March Message

We are two-thirds of the way through what will be our busiest 1st Quarter ever. We have worked 163,154 man-hours through February 2018. That is compared to 625,409 man-hours in all of 2017. For all the people working through the winter temperatures and challenging conditions, thank you for your efforts to make us successful!

Operations Review
Chicago Region – The team in place in Chicago has my complete confidence in their ability to succeed. A great team in place there! All crews currently working.

Horizontal Directional Drilling – Awesome first year (really only 9 months as they joined in late April). What the HDD team accomplished in the first year is hard to do. The project moratorium that the PA governor put in place is over. Looks to be another great year.

UPI Access Division – I’m excited for the growth I believe this division will experience this year by getting more MN Power work along with the traditional timber matting work for digs.

Fab Shop – It was nice to see work pick up here in the tail end of 2017. The guys are now working diligently to run ASME procedures in preparation for recent client specification changes.

Cathodic Protection – Good backlog lined up. Two projects starting very soon.

Nushka Lake (Enbridge) – What a project and what a team. These folks are the majority of the hours worked this year. Lots of double shifts and long hours in tough conditions. Very safe. The pipe is in and the tie-in outage date was March 5th. Removal of the existing pipeline has been completed and demobilizing off the ice roads before warmer temperatures impact the travel lanes is ongoing. Challenging project.

Floodwood Winter Digs (TCPL) – Things are wrapping up on these multiple winter digs. It was enjoyable for me to hear about Medford, Kendall, and Isaac (Skinny) succeeding under Rich Oswskey’s leadership on these challenging digs and did they ever battle the water. Great job! Now heading back onto Dent 37.

Griffith (Enbridge) – Things are wrapping up on this project. My hat off to Jason Bekkala and Jim Mitchell and the entire team there.

Joliet CS (TCPL) – Thanks to this team for adding some needed compressor station experience to UPI’s resume of recent work!

Nexus Meter Stations – I am pretty sure that this team is cursing me out for pushing to complete this work through the winter (especially with the muddy reports that are coming in). Know that your efforts here are very much appreciated as it frees this successful team up for upcoming projects and opportunities. Great job on this project!

Duluth Airport Clearing Project – Thank you to our sister company Northland Constructors for this opportunity to be a subcontractor to them on this project. It was fun to work together and you weren’t too hard on us!

2018 Opportunities
UPI was recently awarded I-55 HDD Support and Mechanical work by BP. We also have a tremendous amount of opportunities that we have proposed on, are currently completing proposals on, and more are known to be coming. I fully expect to have some announcements in the next newsletter. 2018 is still looking to be a good year.

Winter conditions pose some unique hazards in regard to working safely. Thank you all for contributing to our drive to zero injuries! I am proud to be a part of this company because of you and the engaged construction professionals we are creating.

A number of us just attended an industry association meeting for the PLCA. One of the biggest, if not the biggest, challenges we face in the next 2-7 years is TALENT. We WILL be experiencing one of the largest generational change-outs this country has ever experienced with approximately 80M baby boomers exiting the workforce in the next 2 to 7 years. There are approximately 40M Gen-X’ers that exist in the workforce as the next generation. That leaves a tremendous opportunity for the approximately 60M Millennials that have entered or will be entering the workforce.

Starting now and in the coming years, most agree that there will be more change coming at an ever increasing rate. The organizations with the people that are the most accepting of change and consider it as a tremendous opportunity will win. The younger generation is good at adaptability and accepting change. They are also tremendously tech savvy and embrace new ways to communicate. They are also loyal brand ambassadors (if the organization they work for is engaging them). These are great strengths to focus on!

The skills and experience leaving the workforce will need to be passed down to the younger generations in a short amount of time. In an effort to compete in the talent war, UPI will be rolling out a program in the next 18 months to recruit and train new field leaders. The majority (and most effective part) of this skill and knowledge transfer will take place in the field. I have the following call to action for UPI’s senior field leaders…..find those junior field leaders that naturally align with our company values and that show promise, and start mentoring them. We have a tremendous amount of training opportunities available with UPI and our parent company APi. Please take advantage of them.

As we develop these programs and beyond, our current junior field leaders have the greatest opportunity to make us successful here. Our current workforce of laborers, operators, welders/fitters, and teamsters have one of the biggest opportunities to affect the success of an organization than ever before in US history. You can do that by taking advantage of the development opportunities available to you and progressing to ever increasing levels of leadership.

-Mel Olson, President