Our History

  • 1959

    1959

    Michels begins doing business as a gas pipeline contractor providing the construction and installation of natural gas distribution systems to Wisconsin utilities.

  • 1963

    1963

    Michels enters the telephone cable contractor field providing outside plant construction and installation of buried telephone cable systems in Wisconsin.

  • 1970

    1970

    Michels expands its knowledge of underground utility construction and forms a Sewer, Water and Tunnel Division.

  • 1976

    1976

    Michels begins producing crushed aggregates and supplying materials for various road and building construction projects throughout eastern Wisconsin. Michels Materials Division operates more than 100 limestone quarries and gravel pits throughout Wisconsin and is the largest aggregate producer in the state.

  • 1977

    1977

    Michels becomes heavily involved in the construction of rural water distribution systems throughout the northern plain states. These new services include construction of water mains, laterals and residential water service.

  • 1983

    1983

    Twenty years after the completion of its first telephone cable job, Michels becomes one of the first contractors involved in the construction of fiber optic cable systems in the United States. Michels develops unique methods and builds customized equipment for completing this type of construction. Notable examples of this are Michels' design and fabrication of several rail-mounted cable plows. Today, Michels Communications is one of the largest design and outside plant construction telecommunication contractors in the United States.

  • 1988

    1988

    Michels masters a technologically advanced new method of underground utility construction known as horizontal directional drilling. Directional drilling is a specialized method of boring using state-of-the-art equipment. Michels has installed pipe up to 60-inches in diameter and currently holds the record for the longest pull back of 15,700 linear feet. This advanced method of boring is used to cross beneath bodies of water and structures where traditional boring and trenching is either impossible or impractical. Horizontal directional drilling is another leading-edge technology for underground utility construction by Michels Directional Crossings.

  • 1996

    1996

    Michels' team of engineers, electricians and hydraulic specialists, successfully designs and manufactures the most powerful directional drilling rig to date. Dubbed Hercules-1200 for its enormous power and pullback capabilities (1.2 million pounds push/pullback), the rig adds more diversity to Michels' fleet of drilling rigs. Hercules-1200 fills the need for installing large diameter, heavy wall pipe as well as drilling through hard-consolidated (rock) ground conditions and tackling the most difficult installations.

  • 1997

    1997

    Adding to the diversity of Michels' utility construction business, newly acquired Superior Electric Company (founded in 1949) of Appleton, Wisconsin, provides greater depth to the operations. With this acquisition, Michels adds specialized skills in electrical line and substation construction, industrial electric design/build construction, and teledata and audio/video design, wiring and interface. Superior Electric eventually transitions its name to Michels Power.

    Michels' Canadian presence is established with the creation of Michels Directional Crossings Co., located in Calgary (Airdrie), Alberta. This Canadian facility and workforce helps Michels establish a greater directional drilling presence throughout Canada.

  • 1999

    1999

    Michels acquires Pilchuck Contractors, Inc. of Redmond, Washington. Pilchuck is a Michels' wholly owned Seattle-based underground utility contractor that has served the needs of gas and telecommunications customers throughout the Northwest for more than 15 years. Pilchuck joins Michels with almost 200 skilled tradespeople. This acquisition expands Michels' gas distribution and telecommunications construction businesses throughout the Pacific Northwest.

    Michels' team of experts successfully design and manufacture a second "Hercules-1200" possessing capabilities of 1.2 million pounds push/pullback power, adding more diversity to its fleet of drilling rigs. Hercules-1200 is utilized for installing large diameter heavy wall pipe, as well as drilling through hard-consolidated (rock) ground conditions and large diameter long installations.

  • 2001

    2001

    Michels Pipeline Construction, Inc. begins a new era, changing its name to Michels Corporation. For more than 40 years the name Michels Pipeline Construction has epitomized the origin of success in the gas pipeline utility construction industry. Over the years, Michels has diversified and evolved into a company, which provides a wide array of services to the construction industry. The name Michels Corporation represents the breadth of the services and capabilities in linking systems for energy, distribution and communications.

  • 2002

    2002

    Michels Corporation acquires BBC as part of the Mid-America Line and Cable division.

