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Celebrating the life of Steve McCandless

Jul 2019

From our Garney family, it is with great sadness that we share the passing of Steve McCandless – a legacy and friend. Throughout Steve’s 39 years of service, he epitomized Garney’s goals and philosophies. Steve embodied exceptional work ethic, long-term commitment to his clients, partners, and fellow employee-owners, diligence for continuous improvement, and an unwavering passion to Garney. He was truly one of a kind.

Steve started his Garney career in 1979 and was quickly named Vice President. He was integral in shaping an employee-ownership culture of honesty, integrity, and excellence. Steve retired in June of 2018, leaving a profound impact on the company’s success.

“There is a tacit understanding that no future player could ever live up to the number of a legend, whether it be on the field or off.”

It was an honor and a privilege to know Steve. Our thoughts and prayers are with the McCandless family during this incredibly difficult time.


Garney Constructs First of Its Kind Tunnel Rearmoring

Jul 2019

In a highly rural area, at the base of one of the tallest mountains in the lower 48 states, the Mud Mountain Dam towers over the White River in Enumclaw, Washington. Constructed at the base of Mount Rainer in the 1940s by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), it was the tallest rock/earthen dam of its time at a height of 430 feet.

Two tunnels channel the river around and under the dam. A 9-foot-wide tunnel passes normal flows and relieves the pressure of debris buildup on the backside of the dam. The debris flows consist of 2-foot diameter boulders flowing at velocities as high as 75 feet per second. The flat bottom, high carbon steel liner began to develop multiple scour holes after a decade of use and required maintenance repairs one to two times annually.

Awarded the first project of its kind in North America, Garney and our engineering partner, ILF, proposed an innovative approach to reline the tunnel using granite blocks rather than steel. This extended the design life to 40 years and reduced overall construction and capital lifecycle costs.

Garney adopted the concept of using granite for Mud Mountain Dam from the Pfaffensprung tunnel in Switzerland instead of using steel. This tunnel served as a basis for information and inspiration for the alternative granite proposal to USACE.

Garney performed all construction work on the site to line 1,685 linear feet of the 1,800-foot tunnel. A 4-inch layer of cellular concrete was installed over the floor, drains, and alarm system. Precision-cut granite blocks were installed tightly together in a specific sequence on top of the cellular concrete. The scope required dewatering, 1,600 linear feet of 3″ bypass pumping, and temporary power. The main challenge included the logistics of getting the required materials in place.

Check out this video to learn more about this forward-thinking project.


Garney Joins Water Design-Build Council

Jul 2019

As collaborative delivery has taken a stronghold in our industry, the need to create consistent best practices has generated multiple organizations that provide resources to owners, engineers, and contractors.

Originally formed in 2006, the Water Design-Build Council (WDBC) is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to advance the development and rehabilitation of the nation’s municipal water and wastewater systems through the use of the design-build and construction management at risk (CMAR) methods of project delivery.

Comprised of engineering and construction leaders in the industry, Garney is excited to now be a part of the council helping shape the future of collaborative delivery.

Learn more about North America’s leading educational resource for best practices in water design-build delivery on the Water Design-Build Council’s website


Garney acquires Warren Environmental and A&W Maintenance

Nov 2018

Garney acquires Massachusetts-based companies, Warren Environmental and A&W Maintenance. Warren Environmental manufacturers epoxies that offer a cost-effective option to coat, protect, and rehabilitate pipelines and structures with minimal downtime. A&W Maintenance is Warren’s applicator and trains all of Warren Environmental’s approved applicators worldwide.

This acquisition expands Garney’s capabilities in the water and wastewater market, and for the first time in the company’s history, Garney is a product manufacturer. As a 100% employee owned company, Garney provides Warren Environmental and A&W Maintenance with significant resources and financial strength for continued long-term growth in the epoxy coating industry. It also assures their current and future employees gain a beneficial ownership interest in the combined companies without any personal investment.

“It was very important that our team of incredible employees be secure and thrive after the sale of our companies,” said Danny Warren, President of Warren Environmental and A&W Maintenance. “Garney’s employee owned structure provides that.”

Warren Environmental and A&W Maintenance were founded by Danny and Jane Warren nearly 35 years ago. The companies were established with the goal of protecting the environment and developing safer 100% solids epoxy coatings and application technologies. Danny and Jane Warren will remain in their current positions to drive continued success.

“It will be exciting to be a part of the future growth that Garney will accelerate because of their footprint in the industry,” said Jane Warren.

Garney is excited to welcome both organizations as our newest employee‐owners. Our combined strengths will enable both organizations to continue leading the water and wastewater industry.


Leadership promotions at Garney

Oct 2018

October 2018

Scott Parrish has been promoted to President of Garney Construction.

Scott joined Garney in 1988 as a Laborer, learning the field skills necessary to be an effective builder of water and wastewater projects. These skills proved valuable in becoming a leading Project Manager and Estimator of pipeline projects throughout his 30-year career at the company. In his new role, Scott has oversight for all company operations, including resource management, employee development, and operational strategy. Scott has been responsible for some of Garney’s most high-profile projects, including the Vista Ridge Water Supply Project – the largest P3 water project in the history of the United States. Scott’s role as President allows current CEO, Mike Heitmann, to focus on longer-term aspects of the company’s growth, such as succession, strategic vision, and acquisitions.


