If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
As World War II began to draw near, the demand for crude oil and products by the military and civilians began to grow. This led to the development of “Big Inch” steel pipes. The name “Big Inch” comes from the size of the pipes being bigger than twelve inches in diameter.
In 1942-1943, the Big Inch and Little Big Inch pipelines were constructed for the United States government by WEP (War Emergency Pipelines). The pipelines’ purpose was to transport refined petroleum and crude oil products from the Gulf Coast region to distributing and refining areas in Philadelphia and New York City.
In 1947, the Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation purchased the Inch Lines from the U.S. government as “war surplus property”. This was after the lines had experienced major disruptions due to the attacks from German submarines.
In February of 1998, Big Inch Fabricators & Construction was incorporated with four equal partners consisting of George Brinkley, Doug McCord, Jim Hurst & Blake Hartman. At the time, Brinkley was working for Hoke Construction in Tuscola, Illinois, running their business.
After years of not seeing eye to eye with the second generation of management at Hoke, Brinkley reached his breaking point and decided to start the Big Inch business. He contacted Blake Hartman, who was the construction manager at Panhandle Eastern Pipeline. Brinkley shared his idea with Hartman. With George’s knowledge of the fabrication principles and Blake’s contacts in the pipeline industry, the pair knew they could make this work. Hartman and Brinkley recruited Jim Hurst, a pipeline supervisor and Doug McCord. McCord was a Fabrication Foreman for one of Hoke’s main competitors, JL Allen Company in Tuscola, IL.
Currently, Brinkley serves as Vice President with Doug McCord as President as well as seven shareholders for the company.
Once the business got off the ground, the plan was to fabricate and test piping for other contractors until Big Inch was able to stand on their own. They quickly found out that if they wanted to be successful, fabrication and installs would have to be done by themselves as well. Brinkley stated, “I wanted a place for myself and employees to enjoy their trade on a daily basis, which in turn would provide a paycheck for a decent living to help support their families.”
Big Inch’s primary business is the fabrication and installation of piping for natural gas and oil transportation systems. Big Inch also does steel fabrication as well as manufacture extensions for the large underground valves that can have above ground operations.
After twenty-three years in business, Big Inch has been awarded Indiana’s Fast-Growing Business twice. Based in Montezuma, Indiana, the family business has sixteen full-time families on the payroll.
George Brinkley has three sons that work at the company: Shannon Brinkley as Fabrication Manager & Superintendent, Travis Brinkley as Materials & Logistics Manager and Dustin Brinkley as Secretary & Treasurer and Administrative Project Manager. Blake Hartman’s sons have also worked in the business. The remaining employees both in shop and office are supplied by Local 157 Plumber and Steamfitters in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Big Inch’s clientele includes Energy Transfer (who own over, 150 affiliated companies), Marathon, Enbridge, Tallgrass Energy & TransCanada and many others.
Presently, their shop output is 250,000 to 350,000 weld inches per year. Their actual single shift yearly capacity is nearly 500,000 inches. One of the largest projects Big Inch has been involved in was the line reversal of the Centennial Pipeline. Compressor Station installations are other large projects the team works on.
“We have installed or reworked compressor stations in several states,” Doug McCord said. “These are multi-million-dollar projects and employ hundreds of people.”
For more information check out their website. www.biginch.net