    Michels also acquires Anderson Bros. & Johnson, located in Wausau, Wisconsin, which mines the only deep-red granite in North America.

  • 2003

    2003

    Michels forms a new division, Michels Drilled Foundations. With drilling capabilities of more than 12 feet in diameter to 120 feet deep, Michels Drilled Foundations can drill and install building and sign foundations, power transmission poles, geological site assessments, landfill wells and dewatering as well as foundations for towers, bridges and roads.

    Michels Pipeline Construction expands by becoming the successful bidder of the CenterPoint (Minnegasco) blanket contract. This adds millions of feet of distribution lines per year and tens of thousands of new gas services annually. A new facility is opened in Burnsville, Minnesota. Michels Corporation acquires an office and yard facility in Phoenix, Arizona, gaining a permanent presence in the Southwest.

  • 2004

    2004

    Michels Mid-America Line and Cable division changes its name to Michels Communications to encompass its diversification as a telecommunications contactor. Michels is now involved in many varying aspects of communications, including network design, installation and maintenance. Michels ventures west by purchasing the well-established cured-in-place pipe business of Gelco Services, Inc. based in Salem, Oregon. In addition to the traditional work of concrete and pipeline rehabilitation services, Gelco/Michels Pipe Services performs the installation of cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) as well as resin impregnated cured-in-place lining, and continues to design better ways of installation while perfecting the entire process.

    Michels Corporation forms Michels Wind Energy; however, Michels' experience in constructing wind farms dates back to 1999 when the company was contracted to work on a wind farm in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Since then, Michels has grown to add 120 erection cranes to its arsenal with capabilities up to 660 tons and has won Western Builder Magazine's Project of the Year for Wisconsin's Forward Wind Farm.

    Michels Directional Crossings moves its Canadian operations to the Edmonton, Alberta area (Nisku). Michels Pipeline Construction further expands by completing four critical pumping stations. Michels Power works together on this "One Michels" project by completing all electric construction. Michels' skilled technicians manufacture another drilling rig, the DD-840, which brings the total fleet to more than 65 drilling rigs.

  • 2005

    2005

    To solidify the Michels' presence in Chicago, Illinois, Michels opens a regional facility in Rockdale, Illinois. This location provides office space, a large warehouse, shop area and more than four acres of well-lit and fenced-in yard for storage.

    Michels Corporation enters the concrete paving industry, a natural extension for the company that produces more than 10 million tons of aggregates annually. Michels Paving provides quality concrete paving services to public and private sectors.

    Michels Corporation purchases the assets of PCC Construction Co. and its sister companies, completing another major step in the company's plan to become a leading contractor in Wisconsin's concrete paving industry.

    Michels Pipeline Construction increases its presence in mainline pipeline construction. Michels' first major project includes refurbishing 327 miles of 22-inch pipeline across three Midwestern states.

  • 2006

    2006

    Michels Pipeline Construction adds its first 42-inch mainline spread, completing 164 miles of both 42-inch and 20-inch.

    Michels Pipe Services successfully installs more than 1 million feet of pipe underground. Michels builds a new facility in Salem, Oregon. This facility provides ample office space, maintenance and warehouse buildings, yard and a wet-out shop.

    Michels Directional Crossings receives two awards from Trenchless Technology magazine. Michels receives Project of the Year for 7,600-feet, 20-inch diameter crossing under the St. Lawrence River in Canada. Michels also receives honorable mention for 8,400-feet, 10-inch crossing under Choctawhatchee Bay located in Destin, Florida.

  • 2007

    2007

    Michels Sewer, Water and Tunnel division embraces a new identity: Michels Tunneling. The new name more effectively describes the services that are provided.

    Michels Pipe Services is honored by Trenchless Technology magazine's Project of the Year competition. Michels is chosen for rehabilitating 4,000-feet of 60-inch pipe in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

     

  • 2008

    2008

    Michels Pipe Services is honored by Trenchless Technology magazine in its Project of the Year competition. Michels is chosen for rehabilitating 1900-feet of 48-inch pipe that was full of complicated, steep bends and along uphill inversion in an isolated, wooded area.

