Driving to work for the past 26 years from his metro-east home to St. Louis each day, Tom Hegger could not help but notice the recent economic expansion on the Illinois side.
"I thought it would be a good opportunity to do more work over there," said Hegger, a vice president of Murphy Co. in St. Louis. "To do that, we wanted to become a part of the community and be involved in the community."
So the mechanical and industrial contracting firm has expanded its reach by establishing a new regional office in Fairview Heights. Hegger, who heads operations at the new metro-east office, said the new locale is focusing on smaller to medium-sized projects but has capabilities to handle larger jobs and can offer the gamut of Murphy Co.'s services.
"We're a construction company, so we build stuff," he said. "We're not bringing in a manufacturing plant, so to speak, but we're a valued product throughout quality installation and valued solutions (providers). We provided customers different types of services ... so we think we're bringing certain expertise relative to the regional market."
Murphy comes to Illinois after more than a century in Missouri. President Patrick Murphy Jr.'s great-grandfather, John C. Murphy, established the business in 1907 after arriving in St. Louis from Ireland. The founder was a tradesman who helped build Union Station before doing commercial and residential plumbing service.
The company evolved into a heating and ventilation systems provider in the 1940s, and then worked in air conditioning by the following decade. By the 1960s, the company began providing process piping and equipment erection for industrial plants and wastewater treatment plants. Plumbing and pipe fabrication came during the '70s, and by 1986, Murphy Co. purchased Grossmann Contracting Co. and became a sheet metal fabricator.
Today, the company has plants in St. Louis and Denver with another new regional office in Colorado Springs, Colo. The regional office in Fairview Heights, located at 13 Executive Drive, Suite 7, has a staff of two, but is poised for growth, Hegger said.
"We opened office in Fairview Heights and hired two people to start things off," he said. "We will hire tradespeople as we pick up work in Illinois. We will hire from local unions and appropriate trades. Office-wise, as we continue to grow, we will continue to increase office staff over there as opportunities warrant it."
Fairview Heights Mayor Gail Mitchell is pleased with the new business and its long-standing history of service.
"I'm glad to get them," Mitchell said. "I welcome them. They will have good business."