LCRA Transmission Alliance

by | Oct 30, 2018 | Stories, Irby News

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 ColoradoRiver, 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 AllianceAgreement 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.