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Rayco Industrial, Inc. celebrates 20 years of operation

On Friday, Rayco Industrial, Inc. celebrated 20 years of service.
Rayco Industrial, Inc. is a general contractor focused on industrial construction in Selma and the surrounding area.
Rayco specializes in mechanical work such as pipe fab and installation, equipment setting and boiler work. Rayco can perform steel structure fab and installation and can also perform civil work such as concrete and demolition.
Owner Ray Harrelson said the innovation center started in 1998.

“Pioneer Electric was a big help for getting us started,” he said. “I started with five people, and I started with a dream. I took it and we picked up work. We did more the first year than I thought we would.

“We continued to grow,” said Harrelson. “We saw that we needed to diversify. We got into pharmaceutical, food and we got into chemical plants. Now recently we are into the power plants now.

“We are working a power plant in Florida right now,” he said. “Right now we are running about 220 employees, and we see that getting up around 300 by the end of the year. Business is up 40 percent. We work in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

“I thought when I put 20 years in it would be easier, and I would be able to kick back, and take it easy, but since so much work is breaking loose and all over the United States, we are having to turn down work,” he said. “We are going to take care of our clients first. International Paper has been a key player in Rayco’s success. They are having this development now out at Riverdale Mill, and they are making a big investment. We have picked up some work, and look forward to picking up more work. International Paper is trying to put as many local contractors to work as they can because they know if they do that they are going to put local people in the community to work.

“We hope to be a big key player with them,” said Harrelson. “This project could go a year and a half, and it is good for the economy here in Dallas County and Selma. We just got our first job with them, and we will start in a couple of weeks and hopefully we will continue to grow from that.”

Harrelson said that a lot of his employees are from Dallas County, but a large amount of them travel from other places.

“We try to hire as many local people as we can,” he said. “That is where we go to first to get our help, and we do heavy industrial. We are not residential or commercial. We do a lot of business in Burkville, Alabama for the SABIC plant. We do a lot with them, and we do a lot with the steel mills down in Mobile.

“We do travel,” he said. “It is not our first choice, but sometimes you have to get out and go where the work is. I have been very fortunate though with our turnover in our supervision is nearly nothing.

“I treat my employees well,” Harrelson said. “I take good care of my employees. I treat them good, and pay them good. They have benefits, and we just don’t have a turnover in supervision.”

Harrelson said the company has two shops in Selma, one in Craig Field, and one off Highway 41.

“We have the resources to do almost anything in the construction industry,” he said. “We have all the equipment to do the variety of things that have to be done in structural steel and in piping.

“Anytime you put people to work they are going to spend money,” he said. “By having as many employees as I can from Dallas County, I feel like it is helping enrich the county and the city.

“We have a lot of good workforce in the county,” said Harrelson. “I shop for the top welders in those classes here in the county. It is not the name of the company, it is the people who work for a company that make it.”

Before Harrelson began Rayco, he was still preparing to own his own business.

“I spent 20 years in the business getting ready to start a business,” he said. “I started planning this, and when I went into business I never had in my mind if I was going to make it. I knew I had to make it because everything I had worked for for 20 years was invested, and I didn’t want to start over.

“It was a tough go,” he said. “The first five years were hard, and I remember never leaving the office before 8 or 9 p.m. There was no quit in me, and I stayed after it and just kept pushing.”

Harrelson said he wanted to thank the community and leaders of Selma and Dallas County.

“Without them we probably couldn’t have made it,” he said. “I want to thank Pioneer Electric. I will always be in debt to them. I want to thank the people that work for me. They are hardworking people and good people, and my wife has been by my side through the entire time. The good Lord is someone I owe the most too as well.”