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OSCO Construction Group   /   A Historic Overview

K.C. Irving forms Ocean Steel & Construction (OSCO) with Hans W. Klohn as President on November 7th. Ocean Steel encompasses three operating divisions: Steel fabrication and erection (including reinforcing steel); Concrete; and General Construction.


OSCO starts production in an existing 45’ x 120’ wooden building on Chesley Street in Saint John, NB. The building is altered and equipped to fabricate structural steel and platework. A new Buffalo Ironworker and shear are purchased to fabricate pipe spools and other platework. OSCO joins the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC).


STEEL: OSCO enters the commercial market by supplying structural steel for a new Dominion supermarket on Thorne Avenue in Saint John, NB. OSCO builds a new steel fabricating plant and overhead crane runway system extending into the storage and shipping yards. The 35,000 square foot building is enclosed with precast concrete wall panels manufactured by OSCO’s concrete division.


CONCRETE: The original wooden building is moved across Chesley Street to house concrete operations. The first products manufactured include: insulated wall panels for IPP; Thorne’s new store and warehouse; the Kimberly Clark Kleenex Mill; and the Lord Beaverbrook Rink. All projects in the Saint John, NB area. STEEL: Fritz Klohn joins Ocean Steel as General Manager of the OSCO steel division. 1958-59


CONSTRUCTION & CONCRETE: OSCO’s Construction division continues work on Irving Pulp & Paper’s modernization and expansion. OSCO’s Concrete division produces its first precast concrete panels, which are site-cast in IPP’s warehouse. Don Isnor Sr. is appointed Manager of the construction and concrete divisions. -- OSCO supplies and installs structural steel and precast concrete for the new Irving Oil Refinery in Saint John, NB. OSCO’s construction division builds the refinery’s office building, warehouse, pipe racks, control rooms, and a bridge across Little River.


STEEL: OSCO enlarges plant by 12,000 square feet; adding a 40’ bay on the street side of the building. A Beatty punch and circular saw is installed at this time. CONSTRUCTION: Ferro Chemi Crete (FCC) is incorporated and begins to produce and sell “Insolite” expanded polystyrene insulation, which is used in making insulated precast panels and in general construction. STEEL & CONCRETE: OSCO opens a sales office in Halifax, NS, selling structural steel and precast concrete. CONSTRUCTION: Mace is incorporated to act as Project Manager for an expansion at Brunswick Mining & Smelting in Bathurst, NB.


STEEL & CONCRETE: OSCO enters bridge market, fabricating & erecting steel plate girders and supplying its first post-tensioned precast concrete beams for the new Jemseg Bridge in NB.


CONCRETE: Chesley Street panel shop burns to the ground. In order to satisfy contract obligations for Rothesay Paper Co’s new plant without holding up construction, concrete operations are moved to an unused National Defence building on Ashburn Lake Road in Saint John, NB. Strescon Limited is incorporated. Don Isnor Sr. is appointed General Manager.


CONCRETE: Strescon purchases the Ashburn Lake Road property in Saint John and engages Leap Associates, of Florida as a consultant to assist in plant layout and structural design. -- Strescon produces and erects its first double-t (TT) job for Irving Oil’s car wash on Garden Street, in Saint John, NB.


CONCRETE: Strescon develops Ashburn Lake Road property into a modern precast concrete plant. Strescon produces its first pre-tensioned bridge beams for the Grand Falls, NB overpass


CONSTRUCTION: Marque Construction is incorporated to replace Mace. Horst Saurteig is appointed General Manager. CONSTRUCTION, STEEL & CONCRETE Marque’s first project is to act as General Contractor for the Brunswick House office tower on King Street in Saint John, NB. OSCO and Strescon supply and erect the structural steel and precast panels. STEEL: OSCO enters the storage tank and platework markets on a bigger scale, supplying to the petroleum and pulp & paper industries, as well as domestic watertanks.


CONCRETE: Strescon joins the Canadian Precast Concrete Institute (CPCI). Strescon undertakes its first giant T project, fabricating and erecting 100 foot giant-T roof members for the new gymnasium and swimming pool at Acadia University, in Wolfeville, NS. STEEL: OSCO moves its rebar operations from Chesley Street onto the Strescon Property at Ashburn Lake Rd. STEEL & CONCRETE: OSCO & Strescon supply their first joint US project to Husson College in Maine. Structural steel and giant-T roof members are supplied.


