The Reinforced Earth Co.
In 1971, The Reinforced Earth Co. (RECo) began doing business in the United States using a patented earth stabilizing technology known specifically as Reinforced Earth®. Back then, RECo was a streamlined operation that delivered a new concept for the construction of retaining walls, earth retention systems, slide corrections, mining, dump pocket walls, tank support structures, and large and heavy industrial applications.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the company demonstrated its abilities to the Federal Highway Administration by furnishing designs, materials and technical support to contractors for constructing walls for bridges, ramps, abutments, slide correction and earth retention along highways throughout the United States. The company found success in this area, furnishing approximately 10 million square feet of wall facing using its patented technology. RECo’s technology patent expired in 1989, however, inviting competitors into the market.
“In actuality, the fact that the patent expired wasn’t such a bad thing for us,” notes John Shall, business development manager for RECo. “It encouraged competitors and innovators to enter the market, and the market has grown, which is good for everyone.”
Even as the earth retention market became more competitive, RECo continued its efficient and streamlined operations to maintain its position as the industry leader. The company excelled at leveraging its affiliations to respond to large and design/build projects with innovative, cost-effective solutions. It also called upon its team of design, manufacturing and on-site personnel with civil and geotechnical engineering expertise to develop and complete complex projects.
RECo garnered a lot of attention and, in 1999 was purchased by the global French specialty contractor Freyssinet, which later merged with the geotechnical giant Soletanche Bachy. Becoming a part of a large worldwide network of companies meant that RECo was in a position to collaborate with some of the heaviest hitters in the construction industry, including Freyssinet, Menard, Nicholson Construction, Nuvea and Slaton Bros. Inc.
The mechanics of how the RECo does business is a study in efficiency and customer service. As the market leader in earth retention, the company has domestic sales in excess of $100 million and employs 250 throughout the United States. Operating under the Soletanche Freyssinet umbrella has allowed RECo to grow and develop, making it one of the most diverse operations in the industry.
Bridges, highways, roads, railway structures, waterways and dams, protective structures, commercial and public facilities, precast fascia and top-outs – it all falls under the areas of expertise for RECo. As Shall explains, the company has been able to diversify its abilities over the last four decades because of the command it has over the technology it uses.
“We’ve encountered any and all applications for this technology through the years,” he explains.
Key to this resume of completed work is RECo’s list of dedicated vendors. Over the course of more than 40 years, the company has worked with many companies on a repeat basis, building strong ties that have made for a successful business.
“We have an informal alliance that we’ve formed with our key vendors,” Shall notes.
As Shall further explains, RECo’s dedication to its network of vendors and suppliers has been an integral part of the business. Customer service is a top priority for the company, and it shows in the mutual exchange of respect between RECo and its alliance of vendors. “We work from a network that’s a lot like a family,” he says.
One of the largest events in the mining industry is taking place in a few months, and RECo plans to be there. MINExpo International 2012 will bring together the very best in the mining industry, and, as Shall explains, RECo is eager to display capabilities that were not fully represented at the two previous MINExpo shows.
“In some ways, we’re a new company,” Shall says. EMI