Eichleay’s rich heritage is not only characterized by long-term family ownership, but also by family values: we approach all that we do with integrity, commitment, and a long-term perspective.
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George F. Eichleay, Jr.
As the health of the U.S. steel industry waned at the advent of the 21st century, focus transitioned to other more robust markets primarily in the western United States. Since 1988, Eichleay’s West Coast entities located in the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles Areas have developed a wide range of capabilities in the Petroleum Refining, Chemical, Food and Beverage, Mining and Metals, High Tech, and Life Science Industries. Over the last quarter century, these nimble operations have grown steadily and developed a unique ability to execute major capital projects in conjunction with far more routine small cap work. There are great synergies that come from this combination. Small local firms cannot match our capabilities and resources. Large EPC firms cannot match our speed and flexibility. As the 5th generation of the family to lead the progression of businesses owned by his family , George F. Eichleay, Jr. remains committed to serving clients and promoting the core values that have remained constant over time: independence, differentiation, reinvention.
George F. Eichleay, P.E.
In the early 1970's, George F. Eichleay (Geof) took over and leveraged Eichleay Corporation's reputation and existing client base to enter the engineering business. The rapid growth of several of his new ventures marked a paradigm shift away from direct-hire construction to emphasize engineering and management services. A primary motivation for pursuing this more integrated business model was to enable participation in the front-end development of projects. Moving up the value stream now provided far greater opportunities to influence the efficiency of the capital spending process for clients. Geof's commitment to this endeavor is perhaps best exemplified by his active involvement in the Construction Industry Institute (CII), a consortium of leading owners, engineers, and contractors committed to improving facility lifecycle costs. He served as Chairman of this organization in 1998 and was inducted into the National Academy of Construction in 1999. The scope, size, and complexity of the projects undertaken during this era, particularly in the steel industry, were a level beyond those encountered previously.
John W. Eichleay
By the late 1920's economic changes and technological advances made the relocation of large structures increasingly impractical. As a result, the moving techniques perfected over the previous decades were adapted to include the installation of heavy industrial machinery. It was around this time that John W. Eichleay rose to prominence. To capitalize off of the enormous industrial expansion being experienced throughout the nation after The Great Depression, John W. led the transformation of the company into a formidable general contractor. The Eichleay Engineering Company that he established in 1932, whose name would be changed to Eichleay Corporation a year later, quickly built a reputation for being able to execute large public works and heavy industrial projects nationwide, as well as several internationally. The company remained quite diversified under his tenure performing work for a wide variety of different sectors, including ferrous and nonferrous metals, pulp and paper, power, chemicals, refining, transportation, and heavy civil among others. Given the firm’s Pittsburgh roots however, it is not surprising that it developed a particular niche in the construction and retrofitting of steel mills, coke ovens, and blast furnaces.
John P. Eichleay (shown in top left of the picture above)
During the early part of the 20th century, the John Eichleay Jr. Company soared to new heights under the leadership of John’s oldest son, John P. Eichleay, and the contributions of his 3 other children, Walter, Harry, and Roy. Around this time, the brothers began to venture into other businesses such as steel production, steel fabrication, ship building, real estate, and even movie theaters (as a result of the emerging motion picture industry). This was all largely fueled by the unprecedented strength and growth of the U.S. economy. Throughout this period, however, the structural moving business remained their core asset primarily due to the recent introduction of affordable automobiles. Because increased vehicle sizes and traffic volume made much of the existing infrastructure in major metropolitan areas obsolete, many streets and other transportation corridors required widening. This yielded an abundance of moving projects for Eichleay, both in Pittsburgh and on a national level. Towards the end of its heyday in the late 1920’s, the John Eichleay Jr. Company had moved over 10,000 structures and was acknowledged as the undisputed leader in the business.
John Eichleay Jr.
Eichleay’s roots trace all the way back to 1875 when an innovative building inspector named John Eichleay Jr. founded a structural moving business that would become renowned for completing projects believed by many to be impossible. The advent of the industrial age brought with it profound changes in urban landscapes of America. This transformation was perhaps no more evident than in John's hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. As the preeminent center of industry and technology at the time, small houses and buildings were being torn down to make room for larger ones, industrial plants were pushing residential neighborhoods outward from the rivers and railroads, and street railways permitted people to live further from their places of work. Believing that structures could be moved for only a fraction of the cost of demolishing and rebuilding them, John felt that all of these factors made for a lucrative business. They did! Although the projects undertaken during the early years were quite modest, they became increasingly bold and impressive as techniques were perfected and the reputation of the John Eichleay Jr. Company grew.