J. Fletcher Creamer & Son Inc. Marks 90 Years in Business

J. Fletcher CreamerWhen a company has been in business for nearly a century, it’s generally a good indication that it’s doing something right.

That certainly is the case for J. Fletcher Creamer & Son Inc., a full service contracting company, based in Hackensack, N.J., that consistently finds itself on ENR’s annual list of the top 400 contractors in the United States. This year, J. Fletcher Creamer & Son Inc., with the fifth generation active in the business, is celebrating 90 years.

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According to a statement announcing the company’s 90-year anniversary, CEO J. Fletcher Creamer Jr. said, “Between night work, emergency work and time zones, there is a Creamer crew working somewhere every hour of the day across the United States.” Having worked in 37 states, the Creamer name, distinctive hard hat logo and trademark ‘Creamer brown’ equipment are recognized from coast to coast.

Founded in 1923 and based in New Jersey, Creamer specializes in several facets of the construction industry, including roads and bridges, underground utility work, guide rails and sign structures, parking garages, internal pipe seals marketed as In Weg, piles, marine work and more recently, renewable energy. Creamer Environmental Inc. is the remediation entity.  Today, the Creamer companies have a workforce of more than 1,000 employees with a fleet of more than 2,000 pieces of equipment. Since day one, the business has been owned and operated by the Creamer family.

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Today, the business is owned by the fourth generation of Creamers: brothers Fletch Jr., CEO; Glenn, executive vice president and Dale, vice president.

Despite its many initiatives in a variety of areas, the company, like many contractors, started off small and simple. In the early 1920s, when J. Fletcher Creamer started his business, he owned a single Ford rack truck, which he used to make deliveries and perform various routine jobs. It wasn’t until a decade later that Creamer worked its way into major projects in New York and New Jersey. One of those projects involved the hauling of excavated materials during construction of the George Washington Bridge. Over the next few years the company became more involved in highway work and later developed relationships with water, electric and gas utilities as well as telecommunications companies.

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Safety is of utmost importance in the company. In-house safety coordinators and outsourced personnel are active across the country and available 24 hours. They are not only dedicated to teaching and monitoring safety but are available to every project team to outline safety procedures for specific circumstances.
The 1980s was the time when Creamer ventured into new markets with underground infrastructure work, specializing in cleaning and cement mortar lining of water mains, as well as the manufacturing and installation of internal pipe seals. These activities are performed from coast to coast.

Moving Toward Trenchless
In the 1990s, as trenchless construction practices became more accepted in various applications, Creamer moved into pipe bursting, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and sliplining. The company maintains a fleet of directional drills and various types of plows including a pair of spider plows. On the pipe rehabilitation side, the company is currently partnering with 3M to perform applications of spray-on lining.

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“We have been performing trenchless technologies for many years,” said Creamer business development manager Robert A. Flock, who has worked with the company for 20 years. “We do a lot of HDD work for all types of utilities including gas, electric, telecommunications, water and fiber optics. We have completed numerous HDD projects under major rivers and streams, highways other utilities and environmentally sensitive areas.  We have found that trenchless technology in construction has grown quickly and has become a large part of utility construction. It is a great method for crossing wetlands and roadways.

“The trenchless market has progressed to a point where we may consider HDD on certain jobs even though it is not specified as part of the scope of work,” Flock said. “We may offer a client the option of slip lining even though it was not the original intent. No one should doubt that trenchless technology is a major part of construction in the 21st century.”

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The company performs hundreds of jobs each year and some notable projects the company has completed include 120 miles of fiber optics that were installed in Tennessee and hundreds of miles of conduit and cable installed for the E-Z Pass toll collection system in New Jersey.  Thousands of miles of duct and fiber have been installed around the country by Creamer crews.  Guide rail projects have been completed around the country including 180 miles of design-build in Florida.  Countless miles of water mains have been installed in the northeast from Massachusetts to Maryland and Washington, D.C., as well as the installation of 42-in. pipe in the Mojave Desert.  
 
Legacy & Moving Forward
Flock elaborated on how Creamer has been able to remain successful after 90 years, noting the company’s ability to enter new markets and reinvent the type of work it approaches. In one of the first new ventures of the 21st century, the renewable energy market became an area of focus for Creamer and the company has constructed wind and solar projects.  Creamer Environmental Inc. is the remediation entity.

Creamer has been able to remain successful by being adaptable to the ever changing ideas and types of construction.  They have been innovators. Creamer employs knowledgeable and ambitious people who have the client and the company’s reputation in mind. Employees adhere to the corporate core values of Safety, Quality, Reliability, Integrity and Productivity.”

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J. Fletcher Creamer & Son Inc. has a history of close affiliation with local communities. Whether through the philanthropy of the family foundation, the funding of college scholarships since 1988 for students of employees, or volunteering time to serve on charitable boards, the Creamer family has been a part of giving back for decades. The company also prides itself on its many long-time employees and multi-generation employee families working for the company. A successful family-owned business, J. Fletcher Creamer & Son Inc. plans to be around to celebrate a century in business in 2023.

Andrew Farr is assistant editor for Trenchless Technology

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