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A vintage and new Michels pickup truck sit in front of the main Brownsville Headquarters.
Our Story

The Meaning of Michels

Michels is a proud, family owned and operated company, both factually and philosophically. We are guided by core values and committed to principles developed by the Michels family since 1959. We believe in providing solutions and continuously improving the quality and scope of our work. We care about our people, customers, and communities where we live and work.

We move ahead with passion and drive to separate ourselves from our competitors. With each passing year, we pursue new and more ways to build and maintain the world’s infrastructure. We tackle the largest projects and have the experience, structure, stability, and grit to deliver safe, reliable results. Building the way to a better future? We Do That … & More.

Mission & Vision

Vision

To exceed our customers’ expectations by continually setting the global standard for quality, safety, and environmental stewardship in utility and infrastructure construction.

Mission

To be the foremost provider of innovative construction solutions and value for our clients in their mission to serve the growing utility and infrastructure requirements of their customers around the world.

Core Values

Safety hard Hat Icon

Safety

Safety is the cornerstone of our culture.

A globe depicting Earth

Environment

We are committed to preserving and improving the environments where we live and work.

Hands shaking

Integrity

Our actions are characterized by integrity, trust and respect.

Icon of a group of people side by side.

Dedication & Teamwork

Our people are dedicated and share a passion for quality and innovation.

Four hands intertwined together in a circle.

Social Responsibility

We are committed to being a responsible community partner and value the diversity of individuals and their contributions.

Three gear icons connected together.

Sustainable Operations

We have sustainable operations driven by our ability to execute swift, strategic decisions.

History

Black and white headshot of Dale Michels holding a communication device

And so it began …

In the late 1950s, pipeline welder Dale Michels had the vision to start his own business. He reached out to his brother-in-law, Ted Koenigs, and Ted’s business partner, Jim Michel. Michels Pipeline Construction Inc. was established in 1959.

Guided by Dale’s entrepreneurial spirit, Michels overcame considerable obstacles in its infancy by focusing on future opportunities. Inspired by founders Dale and Ruth, their sons lead a company where innovation is an expectation, not an exception.

Metal Wisconsin state outline with established 1959 written in the middle.
Dale Michels stands outside in the Brownsville Yard on a cold winter day.

A story of dedication

Soon after Michels was established, a pipe fell onto Dale Michels, crushing his hip. With Dale in the hospital and the company’s future in peril, most crew members planned to leave. But Jerry (known as “Employee Number 1”), stepped up, convinced them to stay, and ran day-to-day operations in the field. By night, Jerry visited Dale in the hospital, discussing strategy for the next day. The pattern continued for a year as Dale recovered.

Dedication

Branching out

Diversification has been our goal since the beginning. Some of Michels Pipeline Construction’s first projects included installing telephone conduit in Waterloo, WI, and 16 miles of 6-inch steel gas mains from Wausau to Marathon, WI.

1970

In the 1970s, Michels expanded underground utility construction services by adding sewer, water, and tunneling operations.

1989

Continuing to diversify, Michels purchased crushing companies R.M. Hinze in the 1970s, 4X Corporation in 1989, and more than 100 pits and quarries throughout Wisconsin.

1997

In 1997, Michels acquired Superior Electric Company in Wisconsin and continued on to become a nationwide leader in electrical transmission and distribution line and substation construction.

1999

In 1999, Michels expanded our footprint on the West Coast by acquiring Pilchuck Contractors, an underground utility contractor. Michels continued West Coast growth by acquiring the Salem, OR-based pipeline rehabilitation business, Gelco Services, Inc.

2001

In 2001, Michels Pipeline Construction, Inc. was renamed Michels Corporation to better represent the breadth and depth of services provided.

2003

After purchasing the first vertical drill rig to support power transmission line construction, Michels entered the foundations market in early 2003.

2013

Michels continued to grow market share by acquiring Gillen Co. in 2013. Other strategic growth included the additions of dewatering, pipe fabrication, concrete paving, and Direct Pipe to our portfolio.

2015

Michels completed a world-record 12,459-foot Horizontal Directional Drill installation, a 4,038-foot Direct Pipe installation that set a North American record, and a robust fiber optic network on five islands in American Samoa.

2016

President Pat Michels received the Pipeline Leadership Award at the second annual Pipeline Leadership Conference, and our company received the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Best of the Best Award in Crash Prevention and the Department of Defense's Patriot Award for support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

2019

Michels continued to expand the limits of trenchless construction. Michels used horizontal directional drilling (HDD) to complete a world record-setting installation of a 13,247-foot-long 20-inch pipe under the Missouri River in North Dakota.

2021

Adding to its marine operations, Michels acquired two companies, PCi Dredging and Great Lakes Diving and Salvage. Michels extend the limits of trenchless construction by completing a 15,426-foot horizontal directional drill (HDD) of a 24-inch pipe crossing of Lake Sakakawea on the Missouri River in North Dakota. Michels acquires J.D. Hair & Associates, a top trenchless engineering firm.

A vintage depiction of a Michels worker operating a plowing machine
Our core values graphic.
R1VER Milwaukee office building near a river.
A collection of people who have been recognized for their ability to demonstrate Michels Core Values.