The recent recession has been tough on the construction industry, but the Yates Companies has fared very well during the economic slump maintaining annual revenues averaging $1.5 billion over the past few years.
“We have maintained our annual revenues during the recession and over the past couple of years have seen that volume start to go up,” said Jared Fuller, marketing director of W.G. Yates & Sons Construction, one of six companies under the Yates Companies umbrella. “We have more than 12,000 employees throughout all of our companies. We pretty much work all across the U.S. and have offices in Maine, Montana and in multiple states throughout the Southeast from Texas over to Florida and up through Tennessee. We’re a global construction service provider. We have worked in more than 10 different countries across the globe. Basically we do anything from pre-construction and engineering services through construction and close out.”
Other Yates Companies are JESCO Construction in Tupelo, Edwards Electric Service in Philadelphia, Superior Asphalt in Byram, Blaine Construction in Knoxville, Tenn., and Merit Electrical in Prairieville, La.
Yates Companies, which is the second-largest company based in Mississippi based on annual sales, is ranked by Engineering News Record as among the top construction services providers in the country. Yates Construction was awarded the 2013 ABC Excellence in Construction Award for work on the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas Capital Improvement Program project in South Texas.
The company has grown from humble beginnings when it was founded by Bill Yates in 1964. Bill Yates is the chairman of The Yates Companies Inc. and is based in the home office in Philadelphia. William Yates, president and CEO of Yates Construction, is based in the Biloxi office.
Fuller said the company has a very diverse scope of business and has a major focus on recruiting and retaining the right people, and giving them the tools and resources to be successful.
“The success of the company centers around our people,” Fuller said. “We have the best people in the industry. We also have a very progressive business model with the diversity of the type of work we can do being in the forefront. We are vertically integrated, which is a very unique aspect of Yates. We can self perform a lot of the trades. That is a big differentiator that allows us to do a lot of different types of work.”
Yates just completed a large manufacturing facility in Mexico, is currently working on a large office building for CenturyLink in Monroe, La., and is doing a large expansion for International Paper in Memphis, Tenn. Other current projects include the River Downs Casino in Cincinnati, Ohio, a large Department of State project in Mexico, a polysilicon manufacturing facility outside of Chattanooga, Tenn., and the Golden Nugget Casino and Resort in Lake Charles, La. On the Gulf Coast, Yates has been the dominant force in casino construction and renovation building the Beau Rivage, and working on the IP, the Imperial Palace, Grand Casino, Isle of Capri and Treasure Bay.
Yates also completed the Wallace Creek Regimental Complex, a large military complex with dorms and other supporting facilities in North Carolina, logging two million work hours without a lost time incident.
“Safety is number one,” Fuller said. “It is our first core value. We push that from the top down. That is our number one focus. We start off meetings and management calls with safety moments or safety near hits where we identify a potential issue before it happens and discuss proactive measures on how to plan the work safely. We have proactive safety programs such as behavioral-based safety. We have an internal program called our brother’s keeper program where we have peers look out after each other.”
Fuller said through the collaboration of everyone at Yates Construction, they have achieved a high level of safety success and have been recognized locally and nationally. In the past few years, Yates has collected 40 significant safety awards including the ABC National Safety Excellence Award, the highest level of safety recognition from Associated Builders and Contractors.
“Utilizing behavioral-based safety management, our culture supports a zero-injury philosophy achieved by ongoing education, training and behavioral modification,” Fuller said. “Our policy encourages dedication and an unwavering awareness to the safety and well-being of the job site as a whole. Experience, continuing education, and personal responsibility ensure adherence to strict safety standards, and the results of our commitment are evidenced by continuously low experience modification rates and incident rates.”
Fuller said the prospects for work in the year ahead looks very positive.
“We see work picking up,” he said. “Certainly there are more opportunities out there than 12 to 18 months ago, so that is a good sign.”
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