CONCRETE Strescon installs a ready-mix concrete plant and enters the Saint John & surrounding area ready-mix market.


CONCRETE: Strescon purchases extruder to make hollowcore precast concrete floor slabs. The first hollowcore is supplied to the Colonial Inn project in Saint John, NB. CONSTRUCTION; STEEL & CONCRETE: Marque Construction is awarded: Civil work for the Irving Oil Refinery #2 Crude Unit; electrical work for the Saint John Shipbuilding expansion; and is appointed General Contractor for the CHSJ Radio and Television building. OSCO and Strescon supply and erect structural steel, precast and ready-mix concrete to these projects.


CONCRETE: Strescon expands its plant and outside crane runway as a result of increased demand for its products. CONCRETE: Strescon builds concrete pipe plant and enters the Atlantic Provinces concrete pipe market.


CONCRETE: Strescon expands ready-mix division with the purchase of new trucks and the installation of a second mixer. Strescon building further expanded to the South to accomodate increased hollowcore slab production. STEEL & CONCRETE: OSCO supplies and erects 2800 tons of structural steel for the 3rd boiler unit at the NB Power generating station at Coleson Cove. Strescon supplies and erects precast panels.


STEEL: OSCO begins an expansion program which includes: 1) New paint shop, complete with transport cart system. 2) Additional overhead crane bay to serve both the storage and shipping yards. 3) Installation of a structural steel beam & column line, consisting of roller and cross conveyors from the steel yard to the fitter stations, including a larger circular saw, a blast cleaning machine, and a new semi-automated drill/punch to replace the existing Beatty punch. In other areas of the plant, new machinery included: a larger flame-cutting machine, a larger plate bending roll, and an angle master.


CONSTRUCTION: Marque completes the Cat 104 Project at the Irving Oil Refinery in Saint John, NB, 14 weeks ahead of schedule. CONCRETE: Strescon supplies and erects two 8-story apartment buildings in Saint John, NB, using a complete concrete panel and slab construction system.


STEEL: Ocean Steel supplies and erects 3,000 tons of structural steel for Fraser Inc’s Recovery Boiler building, in Edmundston, NB. Ocean Steel supplies and erects 8,300 tons of structural steel for the new Saint John Regional Hospital. Strescon supplies & installs the precast concrete wall panels. CONCRETE: Strescon opens precast concrete sales office in Halifax.


CONCRETE: Strescon expands in Nova Scotia with purchase of LE Shaw Precast Concrete plant in Bedford. Extensive renovations are carried out in plant and office areas, including a state-of-the-art concrete batching/mixing plant. Strescon purchases machine and obtains license to produce “Corewall”; insulated, ribbed wall panels for industrial and commercial applications. Strescon builds its first all-precast concrete parking garage in Charlottetown, PEI, using the TT system.


STEEL & CONCRETE: OSCO and Strescon supply and erect structual steel, precast concrete and ready-mix for Brunswick Square Mall & Office Tower, in Saint John, NB.


CONCRETE: Strescon carries out an extensive renovation and expansion to its Bedford Plant. Alterations and additions take it to 30,000 square feet. Aquires two additional 10-ton overhead bridge cranes STEEL: Ocean Steel (New England) incorporated to support growth of sales in USA. OSCO fabricates and erects 4,500 tons of structural steel for Boise Cascade’s new recovery boiler in Rumford, ME.


STEEL: OSCO fabricates and erects 3,500 tons of structural steel for Fraser Inc’s pulpmill modernization in Atholville, NB OSCO expands its market into Bermuda when contracted by Bexco Ltd. to fabricate and deliver steel for the Bermuda Telephone Company’s new exchange building in Hamilton, Bermuda.


CONCRETE: Strescon begins work at Purdy’s Wharf in Halfax, supplying and erecting precast for the second office tower, as well as for the parking garage.


STEEL & CONSTRUCTION: OSCO fabricates and erects 3,400 tons of structural steel to Denison Potican Ltd’s potash facility in Southern NB. Marque’s electrical division installs all lighting, power and controls for: galleries; tunnel; storage building; and conveyor STEEL: Ocean Steel fabricates and delivers 5,000 tons of steel for storage tanks to Mombassa, Kenya. GROUP: Hans O. Klohn is appointed Assistant to the President, Hans W. Klohn. CONSTRUCTION: Marque Construction acts as General Contractor for Moncton Superstore


CONSTRUCTION: Horst Saurteig retires as General Manager of Marque Construction. STEEL & CONCRETE Fritz Klohn and Don Isnor Sr. are appointed Vice Presidents of OSCO and Strescon, respectively.


