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JGM Celebrates 20 years of American Made

At 19 years old, Joe Messner, Jr. started a small metal fabrication business in Thorndale with one truck and one trailer. His first project was the construction of a retail liquor store and Joe says, “the irony was that, I could build it, but wasn’t of age to go inside.” Starting at such a young age, Joe credits his family for laying his strong foundation of work ethics, “I come from a very entrepreneurial family on both sides, I knew hard work, had a dream and took it from there.” From the small shop, JGM grew to what it is today, a Coatesville business; home to 120 employees that have earned a reputation for solving heavy industrial construction and fabrication challenges for clients nationwide, in 19 different states.

And they build on a massive scale. Their jobs range from construction of commercial buildings, rapid response emergency projects, industrial maintenance, fabrication, piping install and rigging and transport of large pieces of steel. They can lay claim to working on iconic structures such as the “Benz” Atlanta Falcons Stadium, upkeep at the Conowingo Damn, the Tappan Zee Bridge that spans the Hudson River and structural steel for Yuengling Brewery and Sam Adams Brewery- to name just a few.

With such sizable projects under their belt, Joe points out the ultimate focus of the company, “safety is paramount for us.” In their facility in Coatesville, a major expectation is ongoing training and assurance that JGM is grade A across the board in safety certifications. He says, “we’re going to make sure everyone is going to come home safe at the end of the day.” ­

That camaraderie makes all the difference at JGM. “We have a lot of family here. On the shop floor; we have brothers that work side by side, a father and son duo, family is our foundation.” The crew is made up of estimating and project management teams, highly skilled fitters, welders, ironworkers, millwrights and boilermakers. Joe also works alongside his father Joe Sr. as Executive Vice President, his brother J.P. as Vice President of Estimating and his uncle is a construction manager. He says, “sure we have titles, but we’re very collaborative and supportive with one another. Whatever it takes to get the job done.”

Many jobs that come across their desk are time-sensitive and complex. Known as the safest, fastest most effective industrial fabrication partner in North America, they’re challenged to construct or repair colossal structures and do so meticulously. Joe notes that continuous education plays a big part. “We never stop investing in our team.” Their in-house apprenticeship program allows them to teach crucial skills specific to their work and also the core values the business has held steadfast, from day one. “We’re always learning. Ongoing training of our team isn’t an option but an expectation.”

The close-knit culture and commitment in the workplace also rolls into their community engagement. Joe and his team are proud to participate in the Youth Mentoring Partnership, which supports at risk youth in Coatesville and Philadelphia. They also engage with support for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Toys for Tots and donation of educational advisory items to trade school programs.

The business formerly operated out of two facilities, in Downingtown and West Chester. They consolidated the two into one site off Valley Road. Joe happens to be a 5th generation local Messner to build a business and career in steel fabrication. Steel has always been at the root. “Right now, we buy a ton of steel from mills for our projects, and then we go out and do work on the steel mills, it comes full circle.” Being located just outside the “steel city” of Coatesville turned out to be the right fit for them.

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