In the past three years, the municipal drinking water in Bend, Ore., has been recognized as the best tasting in the Pacific Northwest by the American Water Works Association. The water – which is sourced mainly from a surface watershed as well as a deep well facility – has been noted as being clean, crisp and having a nice aftertaste by judges during an annual association contest.

The high quality of Bend’s water supply will soon improve even further. Construction manager Mortenson Construction earlier this year completed placement of a 10-mile, 30-inch pipeline that will carry water from the watershed, known as Bridge Creek, through the Deschutes National Forest and a local neighborhood to a water chlorination facility. 

The Midland Cogeneration Venture (MCV) in Midland, Mich., originally was intended to be a nuclear facility. In fact, the plant, which was to include twin pressurized water reactors, was roughly 85 percent complete when the former owners abandoned the project more than 30 years ago as a result of numerous construction and cost problems.

“This was an abandoned asset,” President and CEO Pete Milojevic says. “We utilized the infrastructure and applied new technology.” The technology has helped MCV attain leadership in the industry over the past 25 years.

The owners of the nuclear power plant stopped the project in 1984, citing problems including the sinking and cracking of some buildings on the site due to poor soil compaction and runaway costs. Changing regulatory requirements following the 1979 Three Mile Island incident contributed to delays to the completion in the nuclear power plant. Local environmentalists also opposed the project. 

McKinney Drilling Co. is a specialty subcontractor that has specialized in deep foundations with drilled shaft construction for 78 years. The company attributes much of its success to its dedicated employees. Founder Jack McKinney was known to have said, “Anybody can buy equipment; it is your people that make you a successful company.”  

Established in 1938, McKinney Drilling’s founders were innovators of drilled shaft equipment and processes, which set the stage for the company to become a leading drilled shaft contractor in North America. The company maintains one of the largest fleets of drilling equipment in the world. “Whether you require drilled shafts, auger cast piles, driven piles or low clearance work, you can trust that McKinney Drilling Co. has the skill and experience to deliver on time and on budget,” the company says.

When the citizens of Marshfield, Wis., flip on a light switch or turn on a water faucet, they trust that Marshfield Utilities will keep these conveniences operating smoothly. The organization, also based in Marshfield, serves 8,225 water customers and more than 13,200 electricity users, Electric, Communications and Gas Manager Nicolas Kumm says.

Marshfield Utilities started operations in 1904, when the city purchased generating utilities from W.H. Upham. At the time, there was little use for electricity in the area because only a few homes had appliances and the majority of the power was used during the evening hours.

With an elevation of less than 15 feet, low-head dams have a tendency to be ignored. There are more than 72,000 of these dams across the United States, most of which were built prior to 1950 on rivers that were not used for commercial purposes. Although the dams have provided flood control and a reliable water source for industrial sites adjacent to them, their potential for the generation of hydroelectric power has been overlooked – at least, until now. 

The Williams Cross-Flow Turbine, developed by Hamilton, Ohio-based KWRiver Hydroelectric, is designed to change that. The device can capture the power of the flow of water over the weir of a low-head dam. 

Kosciusko Rural Electric Membership Corp. (REMC) is a community-minded electric supplier that continuously works to improve its infrastructure for greater reliability and implements ways for customers to get and stay connected. “Anyone who knows me knows I always brag about our employees,” President and CEO Bruce Goslee says. “They are excellent. When storms hit they are in here and because of their commitment to Kosciusko, we rank very high in the industry for a small co-op.”

The Warsaw, Ind.-based company provides safe, reliable and affordable electricity to residential and commercial members in Kosciusko, Fulton, Wabash and Whitley counties. Since it first began providing services to Kosciusko County in 1939, the company has remained efficient and offers one of the lowest residential rates in Indiana. “We are in the top 2 percent of co-ops in the nation on controllable cost,” Goslee notes. 

Louisville, Ky., may be known for horseracing, world-class public parks and famous baseball bats, but a hotbed for the oil industry it is not. Energy companies in the Gulf states are skeptical about bringing outside contractors into their projects, which can make securing work difficult for firms such as Louisville’s Kelley Construction.

Petroleum projects are actually one of the oldest sectors of Kelley Construction’s business, but to better convince potential Gulf Coast clients the company needed to expand its operations. It opened an office in Gonzales, La., south of Baton Rouge, in 2013 and a third location in Houston earlier this year. The new facilities brought Kelley Construction closer to the growing energy industry and gave the company more credibility with its potential clients, according to Vice President and COO Mark Kelley. 

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