brothers and supporting their growth and success here, not just now, but into the future.”
Miller expects to spend $5-6 million on developing the new property – a figure kept as low as possible by self-performing the site work, drainage, and some of the steel construction. Archbold-based Lugville Construction is the general contractor and provided the pre-engineered buildings. Miller Brothers hopes to move into the new facility this fall.
“We did our own site work, dirt, and drainage, because that’s what we do,” said Miller. “Not only do we build roads and bridges, but we did the site work for the Home Depot Distribution Center in Toledo, and we’re working at the Toledo Hospital. We’ll do dirt work, dirt and drainage, and then we have a steel company, Black Swamp Steel out of Holland, and they are setting the structural steel for us.”
“One thing that I think has helped us grow is we don’t just do Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) work, we do private site work, or site development, as well,” he added. “We also do a lot of landfill excavation. We have a little diversity in what we do, but basically, when it comes down to it, we work at the ground level and below. We move dirt, we put pipe in, but we can do it in different markets. We can work in some of the refineries, or for Ford up in Michigan. It’s the diversity of the type of projects we do, and the commercial and industrial markets are picking up a little bit more.”
Miller estimates that his company employs 80-90 office and management staff year-round, and hires 500-600 union contractors at the height of the construction season. He expects the company may employ five to six new regular staff over the next several years.
“We’ve been growing because the economy’s picking up, and we’re expanding what we do,” he said. “This building will allow us to also maybe start training some mechanics, and doing a few more things in-house because we’ll have room to tear a piece of equipment apart. If you look at our old shop, there were only about three to four bays where we could tear a piece of equipment apart, and if we had to order parts we were kind of dead in the water in the shop while it was in the way. Now we’ll have seven to eight bays, so we can have a few more things going on at once and our efficiency should pick up as well.”
The company has owned 40 acres of storage property one mile into Henry County for close to 15 years, according to Miller. Thirty of the 40 acres are still farm ground, while three buildings on the site have served as a bridge yard for bridge crews.
Miller is still working out the specific details of the new buildings, but said he is putting off certain details if it is something that can be added years later. The building is designed so that more bays can be added if needed in the future.
“Our office and our shop are currently on the same piece of property,” said Miller. “It’s literally at the end of County Road B in Fulton County, and the new shop is just on the south side of County Road A in Henry County. So I guess that’s about a mile, mile-and-a-quarter. But we’re penned in at our current location so we couldn’t expand any further, so this’ll relieve a little bit of pressure so that we can move around in the office.”
Miller Brothers Construction, Inc. won The Blade’s Top Workplaces honor in 2016.
“We’re a third-generation family-owned company, my grandfather and his brother started things, but we’ve had a lot of good people work for us,” said Miller. “Anybody can buy equipment, the difference in what we do is our people. We have a lot of good people, some second and third-generation employees as well, so we operate as a family company, and we treat people like we would want to be treated.”