Matt Foster has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of Western Pipe Operations.

In this role, he is responsible for the organization and management of Garney’s pipe operations in the Western United States. Matt oversees project pursuits and operations across multiple projects throughout this region. These projects focus primarily on large diameter water and sewer pipelines in varying ground conditions. Matt joined Garney in 1993 after graduating from Kansas State University. He is based in Garney’s Kansas City headquarters.


Garney enters Business Journal Hall of Champions

Jun 2018

JUNE 2018 – Garney was honored with the Kansas City Business Journal’s 2018 Champions of Business award. The program recognized 15 companies based in the Kansas City area that are committed to the community, innovators in their industry, and strong financial performers. This year, Garney was inducted into the Hall of Champions as a three-time award recipient.

Garney’s success story begins in 1961, when Charles Garney left his father’s Kansas City plumbing business to start his own pipeline and utility construction company. Nearly 60 years and several acquisitions later, Garney is recognized as one of the nation’s leading contractors in water and wastewater systems, working with municipalities, private developers, and industrial users nationwide.

“Our proactive approach and problem-solving mindset with our customers, our non-confrontative approach with our suppliers and subcontractors, and the sharing of our success with our employees distinguishes us from our competitors,” President and CEO Mike Heitmann said.


Building the ideal employee owned company

Jun 2018

JUNE 2018 – In partnership with the Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (ESCA), Garney participated in two videos featuring the role that private, employee owned companies play in the American economy. Across every major industry, S corporation companies are comprised of more than 800,000 employee-owners, reaping the benefits of employee ownership through an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). Garney is fortunate to share in this powerful solution for economic growth.

Thank you to all of our employee-owners and clients who help make Garney the ideal employee owned company.







Garney promotes new leadership

Jun 2018

JUNE 2018 – With continued growth, Garney’s succession planning is a priority for the company over the next several years. Meet Garney’s recent leadership promoted to join the next generation of leaders:


After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in Accounting, Meggan went to work for Grant Thornton where she obtained her CPA license. She spent five years there as a Staff Auditor and Audit Senior before joining Garney Construction in 2006. Meggan was promoted to Controller in 2012, where she assisted Jeff Lacy, Vice President of Finance and CFO. She was then named Director–Corporate Controller in 2014 and Vice President in 2018. In this role, Meggan is responsible for managing the company’s accounting team, including the development, implementation, and administration of accounting policies and maintaining internal controls. Meggan is also Chair of the Technology Council. 


David has spent his entire career with Garney, after graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in Civil Engineering. He has constructed projects in Colorado, Florida, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Texas, specializing in large diameter waterline installations and the CMAR project delivery method. In total, David has built more than $1 billion worth of construction projects during his career in the water industry, including several high-profile CMAR projects. As Director of Central Pipe Operations, David is responsible for overall management of the pipeline projects built in his area.


Joel joined Garney in 2005 as a Project Engineer with six years of previous experience in the power and distribution market for a national general contractor. He was promoted to Regional Operations Manager in 2013, responsible for facilitating and administrating traditional bid and alternative delivery water/wastewater infrastructure projects in the Western United States. Joel is a certified and active member of DBIA and graduated with a degree in Construction Management from Colorado State University. He was promoted to Director in 2018.


Eric’s entire career has been focused solely on water/wastewater construction since building a wastewater treatment plant in 1997 as a co-op. Eric graduated from University of Akron-Ohio with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and started working for a national treatment plant contractor. In 2004, Eric joined Encore Construction (now Garney Construction) as a Project Manager. In 2010, Eric transitioned to an estimating role. During this time, Eric has combined his field experience with estimating and considers it a true privilege to be working with the best estimators in the country. Together, this team has worked to develop estimates on many of Garney’s most prominent traditional bid and collaborative delivery projects. Eric was promoted to Chief Estimator in March 2013 and Director in May 2018.


Garney constructs first plant of its kind in Southwest Florida

Aug 2017

AUGUST 2017 – Garney is at the helm of constructing an ionic water treatment plant that will purify water from three different aquifers with multiple different treatment systems. Using the latest in new technology, the Green Meadows Water Treatment Plant will be the first of its kind in Southwest Florida to process brackish and fresh water.

The $75.4 million plant for Lee County Utilities will replace a 40-year-old facility and reduce treatment cost per thousand gallons by 60%. This marks the second most expensive project undertaken in Lee County history, just behind the $78 million JetBlue Park – the spring training facility of the Boston Red Sox.

The plant, located near Fort Myers, will provide 14 million gallons per day to enhance reliability and address growing population needs. The County selected the latest in advanced technology to treat the water using multiple systems including:

Ion Exchange

With the ability to process 3.9 million gallons per day, five exchangers will remove organic compounds and color from the water. The system will treat the surficial water high in iron and hardness through large vessels, tanks, and a complex piping network.

