Published in Energy & Mining International Magazine
Written by Janice Hoppe
Roeslein & Associates recently completed a $4 million expansion to its fabrication facility that will aid in its plans to continue growing and staying diversified after 25 years of providing engineering, fabrication and construction management services. “The 25th anniversary is an important milestone to all of us here at Roeslein because our very first customer is still a customer of ours today,” says John DeMoulin, director of business development and marketing. “We have never lost a customer over a 25-year period and that is something we should all be proud of.”
Rudi Roeslein founded the St. Louis-based company from a vision of what he wanted to achieve. Roeslein’s dream was put in motion when he attended Saint Louis University on a partial soccer scholarship and had to work to fund the rest. He found a job at a local metal beverage can manufacturer that designed and built its own machinery. After graduating and realizing his dream of becoming a professional soccer player would pay less per year than becoming an engineer, Roeslein decided to stay with that company.
As frontline workers for the local manufacturer, Roeslein and other engineers would take equipment into the field that had not yet been tested. It would take weeks after installation to effectively have the machinery operating at capacity. Realizing this, Roeslein suggested a different solution. “I explained that we should build these whole systems at our base in Missouri,” Roeslein says. “We should run them and we should make cans. We should demonstrate that they work and then take them and put them in as systems. My boss said, ‘Well, I think that means we have to do it three times – once to build it, once to take it apart and once to put it back in.’”
Although that is true, Roeslein envisioned that a system would not need to be completely torn down if he kept 60 to 70 percent of the components together after the first build. That led to the concept of modularization. Roeslein partnered with Fritz Dickmann and used his experience with modularization to form Roeslein & Associations in 1990, which was built on the principles of engineering, fabrication and construction. “
Today, Roeslein & Associates specializes in the design, fabrication and installation of beverage container facilities and now specializes in modular systems for various markets after it created the Process and Energy Division that serves mainly the oil and gas industry. “We go after oil and gas, petrochemical, power and agricultural work,” DeMoulin says. “When we get involved in any project, we identify portions or areas of the project that lend themselves to modularization and fabricating in a controlled shop environment.”
The benefits of modular construction are improved safety, enhanced schedules, superior quality and more favorable cost, DeMoulin lists. For the oil and gas industry, Roeslein & Associates has performed the integration of structural, mechanical and electrical systems with its relative equipment and vessels ranging from small process modules to large, one-of-a-kind modular systems.
“We view ourselves as an engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction firm,” he adds. “There are fabricators that don’t have the engineering piece we offer and engineering firms who don’t do fabrication; we set ourselves apart by bringing both to the customer. The customer gets the most benefit with a modular approach by determining their build strategy very early on in the project life cycle. Roeslein typically likes to get involved from the very beginning and have the capabilities to take it from design through startup and commissioning.”
Roeslein & Associates is headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., and operates engineering offices in Denver and the United Kingdom, with fabrication facilities in Red Bud, Ill., and Shanghai. “We specialize in modular construction and a good portion of our business is international,” he adds. “We perform the design and fabrication here in the United States and then ship unitized, modular systems overseas.”
The company prides itself on staying diverse in multiple markets and geographically. Roeslein & Associates has performed work on six continents and in more than 50 countries. “We aren’t just tied to the U.S and we have been to a lot of places that some firms aren’t willing to go,” DeMoulin explains. “The nice thing about our business is we are well diversified. The market conditions are ever-changing, but we are well positioned globally to be able to sustain any one market that is substantially impacted by the price of oil, for instance.”
Roeslein attributes the company’s success over the past 25 years to its 350 employees whose philosophy has been “we are looking to partner with companies that want to solve problems together as part of a team. We are not finished with a project until our client’s expectations have been fully met.” On his 65th birthday last year, Roeslein formed an ESOP for Roeslein & Associates employees. “We are working here because we believe in the company and one another,” DeMoulin says. “Now everyone has more skin the game as employee-owners of the company.”
Roeslein & Associates can perform 85 to 90 percent of all fabrication activities in its Red Bud fabrication facility that it recently renamed Roeslein Modular Fabrication. The name change came last year as a response to the need to simplify the company’s overall branding message. “We need our clients, vendors and the community to know that we represent a unified business unit,” Vice President and CFO Brian Sneed says.
The Red Bud fabrication facility designs and builds components for complete specialized facilities that are then shipped to customers worldwide. Roeslein recently completed a $4 million, 45,000-square-foot expansion that will provide the facility with nearly 400,000 total square feet of usable floor space. The new space features a main structure that will accommodate two high bays with 45-foot hook heights and a 60-ton crane capacity. The expansion allows the company’s innovative approach to engineering and building factory components to be used for larger and more complex applications.
“This building represents a major investment of both time and money from our company, and a commitment to our people that we will continue the promotion and execution of our unitized modular systems into other industries,” Roeslein says. “This expansion permits our companies to take what we have achieved in the beverage packaging industry and apply it in other industries, including oil and gas, petroleum and alternative energy.”