STEEL: OSCO expands its Rebar Division at the Ashburn Lake Road facility. The location with rail siding is retained. The existing building is demolished to provide greater accessibility. The two Peddinghaus benders are fitted with electronic panel controls, and new equipment is purchased, including: roller tables; KRB shear line; an Acme shear and an MBK automatic stirrup bender.


CONCRETE: Strescon supplies precast parking structure, using brick-faced panels in Bangor, Maine. It is Strescon’s first time using this process, in which the bricks are attached to the panels in the plant, rather than on-site.


CONCRETE: Strescon-Bedford plant expands their crane runways. CONSTRUCTION: FCC becomes active in the Construction Management market. STEEL, CONCRETE & CONSTRUCTION: FCC is contracted as Project Manager for the new Irving Lubricants blending & processing plant. OSCO & Strescon supply & erect structural steel, rebar, architectural precast & ready-mix.


CONCRETE: Strescon-SJ replaces wood roof of original building with double-tees. West footings are enlarged, and the columns supporting cranes and roof are reinforced.


STEEL: OSCO supplies and erects over 16,000 tons of structural steel for NB Power’s Generating Station in Beldune, NB. Project includes: the Boiler House Turbine Building; Scrubber Building; and Coal Handling Structures. STEEL & CONCRETE: OSCO and Strescon establish their US Sales and Construction Management Office in Burlington, MA.


CONSTRUCTION: Marque Construction completes the instrumentation and electrical contracts for the Toshiba turbine installation at the 450 MW NB Power Generating Station in Beldune, NB CONCRETE: Strescon’s Vice-President & General Manager, Don Isnor Sr. retires. Leon Grant is hired as General Manager of Strescon


CONSTRUCTION: Former Coca-Cola bottling plant on Chesley Drive is purchased and renovated, to convert it to a warehouse and shop facility. STEEL & CONCRETE: OSCO & Strescon supply & erect structural steel, rebar, precast concrete, and ready-mix for Saint John NB’s “Harbour Station”.


CONSTRUCTION: Kennebec Construction is set up to hire tradespeople for the “Merit Shop” construction market.


STEEL: OSCO acquires York Steel’s fabrication plant and metal service center in Fredericton, NB. Alan Lock is hired as General Manager. CONSTRUCTION: FCC changes logo to current version. CONSTRUCTION: Marque Construction is awarded contracts for Stone & Webster Eagle Forest Products. Projects included: civil work for the OSB mill foundations; mechanical work and all piping installation; and electrical & instrumentation work.


CONSTRUCTION: FCC signs agreement with NBTel and Nordx as a Certified System Vendor for structured cabling. They begin building their Communications Cabling Division. Marque is awarded contracts to construct a conveyor gallery for finished paper rolls; and the complete instrumentation work for the new paper machine, at Stora-Enso mill in Port Hawksbury, NS. CONCRETE: In their largest project to date, Strescon supplies & erects a completely precast concrete structure for Stora-Enso’s new paper mill in Port Hawkesbury, NS. The unique design required 6400 large pieces, of approx. 35,000 tons. The entire shell was erected within 7 months of contract award, 2 weeks ahead of schedule.


STEEL: Fritz Klohn retires as VP and General Manager of OSCO. Alan Lock is appointed General Manager.


CONCRETE: Don Isnor Jr. appointed General Manager of Strescon.


CONSTRUCTION: Carl Blanchard appointed General Manager of Marque and FCC.


STEEL, CONSTRUCTION & CONCRETE: OSCO & York supply and erect 20,000 tons of structural steel & rebar for the “King of Cats” upgrade at the Irving refinery. FCC provides foundation & underground services for the #4 Crude unit & the RFCC unit; and installs the East boundary water line. Strescon supplies ready-mix, precast concrete piling and concrete pipe & manholes. -- STEEL, CONCRETE & CONSTRUCTION: FCC constructs new office building at 400 Chesley Drive, headquarters for: OSCO, Strescon, Marque, FCC & York. The old office buildings are demolished early in 2001. STEEL: York Steel receives its ISO 9002 Certification.


CONCRETE & CONSTRUCTION: FCC constructs new state-of-the-art pipe plant for Strescon’s Saint John facility. STEEL, CONCRETE & CONSTRUCTION: “One World” Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, is adopted to integrate resources throughout all companies. STEEL: Ocean Steel expands Saint John steel yard. Extensive renovations are also carried out at York Steel in Fredericton.


