Cianbro links with Midwest firm

Posted Dec. 21, 2009, at 7:32 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — Cianbro officials said Monday that they have joined forces with STARCON International Inc., a Chicago-area construction firm with strong connections to the petrochemical world.

The strategic alliance will allow both companies to expand the services they offer and should provide job opportunities to employees, said Peter Vigue, chief executive officer of Cianbro Cos.

STARCON, based in Manhattan, Ill., provides construction and maintenance services to the energy and petrochemical industries, many located on the Gulf Coast and West Coast, according to the company’s Web site.

“It allows us access to some new markets we don’t have exposure to” and provides a “substantial amount of personnel and equipment … they don’t have,” Vigue said. When expanding into markets unknown, it’s good to take someone along who knows the business, he added.

“It makes sense to align ourselves with somebody who is already there,” Vigue said. “It’s a very exciting opportunity for us, our entire company and our people. We’re looking forward to it.”

With Cianbro’s array of equipment, facilities and experience in heavy construction “to back up its new ally, STARCON expects to expand into projects that were out of reach before now,” a joint statement from the companies says.

STARCON has regional offices in Texas, Louisiana, California, Washington, Aruba, Mexico and Trinidad and, as a full-service mechanical contractor, serves clients in the refining, chemical, food processing, metals, paper and power industries, according to its Web site.

“It could mean a lot of new job opportunities here, and in Maine and elsewhere,” Alan Grover, Cianbro’s spokesman, said of the alliance on Monday. “We expect to have a lot of new work with this.”

The philosophies and core values of the two companies are similar, and both strive for safety and excellence, Vigue said. “It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “We believe that it very quickly expands our market base in a variety of ways, and provides an ability to expand our existing company.”

With Cianbro facing construction lulls during the winter, just when STARCON needs people to do energy industry maintenance — and as STARCON has maintenance lulls when the construction season is going full blast — the alliance provides a symbiotic partnership, according to Vigue and Grover.

“This would help to smooth out the cycles of unemployment,” Grover said.

Another key factor in the alliance is that both firms have significant experience mobilizing to perform large construction and maintenance projects, he said.

Management from both companies recently completed strategic meetings to develop plans for aligning efforts in business development, project planning, and manpower and equipment sharing, the companies said.

“We know the collective resources are stronger than the individual companies are able to offer,” Uremovich said.

The alliance is good news for employees from both firms, and the industries they serve, Vigue said.

“These are challenging and difficult times for everyone,” he said. “There is no one excluded from those challenges; however, we’re preparing for the future. We think that’s important. We’re not waiting for things to happen; we’re going to make things happen.

“We’re continuing, and this is but one example,” Vigue said.

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