People of Irby: President, Lee Jones

People of Irby: President, Lee Jones

 

On Friday, November 16, Irby rolled out the last video in its series featuring the “People of Irby.” In this clip, Lee Jones, Irby President talks about the importance of safety and how Irby goes to great lengths to provide its employees with ample resources for doing quality work safely.

Lee mentions the support the field workers receive from Irby’s corporate office, especially when dealing with safety, and how much that means to them. Check out the full story to hear about how Irby lineman complete work quickly, without any injuries.

Film crews visited Irby job sites from Texas to Florida, and a couple spots in between, to interview team members and gather footage of crews at work. Lee’s spotlight video is the tenth in a series of videos Irby is rolling out in 2018. Follow Irby on Facebook and YouTube for updates and watch the company website for more to come.

LCRA and Irby Construction Alliance

LCRA and Irby Construction Alliance

Irby Construction Company has maintained its reputation for producing a quality product with substantial core values since its foundation in 1946. With powerful capabilities and a team eager to perform, Irby continues to serve customers by building powerlines safely and efficiently whether it be for surrounding communities, across state lines, or overseas. Without our clients’ trust, communication and flexibility, Irby would not have the success story that it does today.

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) shares several of the same values as Irby Construction. A primary wholesale provider of electricity in Central Texas since 1934, LCRA sells to retail utilities including cities and electric cooperatives. Catering to one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions, LCRA continues to strengthen its community by providing public power, managing the lower Colorado River and building and operating transmission lines across its service territories. LCRA’s Mission is, “To enhance the quality of life of the Texas we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service.

For more than 20 years, Irby Construction and the Lower Colorado River Authority have developed a substantial relationship that has proven to play a key role in the success of both companies. Through the years, Irby Construction has collectively built over 1,500 miles of transmission lines for LCRA, performed countless hours of maintenance services, and completed emergency restoration services in response to severe weather events.

On September 29th, 2018, LCRA awarded Irby Construction a 5-year Alliance Agreement that will provide steady work for Irby crews in the Central Texas region. This work will be primarily transmission including anything from upgrades to new construction. Work under this Alliance is projected to begin in November of 2018. Irby firmly believes that this Alliance relationship will most efficiently help LCRA meet its capital investment objectives.

When news spread that the Alliance was awarded to Irby, the reaction was positive across the board.

“We would not even be offered the Alliance if we didn’t do a good job—if we didn’t build it with quality and on time, and with a good safety record,” Irby Superintendent Bo Barfield said. Barfield worked on his first LCRA job in 2006 as Assistant Superintendent and said that LCRA has always done their best to help Irby figure out any problems they may have on the job—from engineering to materials.

Aurturo Covarrubias, an Irby Journeyman Lineman Foreman, worked on his first LCRA job six years ago. “We always have their support. We always have an inspector around us helping with whatever we need,” Covarrubias said. “This Alliance will be a huge opportunity for me to grow and gain both knowledge and experience.”

Tyler Mazac, an Irby Tech Foreman in the Texas region, completed his first job with LCRA in January of 2017 and will be working on the Alliance projects when they begin. Mazac said that LCRA is easy to work with and that he is very happy about the Alliance.

“LCRA is very accommodating to anything that we need,” Mazac said. “They strive to help us complete each job. We appreciate the work and look forward to a good relationship and what LCRA has to come.”

The responses from Irby employees are overwhelmingly similar to Mazac’s. Time and time again, LCRA has proven to be a company primarily focused on safety and completing each job efficiently, both primary values of Irby Construction.

Brandon Cox is an Irby Superintendent who has been working on LCRA projects since 2008.

“I know LCRA’s potential. I know the scale of their work. Some of the biggest, most successful jobs I have ever had in my 18-year career have been here in Texas with LCRA,” Cox said. “Some of the most impressive feats that we have ever met were right here with LCRA. All-in-all, I’ve had a good experience with LCRA.”

It is no surprise that safety is the priority above all within this Alliance in conjunction with the relationship that has formed between LCRA and Irby Construction. No matter what level employee one may be at Irby, it is widely known that safety is and always will be number one, no questions asked.

“Irby is a wise company because we learn from other electrical companies and use that knowledge to keep our guys safe,” Mazac said. “We do things the right way the first time and don’t allow people to take shortcuts.”

Mitchell Isaak is a 2nd Year Apprentice Lineman who has worked on LCRA projects for the past five months. He insists that Irby has the best-trained hands, helping them get the job done quickly and properly.

“We are our brother’s keeper,” Isaak said. “We are all constantly watching out for each other. We have safety meetings up to twice a week and crew meetings daily. We also have our JSA’s, and we take all of this very seriously.”

Equipment Supervisor Daniel Navarro who has been working for Irby for 13 years, said that PPE is just as important as following any other safety measure.

“As far as safety goes, we follow it to the ‘T’,” Navarro said. “What can I say, we are living proof of it. We have our safety briefings every day with the entire crew, and we also have a re-focus every day after 12.”

Another extensive positive from the Alliance is the potential growth, both as a region and a company as a whole. Currently, Irby employs more than 850 people—150 of which are dedicated to working in the Texas region—across the country servicing numerous clients under various contract structures. Irby has employed nearly 1200 people—with more than 400 dedicated to work in the Texas region—in recent years during the CREZ buildout. As the workload increases within the Texas region, the demand for crews will increase, growing the region and in turn, making Irby’s safety numbers much stronger. Barfield simply stated that Texas is growing fast and LCRA has to grow with it.