STEEL, CONCRETE & CONSTRUCTION: The companies are officially reorganized into the OSCO Construction Group, in preparation for future growth in the three operating sectors. A new company, OSCO Group Services Limited, is created to provide administrative and accounting support for the three sectors. A new Group logo is developed at this time. STEEL: Alan Lock retires as General Manager of OSCO and York. Harrison Wilson is appointed General Manager of both companies. STEEL & CONCRETE: OSCO supplies and erects 3,500 tons of structural steel to Walsh Bros. for the Yawkey Center at Mass. General Hospital in Boston, MA. Strescon supplies solid precast slabs GROUP: In recognition of the contributions he has made to the construction industry, President Hans W. Klohn is honoured with a lifetime membership to the Saint John Construction Association. Employee Opinion Surveys are introduced.


GROUP: OSCO infonet is launched as internal communications vehicle. The first annual Employee Recognition Dinner is held, with service awards and merit awards presented in such categories as: leadership; customer service; community service; and health and wellness. STEEL: OSCO & York fabricate and erect over 6000 tons of structural & misc. steel for the Coleson Cover Power Plant retrofit in record time. OSCO launches Fabtrol steel estimating system CONCRETE: Strescon purchases new state-of-the-art hollowcore machine from Finland. CONCRETE: Strescon joins Precast Concrete Software Consortium to help develop Tekla 3D modelling software for North American Precast Industry.


STEEL: The OSCO Group acquires the former Canron steel fabrication facility in Conklin, New York. A new company, Ocean Steel Corporation, is formed with Mike Senneway as VP and General Manager. CONCRETE: The OSCO Group acquires Schurman’s ready-mix division, which includes plants in: Charlottetown, PEI; Summerside, PEI; and Moncton, NB. The Moncton plant will operate under the Strescon name.


CONCRETE: Strescon purchases the 13 acre MacKay lumber property adjacent to Strescon-Saint John. The aquisition will allow for additional outside storage, and future expansion plans in the concrete products business. Strescon’s Bedford Plant builds first box beam bridges using prestressed concrete box beams, for bridges in Mavillette, NS and Bedford, NS. GROUP: The OSCO Construction Group celebrates its 50 Year Anniversary.


CONCRETE: Strescon is awarded the contract to supply 500,000 square feet of precast concrete for one of the largest public works projects in New Hampshire history; the Berlin Federal Prison. The contract is the second largest in Strescon’s history.


STEEL Rod Macintosh is appointed as the new General Manager of the Ocean Steel Corporation plant in Conklin, New York. CONCRETE: Strescon builds Atlantic Canada’s first “all-precast” office building as their new corporate head office, in Saint John, NB. The 16,300 square foot building will be an impressive showpiece for Strescon’s products and craftsmanship. Part of Strescon’s $8-million capital expenditure program also goes towards retrofitting their new steel shop in Saint John, as well as major renovations at the Moncton Ready-Mix Plant, and a new Ready-Mix Plant in Bedford.


STEEL: Ocean Steel breaks into the Western Canadian market, shipping steel to Fort McMurray, Alberta CONSTRUCTION: FCC Construction builds New Brunswick’s first LEED Gold Certified building for Commercial Properties. The building is located at Somerset Square, in Saint John. FCC Construction finishes work as Project Manager for Centerbeam Place; a National Award-Winning heritage restoration project, located in Saint John, NB. CONCRETE: Strescon completes its largest precast concrete parking garage to date, at the Halifax International Airport. The largest parking garage in Atlantic Canada, the facility holds 2300 cars. The project also goes on to win a PCI award for its striking basket weave façade. Strescon’s Bedford plant installs a new, efficient, QuickWater® heating system, replacing the boiler system used to heat water during the production process. Strescon’s Saint John plant installs a new 200 ton cement silo for their precast and ready-mix operations, to increase efficiency and carry larger cement inventories. OSCO Construction Group completes the purchase of the Nova Scotia-based Pennecon Group of companies, which includes ready-mix concrete, precast concrete, rebar and aggregate production. On the ready-mix end, five new concrete plants were added, including Sackville Concrete, Bedford Ready-Mix, Annapolis Valley Ready-Mix, Glenholme Ready-Mix and TriStar Concrete Services. As part of the integration of these companies, the Ready-Mix operations take on a new identity separate from Strescon Rebranded as OSCO Concrete, each plant also retains its historical name for local continuity. The acquisition also includes Borcherdt Concrete, a precast plant in Yarmouth, NS. STEEL: The Pennecon purchase also adds a second rebar operation to the steel division, with AllStar Rebar, based in Bedford, NS.


