An early specialty in boring and tunneling has helped ease the recession’s drain on commercial construction for The Robert Henry Corp.
Robert Henry, who started the construction firm in 1974, quickly started serving the piping needs of small towns such as Bremen that were building wastewater treatment plants with EPA support in those days.
The company also found demand for trench work as Granger subdivisions developed, and when another firm went out of business more than 20 years ago, Robert Henry Corp. took over networking jobs for AEP.
The firm still does maintenance work on the new transform vaults and conduit runs it installed after a transformer blew up in downtown South Bend years ago.
“One of the things we’ve got going for us is we’ve done this underground electric work for years for AEP,” said Steve Henry, adding that plumbing and telecommunications as well as electrical jobs use the service. “That directional boring work has helped us a lot.”
A focus on the service on the company website, complete with an explanatory video, is drawing more business, with inquiries from as far as California.
“We’re getting calls from all over the Midwest,” Henry said. “We’ve done work all over Ohio and southern Michigan. That’s kept us going. We’re doing a fair amount of work now for NIPSCO in the western part of the state.”
The boring work keeps Robert Henry Corp. busy at a time when some other contractors are closing their doors, and its own construction division has seen relatively little business since finishing work on the new Transpo building.
“Right now, survival is the name of the game,” Henry said.