Quality from Start to Finish

Emery & Sons Construction Group
Written by Robert Hoshowsky

Emery & Sons Construction Group is built on the hard work, dedication and commitment to customer satisfaction set in place by its founder almost fifty years ago. It continues to be an industry leader in heavy civil construction and takes on a range of underground utilities and site work projects of all sizes. The company prides itself on the professionalism, superior work and on-time and on-budget completion which continues to earn it repeat business and new clients.
Emery & Sons continues the tradition of hard work, honesty and quality of company founder Loran ‘Dale’ Emery to this very day. The commitment to its values is extended to all clients, subcontractors, suppliers and associates.

Mr. Emery worked in the shipyards during the Second World War and was soon employed by Kaiser, the company made famous by American industrialist and shipbuilder Henry J. Kaiser. Among Kaiser’s many large-scale projects are the Bonneville and Grand Coulee dams, with the company serving as one of the prime contractors responsible for construction of the Hoover Dam.

Dale took on a number of local building projects such as minor curb and concrete flatwork projects before forming Emery & Sons in 1967. He was soon joined by his sons and their spouses.

The company expanded to take on underground projects and public and private infrastructure works. All the while, Dale worked tirelessly until the age of ninety, passing away on December 15, 2014, at age 98.

The company created by Loran ‘Dale’ Emery is based in Salem, Oregon, just an hour’s drive from Portland, the largest city in the state and is licensed in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Idaho and Montana. Depending where it is working, the company will also have field offices on location.

Emery & Sons has a reputation for the quality of its work, and that starts with hiring the right people for the job and doing everything possible to ensure they are content. This has resulted in solid employee retention for the business. “We’re close to 180 employees now – by far the largest we’ve ever been – and we have more people on the payroll than ever before,” says General Manager Dan Vannoy. “We are very busy and will probably do close to $60 million worth of business this year, with the majority being self-performed.”

Mr. Vannoy has been with the company since 1997. He comes from a family background in cattle ranching and an education in construction engineering management and animal science from Montana State University. “I’m part-time cowboy, full-time construction worker, I guess,” he says, laughing.

He is forty-two and says there are still some staff at Emery & Sons who have been there since before he was born, which stands as a testament to the company’s deep respect for its employees.

“We are a company that people want to work for because we treat them right and take care of them and value them as a person,” he says. “We have really good competitive wages and benefits, so we attract and retain a lot of very good staff, with very little turnover.”

“One of the things that we pride ourselves on is we are a company where owners want us to do their work,” comments Vannoy. “We’ve never had a claim on a project. We’ve always completed projects on time and we have an exceptional team of employees that can tackle just about anything and do it successfully. We always prefer to promote from within and we make sure that there is always room to climb the ladder. We want to make sure that no one gets stuck in a position. We encourage each employee to do bigger and better things. This is consistent for me, all the way down to our newest employees. We invest a great deal in our people, train them well and always give them the tools they need to be successful.”

Emery & Sons believes in giving young people workplace opportunities and works with colleges and universities, including Oregon State University, Washington State University, Montana State University and others in the Northwest to bring in interns.

Emery & Sons Construction Group continues to raise the bar as a leader in heavy civil construction projects. Although it often works in the $10 million to $20 million range, the company has the capabilities to take on smaller works in the $5 million range that require a speedy turnaround, while working on very large anchor projects at the same time.

It provides a range of services including construction manager or general contractor of design-build, public infrastructure improvements, site work developments, subdivisions, tanks and reservoirs, treatment plants and pump stations and trenchless construction.

The company takes on projects involving pump stations, large-diameter pipelines, industrial site development, environmental and pipeline rehabilitation, water reservoirs, transportation and more. Much of the company’s work is competitively bid and negotiated private work. It works with a range of clients from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Clean Water Services to the cities of Portland, Salem, Albany, Beaverton and others.

“We try to focus on jobs that may require prequalification,” says Vannoy. “We do a lot of big, welded steel water lines, where we are one of the few contractors in Oregon who can bid on the type of work – where it is based on your resume, and you are preselected.” Over the years, the company has established numerous working relationships with quality strategic partners, including an established local fabrication shop that performs its manufacturing.

Emery & Sons Construction Group have been recognized for its outstanding performance by the American Public Works Association Environmental (Project of the Year, 2010) and the 2010 Best Civil / Public Works Project by NW Construction Magazine (10 Best of Awards), to name a few. Still, the company’s greatest reward is its repeat business coming from satisfied customers.

Among the company’s recent projects are works for the City of Lake Oswego, the City of Hood River and the City of Bend. For the City of Lake Oswego, Emery & Sons accepted three pipeline projects that saw the company engaged from December of 2013 to May of this year.

In addition to the construction of thousands of linear feet of welded pipe of various diameters (six-inch to forty-two-inch diameter ductile iron potable water pipelines), the company was also responsible for valves, fittings, relocation of existing pipelines, pipeline cleaning and related works.

The Bend Surface Water Improvement Project was completed in November of 2015, with a final cost of $12 million. The project saw the company install approximately 13,200 linear feet of thirty-six-inch high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe, 37,000 LF of thirty-inch welded steel cement mortar lined and coated pipeline, 1,700 linear feet of restrained joint ductile iron pipe, an aerial crossing of Tumalo Creek with epoxy-coated and heat-traced welded steel pipe and more.

The company is presently in the final stages of the Hood River Waste Water Treatment Plant Outfall Extension Project, which was initiated in April. The project construction “consisted of modifications to the existing effluent structure of the waste water treatment plant’s disinfection basin, installation of approximately 1,985-feet of new out-of-water 36-inch HDPE outfall pipe with related manholes, installation of approximately 335-feet of new in-water 34-inch HDPE outfall pipe, installation of a new HDPE 12-port in-water diffuser and construction of a new bike path,” according to the company.

Emery & Sons was also responsible for reconstruction of a cul-de-sac, along with modifications to the existing storm water collection system to satisfy Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) requirements.

Much of the company’s business comes from word-of-mouth recommendations and contacts within the industry. “We reach out to a lot of developers when we hear about a project – early in the process – so this gives us much better control over the process and how the work goes,” says Vannoy.

Private market work, which was down between 2008 and 2009, has made a significant rebound in recent months. As the company continues to be invited to participate in larger, high-profile projects, one thing is for certain: the legacy of quality, customer service, timely and cost-conscious completion and respect for clients and staff fostered by founder Loran ‘Dale’ Emery will continue for decades to come.



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