Mears Group Principles & History
Mears Group follows 7 guiding principles:
- Our customers are our employer.
- Our customers buy value.
- We will provide cost-effective solutions while meeting customer expectations and without compromising our own high standards.
- We will continually seek new niche market opportunities.
- We will use teamwork and collaboration to achieve greater wisdom in the marketplace.
- We will grow from our collective experiences.
- Respect for individuals is fundamental to our long-term success.
MEARS GROUP HISTORY
Mears Group, Inc. (a Quanta Services Company) has evolved into a leading pipeline service company specializing in Pipeline Integrity Management and Horizontal Directional Drilling. Not only has the company become one of the top HDD companies in the world, its Pipeline Integrity expertise has made it one of the strongest compliance companies in the nation. Starting out in the mid-west, it has expanded operations to 9 locations covering North and South America. With its original headquarters in Rosebush, Michigan, the company has seen many changes and growth in its 37-year existence.
In 1970, the predecessor to Mears was established as Fluharty Engineering, Inc. by Herbert L. Fluharty. Mr. Fluharty had worked for a few large corporations, but had gained most of his experience as chief engineer for his father’s pipeline construction firm, Welded Construction Co. The company focused its business around civil engineering and land surveying projects primarily targeting municipalities, realtors and individuals in the central Michigan area.
In 1974, the company began providing land surveying, drafting and inspection services to Dow Chemical USA on pipeline construction projects within Michigan. As a result of these projects for Dow and Mr. Fluharty’s background, the company began to focus on providing pipeline engineering services to other customers in the Midwest.
In 1975, Mr. Fluharty sold part of the business to Welded Construction Co... Welded was now owned by Mr. Fluharty’s uncle, Hank Mogg and the business was renamed Mears Engineering. In 1980, Herb re-acquired Welded’s share of the business and began to search for new services to provide within the pipeline industry.
In 1980, Dow Chemical USA asked Mears to help them with cathodic protection problems on their pipeline system. Mears set about assembling people and equipment to perform these services and began to focus on cathodic protection as a business.
As part of these cathodic protection services, Mears began performing close-interval surveys to identify areas of poor coating or low cathodic protection on pipelines. In 1982, Mears rented computerized equipment and software to perform a close-interval survey for Dow Chemical USA and ANR Storage Co. in northern Michigan. The survey was not very successful due to equipment problems, but Mears could see a potential “niche” market.
By the winter of 1983, Mears began working with newly emerging micro-computers to create software for company use in performing close-interval surveys. This project soon became a massive undertaking of many programmers to create a complete cathodic protection data management system targeted at the needs of pipeline companies. This cathodic protection software directed national attention to Mears and opened the door to numerous pipeline companies to provide other cathodic protection services.
In 1984, Mears/CPG, Inc., was incorporated as a separate entity to focus entirely on cathodic protection and to market the cathodic protection software system.
Also, in 1984, Jim Fluharty, Herb’s cousin, joined Mears to lead the sales & marketing efforts. Jim previously held the position of Director of Sales for Goulds Pumps, and brought with him the knowledge of a national sales system and credibility for developing a successful sales strategy.
Through the software development and the sales & marketing efforts, the company began to provide computerized close-interval surveys on a nation-wide basis. Mears quickly gained a reputation for providing high quality, efficient close-interval surveys.
It soon became obvious that the company’s competitors did not concentrate as much on executing the service as they did on closing the sale. By constantly improving the company’s field crew performance, Mears’ customers developed a relationship and a trust in the way Mears provided their services. This trust provided Mears with opportunities to provide other cathodic protection related services to these customers.
In 1986 a customer, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp., approached the company about installing a new cathodic protection product that they were testing. The product, AnodeFlex, was a cable-like, continuous cathodic protection anode used as an alternative to pipeline recoating. AnodeFlex requires being surrounded by a continuous carbon based backfill. Because of this requirement, the process of installing the product was difficult and labor intense. For this project, Mears developed a crude installation system built around a trencher to excavate a ditch and a farm-type hopper to carry the carbon. Although the installation was completed, it was far from perfect and would definitely need innovation and improvement, but once again Mears felt another “niche” service was being created.
After this initial introduction to AnodeFlex, Mears set out to learn as much as possible about the design and installation of this anode system. By 1998, Herb, Scot and John Fluharty had developed and perfected a plowed system of installation. This process was later patented and is still the most efficient, quality-assured method of AnodeFlex installation. Since that time, Mears has become recognized as the preferred designer/installer of this rehabilitation system and has been throughout the world promoting the design and installation of AnodeFlex.
As part of the growth in AnodeFlex installation, the company needed a way to install the product in environmentally sensitive areas. At the same time, the technology of Horizontal Directional Drilling was being developed. The company recognized that this new installation technology would enhance the use of AnodeFlex installations. Therefore, in 1991, Mears expanded its services into horizontal directional drilling by purchasing a small drilling rig. Although the equipment at the time was quite crude by today’s standards, the company could see the great potential this type of installation might provide for all types of underground construction and set about to develop this service further.
To enhance the success of this service, Mears formed Mears/HDD, Inc. in 1993 to pursue horizontal directional drilling opportunities. By coupling the company’s resources in pipeline engineering and construction, along with drilling expertise, this business has been able to grow from the one small rig in 1991 to 34 large, mid-size and small rigs today and has gained a reputation as being one of the leaders in horizontal directional drilling. Having drilled crossings over 7,300 ft. in length, installing pipe sizes up to 60-inches in diameter and successfully completing long, complicated intersects, the company has seen great success in this endeavor.
In September of 2000, Mears Group was acquired by Quanta Services, Inc. This partnership enhanced Mears growth and ability to take on projects of any size. Mears is now a part of Quanta’s team of companies that provide a comprehensive suite of services for the design, installation, repair, maintenance and emergency response capabilities that lets customers focus on what they do best, while saving costs, time and strategic resources.
Today the Mears headquarters is still located in Rosebush, Michigan, where the company made their mark in the pipeline industry. Spanning worldwide and maintaining projects in North and South America, Mears offices are located in California, Missouri, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.
In addition to being the home for their administration and engineering operations, the company’s headquarters in Rosebush, Michigan houses their 15,000 ft. maintenance and newly constructed testing and training facility. To support their fleet of nearly 1,000 units, the company has an extensive maintenance program that is state of the art for maintaining all equipment in a systematic approach. This proactive program makes its projects much more efficient and equipment better maintained.
The new training and test facility, the Herbert L. Fluharty Training & Test Facility, was dedicated on July 11 and 12, 2007. This NACE approved facility serves as the cornerstone of a newly designed training program designed for employees who perform field activities such as excavation, pipe coating, AnodeFlex, ECDA indirect inspection surveys and direct examinations. As part of their training, employees will have an opportunity to hone their skills on the test site, which is comprised of over 1,000 feet of buried pipe of 10”, 20” and 24” diameters. The primary loop of pipe includes several coating flaws that have been intentionally created. The flaws have a wide range of sizes, shapes, orientation and location to duplicate what could be encountered in the field.
Mears Group, Inc. has been successful in its growth in the pipeline industry by focusing on proven, high quality and unique solutions to their pipeline customers’ needs. “We are proud of the services we provide. This new facility will further enhance our ability to grow and create opportunities for all our present and future employees,” commented Scot Fluharty, President of Mears.[return to top]