Josh Clines, an Irby General Foreman, has primarily worked on LCRA projects for the past ten years.

“We have a lot of work coming up, and we are going to have to expand a little bit to maintain it, but we will be able to grow,” Clines said. “I’m looking forward to staying on the LCRA system. I have always enjoyed working with them.”

The new challenges and abundance of work yield an exciting time for Irby and LCRA that we are all proud to be a part of. We look forward to the next five years of growing relationships with the Central Texas region through our work with LCRA as we build quality power delivery projects to serve the community in the safest ways possible.

“I think we have built a good relationship with them [LCRA], and that is a big part of it, but at the same time we have a good safety record, we have the manpower, we have the equipment, we have the resources to do the work for them, and I think we are a perfect fit,” Clines said.

Distribution Repairs Through Hurricanes Florence and Michael

Distribution Repairs Through Hurricanes Florence and Michael

This quarter Irby crews were presented with the ultimate test as they worked tirelessly to restore power following Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael. These storms were destructive and dangerous but gave Irby the opportunity to once again, turn the lights back on and help those affected feel some sense of normalcy after enduring a natural disaster.

Hurricane Florence was the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season and quickly formed into a Category 4, hitting its peak intensity with 140 mph winds southeast of Bermuda on September 10th.  Florence made landfall as a Category 1 just south of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on September 14th, weakening as it made its way inland. Despite its fall from a Category 4 to a 1 by landfall, the wind speed caused massive destruction and power outages to the Carolinas.

Irby immediately sent 72 linemen to restore power in South Carolina for Duke Energy and South Carolina Electric and Gas. For two weeks, the crews endured the harsh conditions of Florence, and they got the job done safely.

Hurricane Michael formed in the Caribbean in early October and was declared a major hurricane on October 9th. At peak intensity on October 10th, Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 with 155 mph winds, the largest storm to hit the panhandle.

Irby crews were once again prepared to face the destruction of yet another natural disaster. At our peak, 288 Irby linemen were working for various companies such as Gulf Power in Pensacola, Duke Energy in Ocala, Florida Power and Light in Lake City. Our crews were scattered throughout the Panhandle as well. This is a dangerous but vital job in the modern world. We are proud to be a part of a company that serves communities nation and worldwide, no matter what the risk or circumstances.

Robert Nixon, an Irby Service Technician, worked on Hurricane Florence for several days. Nixon, Irby General Superintendent Jon Pigott and Vice President of Operations Tim Henry cooked Boston butt, brisket and all the fixings for the Irby crews. On October 23rd, as storm work was wrapping up for Irby crews in Florida, Pigott drove the meals down to the crews for them to enjoy.

“These conditions are not ideal, but the guys are willing to go out there and get the job done,” Pigott said. “I want the guys to know that we appreciate the work that they do for Irby, especially on the storm. They are away from their families, working long, tough hours. We want them to know that we know how much that means to us.”

People of Irby: Executive VP Operations, Rick Shouse

People of Irby: Executive VP Operations, Rick Shouse

 

On Friday, October 19, Irby rolled out the tenth video in its series featuring the “People of Irby.” In this clip, Rick Shouse, Irby Executive Vice President of Operations mentions how great the opportunity is right now in their industry to join Irby, learn their safety culture, and kick-start a great career.

Rick has worked within Irby for 38 years and touches on how the company has such a loyal base of people that enjoy what they do and proud to have a path for everyone. Check out the full story to hear about how the Irby has created an environment that is rewarding to work for.

Film crews visited Irby job sites from Texas to Florida, and a couple spots in between, to interview team members and gather footage of crews at work. Rick’s spotlight video is the tenth in a series of videos Irby is rolling out in 2018. Follow Irby on Facebook and YouTube for updates and watch the company website for more to come.

PBS Airing WIRES Video

PBS Airing WIRES Video

PBS Stations are airing a WIRES video titled “Spotlight On: The Electric Transmission Grid.” The video will air through the end of the year and offers an introduction to the importance of investment in the grid and how it impacts our standard of living. The content features Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and WIRES Executive Director and Counsel Jim Hoecker who emphasizes the importance of a sense urgency among policy-makers, regulators, and investors to meet future power demand. Take a look at the video here. 

WIRES, a non-profit trade association with an international membership, promotes investment in the North American electric transmission system, robust and effective transmission solutions to economic, environmental, and reliability challenges, and the reduction or elimination of uneconomic barriers to transmission development. This mission is accomplished through the development and dissemination of information, strategic advocacy, and innovation in regulatory, policy making, industry, and educational forums.

WIRES
Florida Counties Taking Action

Florida Counties Taking Action

A story recently published in the Naples Daily News recaps what various counties in Florida are doing to prepare themselves for future hurricanes in response to the devastation Hurricane Irma brought last season. The article includes specific details on actions Florida Power and Light is doing to strengthen the Power Grid and features a photo of Irby Construction crews at work restoring power last September. Irby Construction is always proud to be part of a restoration effort and/or proactive planning to help prevent outages in the first place. Read the complete news article here. Learn more about FPL here. 

action