It seems like just yesterday we wrote this article about the Millwright Division of P1 Construction in 2018.
And the Millwrights have come a long way, baby - with impressive project, personnel, and revenue growth.
Most recently, the Millwrights' success was evidenced by numbers released by Local 1529 – the Kansas City Millwrights union.
The numbers measured Kansas and Missouri Millwright hours, combined over the past four years (2019-2022). And P1 Millwrights led the charge in combined Kansas and Missouri hours.
“Our team will be the top millwright contractor in hours logged for both Kansas and the Kansas City area,” Millwright Team Leader Jim Nisely said. “We are on target to work over 110,000 man hours in 2022.”
In Kansas, P1 Millwrights were second only to IMI of Topeka, with 99,954 hours, and in Missouri, P1 Millwrights came in second to Burns Boys Co Inc., with 221,685.
But just like every success story, it’s the people behind what’s on the paper who make it happen.
The Millwrights became a division of P1 around 2014, following one of P1’s all-time largest projects, the relocation of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Kansas City Plant, managed by Honeywell. At the time, it was Millwright Team Leader Jim Nisely with just six field associates.
Today, the Millwright team consists of: one senior project manager, two project managers, two project engineers, three engineers, 18 foremen, and, in 2022, around 65 Journeyman/Apprentices in the field.
Millwright Project Manager Marques Nisely says three factors made the growth and success happen: Jim’s passion and tenacious leadership, P1 executive leadership’s commitment to the Millwrights, and attracting the very best talent in the field.
“From day one, Jim has given a massive amount of time and effort in getting us where we are,” Marques said. “I consider myself fortunate to learn from the example he has set for us all, and benefit from his mentorship, which took me from the field to project management. I do not know a person that is more driven or works harder than he does.”
“P1 ownership’s commitment and investment to the division has been critical,” Marques said. “They have always been willing to support and provide the resources necessary to complete our projects and help grow the division.”
But Marques emphasizes that without the talent out there performing the work, the success couldn’t happen at all.
“The biggest reason for our success in building the division has been, and always will be, having the most talented and strongest field leadership in the area,” he said. “Our sustainability comes from these guys – their attention to detail, and the hard work and long hours they put in.”
“We would put our field team’s skills against anyone in the country. It’s an honor to work with such good men.”
So why does such good talent flock to P1? Marques says one reason is the way P1 treats their field experts.
“P1 gives us what we need to do our job. They get the trucks, they provide the tools. Some of the guys coming from other firms are amazed – they’ve never been give the tools to do the job. They come here, they have everything they need,” Marques said.
“Whether you’re a Millwright in a grease pit, or a sales person in an office, when your company makes your job easier, you’re going to excel at it.”
Foreman Tom Sparks echoes that sentiment, and adds that the professionalism of the team is all about attitude.
“I believe the only thing that we are truly in control of is our own attitude,” Tom said. “How we react to situations that come up is totally up to us. If we work hard at keeping a positive attitude, our crews will stay positive.”
And holding on to the best field personnel means attracting – and keeping – customers. P1 Millwrights have had long-standing relationships with customers like CertainTeed Building Products, Central Plains Cement Plant, Ply Gem Building Products, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and JM Smucker Pet Food.
The Millwrights have taken on multi-million dollar projects with a customer base that continues to grow.
“It’s the reliability our field leadership provides,” Marques said. “We provide customers with the labor quality they need to complete their projects.
You give our Millwrights something to do, and they do it. No one has to make sure we’re working or make sure it’s being done right - it is.”
Marques says assigning the right talent to the right project is critical to this kind of success – a luxury the Millwrights sometimes have with their diversely talented team.
“Millwrighting is such a broad trade. We work on power house turbines, we put conveyors in. We install equipment. We touch many different industries,” Marques noted. “Some guys have specialties in some areas, some in others. We try to match those to the project.”
The Millwright division also operates independently in key areas, performing their own estimating, and using the skills of Project
Manager Wes Trammell to handle manpower scheduling in addition to his other responsibilities.
“We have averaged 60-65 in the field all year, and even got up to almost 80 at times,” Wes said. “That’s pretty amazing, considering the labor issues in our industry.”
Jim says Millwright growth has also been fueled by the in-house engineering capabilities.
“We have added two design detailers to help control the load put on Senior Engineer Dave McPherson,” Jim said. “Although we partner with other engineering firms, having detailers Justin Shrack and Yaser Almuarifi on our team has given us more flexibility to control scheduling and increase our in-house capabilities.”
And of course, the dollars don’t lie. Millwright annual revenue has gone from $8,391,643 in 2019 to a forecasted $27,800,000 in 2022.
P1 Vice President Glenn Shain, who has worked with Jim and the team from the beginning, marvels at how the division has grown in just a short time - and the value of developing symbiotic relationships with other P1 divisions.
“In just a few short years, our Millwright team has jumped from supporting other divisions in their work activities to a position of leading other divisions into exciting new work opportunities,” Glenn said.
Marques notes that Director of Business Development (then Operations Manager) Steve Hinshaw was integral in helping sell the Millwright capabilities internally to other P1 divisions.
“Jim and his team are uncovering many new full MEP opportunities lead by the millwrights fabricating, setting, and moving critical equipment and structures for new customers,” Glenn added.
“These projects bring our piping and electrical teams into supporting these customers with full facility solutions.”
“It has been a great joy to watch this team explode in its impact to our construction business plan and we are excited for the many additional opportunities for growth ahead for them.”
This was the P1 Millwright’s first amusement park ride, but it probably won’t be their last! Although the project had some setbacks due to pieces not fitting correctly, the P1 crew was able to assist the customer with corrections and capture all the documentation for change order purposes. This made it easy for the customer to get money back from the manufacturer. P1 Millwrights were instrumental in the installation of two theaters, two structures, and eight ride units. FlyOver uses immersive, state-of-the-art technology that gives riders the unmistakable feeling of flight. Participants sit with their feet dangling before a 52.5-foot-wide spherical screen, while the visuals whisk them away on an exhilarating journey above the iconic Las Vegas strip. Special effects combined with the ride’s motion create the ultimate flying ride.
Millwright capabilities shine in large industrial settings like Hill’s. P1 Millwrights have worked on multiple projects at Hill’s, including: MSCC3, which included conveyor Installation and integration; design, fabrication and installation for equipment access platforms; and integration of mixing and making equipment; MIH, which included batching equipment installation; pneumatic conveyance installation; and structural design, fabrication and installation; and SRP3 (Omaha, NE), which included electrical trestle structural fabrication.
Another industrial success, the Smucker twin screw extruder project included relocation and installation of new extruder equipment; installation on pneumatic conveyance systems for the project; and design detailing, fabrication and installation of access platforms.
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P1 Group works with P1 Service, LLC to provide HVAC, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing service, performance solutions, and preventative maintenance. P1 Service, LLC has locations in Lenexa, KS, Wichita, KS, Topeka, KS, St. Joseph, MO, and Ankeny, IA.