Fielding great teams for over 97 years.
In the early 1900s, Jack Sr., emigrated to Canada and embarked on a cross-country journey starting in Toronto with brief stops in Regina, Saskatchewan and Lethbridge, Alberta before finally settling down in Prince Rupert, BC (approx. 40 miles from Ketchikan, Alaska). At each of these stops, Jack would open up a new plumbing business and start up a local soccer team.
After nearly 20 years in Canada, Jack got tired of the weather and headed south for sunny Long Beach, California. On his trek south in 1923, Jack made a stop in southwest Washington.
At that time, the Long Bell Timber Company was preparing to build the largest sawmill in the world on the banks of the Columbia River. The town’s founder, Robert A Long, had to transform this lowland bog into a community capable of supporting such a grand endeavor. The company town needed schools, housing for employees, and a major hotel. Jack Sr. wasn’t a visionary like Robert A Long – the town was named Longview for “Long’s view” – but he knew they would need a good plumber.
Jack scrapped his plans for California and set up shop in “downtown” Longview on Commerce Avenue. He promptly started a soccer team called the Longview Timber Barons and, in the early years, the soccer team was more successful than the plumbing business.
The Timber Barons won the Governor’s Cup and the Oregon and Washington State Championships. The team was made up of immigrants who had come to the “new country” after WWI. The plumbing business kept pace with the town’s needs for the next few decades.
By the late 1960s, Longview had changed.
Its economy was bustling and industrial work was becoming more prevalent. Jack H. Kelly, Jr. now ran JH Kelly and knew that in order to maintain its status as the number one provider of construction services, this company would have to change its tactics. And it did.
In the early ’70s, the third “Kelly” took over JH Kelly. Longview was now booming with industrial customers in the pulp and paper industry. Dan Evans, Jack Kelly Jr.’s son-in-law, bought the business and became the new head of JH Kelly. Dan, together with his long-time friend Terry Major, made the conscious decision to move away from the residential plumbing work JH Kelly was known for and expand into industrial plumbing/mechanical work. It was a big risk, but it paid off.
By the mid-’80s, JH Kelly had expanded to employ nearly forty times its workforce of the ’60s and ’70s; Kelly had been awarded its largest contract to date totaling $85 million dollars; and, new industries and services were being introduced into Kelly’s portfolio. Now, nearly a century later, JH Kelly is one of the largest industrial mechanical contractors in the Pacific Northwest. We have over 1,000 employees and consistently see revenues of more than $300 million a year. And, although this organization looks different on paper from when Jack Kelly, Sr. first opened its doors in 1923, one thing still remains: the trust built on the job is the lasting measure of success.
Jack H. Kelly Sr. opens his first plumbing business in Glasgow, Scotland
Jack Sr. relocates to Longview, Washington and opens JH Kelly in a shop behind his house
Jack Sr.’s beloved soccer team, the Longview Timber Barons, wins the first of five consecutive Oregon state championships
Jack Sr. hands over the business to his son, Jack Kelly Jr.
Terry Major joins JH Kelly as an apprentice
JH Kelly expands from residential and light commercial to industrial clients
Jack Jr. Retires from JH Kelly, selling the well-established business to his son-in-law, Dan Evans
JH Kelly’s legendary annual St. Patricks’ Day Party inaugurated in Longview
JH Kelly begins to serve the petroleum sector and vastly expands its workforce
JH Kelly takes over the Norpac project and vaults into building major capital projects
JH Kelly begins working in Idaho at the Potlatch Pulp & Paper Facility
JH Kelly awarded $100 million Weyerhaeuser Craft Modernization project
JH Kelly enters Montana market, constructing the SRU for Cenex Refining in Laurel, Montana
JH Kelly begins competing in the high tech market
Contractor Magazine ranks JH Kelly as the 15th largest mechanical contractor in the U.S.
JH Kelly acquires Longview-based Busack Electric and LK Comstock’s Longview-based electrical operations. In doing so, JH Kelly begins providing owner direct electrical construction services to the Weyerhaeuser, NORPAC and Longview Fibre paper mills.
JH Kelly awarded Conoco Phillips project to build the first FCC Unit constructed in the United States in 35 years, leading to over $400 million of refinery capital project work over the next decade.
Jack Sr.’s great-grandson, Mason Evans, becomes President of JH Kelly – its 4th generation of family ownership
Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) Category 5 Safety Award – for achieving one million hours without a lost time injury
The National Safety Council (NSC) honors JH Kelly with a 2006 Industry Leader Award for achieving the best safety performance in its category
JH Kelly completes the west coast’s largest ethanol plant, Cascade Grain (now Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery) as well as Imperium Renewables, the largest biodiesel plant in the U.S.
JH Kelly completes OHSU Center for Health & Healing, utilizing 3-D CAD for the first time and resulting in the largest LEED Platinum healthcare facility in the U.S. at that time.
JH Kelly takes a big step into module fabrication, constructing 20 truckable SRU modules for work at the ConocoPhillips refinery.
JH Kelly completes five LEED commercial high rise projects totaling $50 million on Portland’s south waterfront.
JH Kelly doubles the size of it’s piping fabrication facility to accommodate increased demand from large clients
JH Kelly lands one of the largest jobs in company history, Hoku Materials in Pocatello, Idaho
JH Kelly wins MCAWW Safety Award (Large Contractor – 300,000+ Hours category), recognizing it as the largest safety union contractor in Washington state.
JH Kelly awarded over $100 million in grain terminal expansion work at multiple facilities on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.
JH Kelly was selected by Calumet Montana Refining to construct a new mild hydrocracker and crude distillation unit in Great Falls, Montana, totaling over $120 million
JH Kelly won competitive bids on two high profile, high-rise commercial projects in Portland, Park Avenue West Tower, and the Lloyd Center’s Hassalo & 8th.
JH Kelly acquires Seven Sisters Electrical in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. In doing so, JH Kelly begins performing electrical service at the Shell Refinery in Anacortes, Washington.
JH Kelly completes their Vancouver, WA, expansion – adding 65,000 SF of fabrication space and renovated 25,000 SF of increased office space.
JH Kelly joins the ACE Peer Group.
JH Kelly purchases Portland Mechanical Contractors to add mechanical service and sheet metal to its capabilities.
JH Kelly starts electrical service and lighting group.
JH Kelly opens its Seattle office.
JH Kelly acquires H&N Sheet Metal, doubling our sheet metal workforce to over 75 and further expanding our fabrication and HVAC service capabilities in the region.