    Michels Pipeline Construction adds two additional mainline spreads, completing 273 miles of 30-inch mainline. Michels Canada, working with Michels Pipeline Construction completes 155 kilometers of 20-inch and 15 kilometers of 36-inch.

    Michels is awarded Keystone Pipeline Vice President's Award for leadership in safety and performance displayed on the Keystone Pipeline Project.

  • 2009

    2009

    Michels Corporation celebrates 50 years! What started out as a pipeline company has burgeoned into an international engineering and construction contractor. Michels has earned the respect and confidence of renowned private sector companies and governmental bodies all over the world. Michels Corporation is ranked number 53 in ENR's Top 400 U.S. Contractors issue. Michels is also ranked as the 28th largest Global Contractor.

    Michels Pipeline Construction adds a fourth mainline spread for 52 miles of 42-inch pipe. Michels Tunneling is awarded Western Builder's Top Project of the Year for constructing an 80-inch diameter tunnel, 1,000-foot in length, under the Rock River (Wisconsin) during spring floods.

  • 2010

    2010

    Michels is recognized internationally for its innovation, efficiency and reliability. Michels ranks as one of the 100 largest construction firms -- No. 45 in ENR's 2010 rankings -- and one of the top 10 utility construction companies in North America.

  • 2011

    2011

    Michels acquires Continental Fabrication Services, a full-service pipe fabrication company in Carrollton, Mo. CFS specializes in pipe pre-fabrication for the oil and natural gas industries. In addition to having its own clients, CFS provides ongoing fabrication to maintenance projects of other Michels' divisions. Michels is the 43rd largest construction company and one of the top 10 utility construction companies in North America, according to ENR's ranking.

    Michels is honored with two Project of the Year awards from Trenchless Technology magazine. In the new installation category, Michels received runner-up honors for the Vancouver City Central Transmission Project. In the rehabilitation category, Michels received honorable mention for its work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Eagle Creek Hatchery near Ecstada, Ore.

    Michels is one of five Wisconsin companies to receive a Wisconsin Corporate Citizenship Award for efforts in environmental stewardship, promoting diversity, and relations with customers, employees and the communities in which the company works. The award was presented by Corporate Report Wisconsin.

  • 2012

    2012

    The foundations business of Edward E. Gillen Co. is acquired and renamed Michels Foundations. Michels Foundations allows Michels and its affiliates to continue expanding into deep foundation operations.

    Michels Paving is named Road Builder of the Year in Wisconsin in the Daily Reporter's Newsmakers of the Year contest. Michels receives the award for being actively involved in improving road safety, efficiency and aesthetics in Wisconsin.

    Michels Directional Crossings utilized its new 300-ton Herrenknecht Pipe Thruster to complete its longest-ever 36-inch horizontal directional drill: 6,575 feet.

  • 2013

    2013

    Gillen Foundations is renamed Michels Foundations to reflect not only its connection to the company, but its commitment to the core values that are synonymous with Michels. Michels Foundations uses its expertise, skills and equipment to execute foundations projects of all sizes throughout the country.

  • 2014

    2014

    Michels launches a new division, Mi-Con, to provide customers with efficient, economical solutions to dewatering issues, and performs heavy civil, environmental remediation and governmental work. The division complements Michels' renowned utility construction, engineering and procurement services, and enables it to offer specialized services.

    Michels is the 24th largest construction contractor in North America, according to ENR's ranking.



  • 2015

    2015

    Michels continues to meet customers' evolving needs by safely extending the limits of utility construction. Michels remains an industry leader by delivering world-class service, mastering emerging technologies and providing new services.

    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.

    Michels continues to be recognized internationally for innovation, efficiency and reliability.

    Among many accomplishments:

    – We constructed a 5-mile tunnel under the San Francisco Bay
    – We area at the forefront of the emerging Direct Pipe technology, having completed domestic and international projects
    – We have earned industry awards for safety and construction success.

+ -

Nothing great in the world has
been accomplished without passion.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Let us show you our passion.

Contact Us