Reverse Osmosis

Three reverse osmosis trains comprised of 672 cartridge pre-filters will be responsible for removing salt and hardness from the water. This process will be used to treat the brackish water from the Floridian aquifer.

Degasifier and Clearwell System

Primarily used to treat odor, the water will get degasified before flowing through a 55,000 gallon storage tank. Disinfection will follow through a concrete maze of three switchbacks and then be transported via several miles of distribution pipe.

“The design concept is unique in that water treatment facilities typically rely on one source, thus requiring one treatment process,” said Josh Petro, Project Manager at Garney Construction. “Not only are we constructing multiple treatment systems, but we’re using the latest technologies gaining momentum in the water industry. This is a hallmark project for Lee County Utilities and for Garney.”

Garney is serving as Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR), managing 17 subcontractors with a daily workforce of 120 field craft at peak hours.

“Approximately 75 percent of the subcontractors are local and we’ve produced an estimated 300 jobs for local residents,” said Petro.

“Unlike most of our projects, Garney is not allowed to self-perform work on the site, but it has truly been a win-win for the County and Garney. We have been able to exceed the County’s expectations by adhering to our goals and philosophies, keeping expectations high, and championing teamwork.”

Construction is ahead of schedule and anticipated to be complete by December 2017. Commissioning and transfer activities will follow with the plant scheduled to be fully operational by August 2018.


Garney appoints new directors

Aug 2017

AUGUST 2017 – Dan Smolik, Jeff Seal, Scott Reuter, and Bill Williams were recently named as Directors, expanding Garney’s leadership team in three markets. With continued growth, Garney’s succession planning program is a significant priority for the company over the next several years.

“Currently, we’re in our third generation of leadership and we’re preparing for the fourth generation,” said Mike Heitmann, President and CEO of Garney Construction. “One of the most important things we can be doing right now is preparing the next generation of leaders.”

These new Directors will be working closely with Garney’s executive team and board of directors to implement strategic planning and growth within their respective markets.

“Each of these new Directors have proven their operations capabilities and leadership potential,” said Heitmann. “Throughout this succession process, Garney’s Directors will continue to develop the leadership skills to prepare them in shaping the future of the company.”

Meet Garney’s latest Directors:

Dan Smolik – Director of Florida Pipe Operations

Dan has been with Garney his entire career and brings 17 years of experience focused on pipeline operations, primarily in Florida. During this time, Dan has elevated Garney’s alternative delivery, industrial, and power presence throughout the state. He has provided leadership on notable projects including the Regional Integrated Loop System Interconnect (Venice and Punta Gorda, FL), Wet Weather Monitoring & Pumping System (Largo, FL), and the 48-Inch Water Transmission Main for Area N (Miami, FL). Dan has delivered more than $280 million in water and sewer pipeline projects in Florida and will continue to expand Garney’s presence in this market. In 2000, Dan graduated from Missouri Western State University with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering Technology.

Jeff Seal – Director of Nashville Pipe Operations

A graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering, Jeff has 14 years of experience in the construction industry, with 12 of those years spent overseeing pipeline operations at Garney. Since joining the company in 2005, Jeff has managed the construction of more than $300 million in water and wastewater pipeline projects throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Jeff has expanded Garney’s mid-South operations in the private and power markets, and will continue to shape this growing market sector to explore additional opportunities in Southern Indiana and Southern Ohio. Jeff has spearheaded some of the company’s largest projects in the area including the Cumberland City Low Transmission Main (Nashville, TN), Logan CSO Interceptor (Louisville, KY), Virginia-Highland Water Main (Atlanta, GA), and the Decatur to Limestone County Water Transmission Line (Decatur, AL).

Scott Reuter – Director of Nashville/Florida Plant Operations

Scott’s 19-year career has been focused on constructing more than $400 million in water and wastewater treatment facilities. In 2003, Scott joined Encore Construction, which was acquired by Garney in 2012. Scott has expanded Garney’s facility operations in Florida and Tennessee, in addition to recent growth within the federal market sector. He will continue to guide operations in these markets and leverage his experience to drive success in the Southeast. Scott obtained his Professional Engineering license and is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University with a degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering. Major projects led by Scott include the Peace River Water Treatment Plant (Arcadia, FL), Regional Water Treatment Facility at Yankee Lake (Sanford, FL), and Holston Army Ammunition Plant (Kingsport, TN).

Bill Williams – Director of Western Pipe Operations

Bill has been working on pipeline projects since graduating from the University of Southern Colorado as a Civil Engineer. He spent the first 20 years of his career building both small and large infrastructure projects along the front range, before joining Garney in 2010 as a Project Manager. Bill has helped maintain one of Garney’s strongest client relationships by contributing on more than half of the projects completed for Colorado Springs Utilities, including the $112 million Southern Delivery Water System Program. In addition, Bill has been a part of Garney’s management team, supporting more than $215 million of pipeline projects. Upon Garney’s award of the Vista Ridge Water Supply Project in San Antonio, Texas, Bill became the project’s Operations Manager and enjoys the challenges as a part of the management team for the largest P3 water project in the history of the United States.

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