Our History

  • 1959


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

  • 1963


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

  • 1970


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

  • 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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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 are 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.

  • 2016


    Michels continues to grow as one of North America's largest infrastructure and transportation contractors, working in 46 states throughout the year and being ranked 34th on Engineering News-Record's annual Top 400 Contractors List. To continue our mission of providing customers with safe, comprehensive and efficient services, Michels combines our Power and Communications operations into one group to enhance customers' experiences and streamline overlapping services.

    While Michels is known for our projects, our success depends on all of our 5,000 people. 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.

    Among many accomplishments:
    • We are a partner in a joint venture building a 2,700-foot, six-lane bridge in Brooklyn, NY, that will carry more than 141,000 crossings each day.
    • We completed 50 miles of new electrical transmission lines in south Texas.
    • We built 370 miles of 30-inch mainline pipeline and three pump stations through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

  • 2017


    Michels continues to grow its comprehensive blend of utility and transportation infrastructure work throughout North America, as confirmed by Michels' ENR ranking as the top U.S. contractor for pipeline and power transmission and distribution and among the top three contractors in telecommunications transmission lines and sanitary and storm sewers.

    Among many projects, Michels removed a Michigan dam and returned a river to its original state and used top-down construction to build the foundation for McDonalds new corporate headquarters in Chicago.

    Michels added hydrodemolition, a high-pressured jet stream capable of removing concrete and other surfaces, to its service offerings.

  • 2018


    Michels begins construction of R1VER, a $100 million mixed use development in Milwaukee. Located about an hour's drive from corporate headquarters in Brownsville, WI, R1VER will include a large regional office and increased employee recruitment opportunities in the metropolitan area. The development is one component of Michels' initiatives to support its geographic footprint and construction operations with additional permanent offices and yards throughout the United States and Canada, bringing the current total to more than 40.

  • 2019


    Michels continues to expand the limits of trenchless construction. In November, Michels uses 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.

    Among many other significant projects, Michels:
    • reconstructs the main transportation corridor between Chicago and Milwaukee
    • works on a massive cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) sewer rehabilitation project in Guam using UV curing
    • is honored for outstanding safety performance on a pipeline construction project.

  • 2019


    Michels Pacific Energy, Inc. is established to serve our power customers in California.

  • 2021


    Michels Power, Inc. Michels establishes Michels Power, Inc. by incorporating the Michels Power operating division of Michels Corporation.

  • 2021


    Michels Utility Services, Inc. Michels establishes Michels Utility Services, Inc. by incorporating the utility scopes of work performed by the Michels Pipeline operating division of Michels.

  • 2021


    A few notable highlights from 2021:

    Michels continues to add 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.

    Michels continues to support our core value of Environment by purchasing 30 percent of solar farm of 1-megawatt solar farm.

  • 2021


    Michels Pipeline, Inc. Michels establishes Michels Pipeline, Inc. by incorporating the Michels Pipeline operating division of Michels Corporation.

  • 2021


    Michels Construction, Inc. Michels establishes Michels Construction, Inc. by incorporating the foundations and marine scopes of work performed by the Michels Foundation operating division of Michels Corporation.

  • 2021


    Michels Road & Stone, Inc. Michels establishes Michels Road & Stone, Inc. by incorporating the road construction, concrete paving and commercial aggregates scopes of work performed by the Michels Paving operating division of Michels Corporation.

  • 2022


    Michels Trenchless Pty., Ltd. Michels establishes Michels Trenchless Pty., Ltd. to perform an array of trenchless methods to construct utility lines in places where open-trench installations would not be feasible or desirable.

  • 2022


    Michels Trenchless Europe, GmbH & Co. K.G. Michels establishes Michels Trenchless Europe, GmbH & Co. K.G. to deliver safe, intelligent solutions for the trenchless construction of underground energy and infrastructure lines.

+ -

Nothing great in the world has
been accomplished without passion.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Let us show you our passion.

Contact Us