CONCRETE: Strescon purchases new long line casting beds for their Bedford and Saint John plants, to produce insulated, industrial wall panels up to 12’ wide. Panels had previously been limited to 8’ widths. Strescon’s Bedford plant completes its first BubbleDeck® slab project for Halifax’s Dalhousie University. It is the first use of the system in Eastern Canada. Strescon manufactures and supplies its first ReCon® Retaining Wall systems. Glenholme Ready-Mix receives the Atlantic Concrete Associations’ Environment Award, recognizing environmental leadership, innovation and achievement in the ready-mix concrete industry. OSCO Aggregates relocates its operations to a new pit accross the road from the existing Glenholme Ready-Mix concrete plant and maintenance facilities. All equipment is either refurbished, upgraded or replaced at this time, resulting in a safer, more efficient, more modern and higher production operation. OSCO Concrete helps introduce innovative new concrete technologies, with the use of cellular concrete and pervious concrete to the Nova Scotia market. Strescon parking garage wins PCI Design Award for the Halifax International Airport Parking Garage. The 2300 car garage showcases an innovative “basket-weave” design on its precast façade and is the largest garage in Atlantic Canada. STEEL, CONCRETE & CONSTRUCTION OSCO Group members begin work on numerous contracts for the Picadilly Project; a $1.7 billion expansion to the existing potash mine near Sussex, NB. Contracts include those for Project Management, Rebar, Structural and Miscellaneous Steel, Precast Concrete, Electrical, and Instrumentation. By the time of completion, Ocean Steel will contribute over 19,000 tons of steel, making it the largest structural steel project in the company’s history. STEEL Ocean Steel is recognized by the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local Union No 842, for their 50+ year history in the construction industry.


CONCRETE: Strescon’s Saint John plant purchases a new state-of-the-art architectural batch plant from Italy. Strescon completes renovations to the lunchroom, washrooms, locker room and production offices in Saint John. Strescon’s Pipe Division begins work on its biggest single job ever, for the Route 1 Gateway Project, between St. Stephen/Calais and Riverglade, NB. David Bancroft is appointed General Manager of OSCO Concrete & Aggregates Limited. GROUP The OSCO Construction Group formalizes its commitment to the environment with an official Group Environmental Policy.


STEEL: Ocean Steel is awarded its first major industrial steel project in northern Manitoba; Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co. gold / zinc Lalor mine in Snow Lake. CONCRETE: Strescon completes the architectural precast panels on UNBSJ’s new Commons building. In September of 2011, the building was officially opened as the “Hans W. Klohn Commons Building”, in honour of the OSCO Construction Group’s Founding President and Vice Chairman. Strescon supplies Atlantic Canada’s largest Stormceptor®, an STC 14,000, at the new Costco site in Fredericton.


CONCRETE: OSCO Concrete adds two new ready-mix plants to its roster, with the acquisition of MacLean’s Ready Mix Concrete, based in Prince Edward Island. The new plants bring the total number of Maritime ready-mix facilities to 11. Strescon enters the Newfoundland market with the completion of a new parking garage as part of the 351 Water Street project, in downtown St. John’s.


CONCRETE: Strescon celebrates its first 50 years! MacLean’s Ready-Mix supplies the largest project in their 60 year history; almost 8500 yd3 of concrete to the Hermanville Windfarm Project. Strescon’s Bedford, NS plant receives International Safety Award from the Precast/Presctressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Strescon introduces NEXT Beam to Atlantic Canada STEEL: Ocean Steel’s extensive expertise in fabrication of welded wide flange sections results in a sub-contract to ship steel all the way to Texas, before being sent to its final home in Peru.


CONCRETE: Strescon becomes first Canadian member of the Altus Group; as a supplier of carboncast® carbon fiber reinforced wall panels and flooring systems. Borcherdt Concrete celebrates 40 years in business.


STEEL/GROUP: Ocean Steel celebrates its 60th Anniversary in business. CONSTRUCTION/GROUP: FCC Construction completes Saint John YMCA project ahead of schedule. Other Group members involved in the effort include Strescon and OSCO Concrete. CONCRETE: Strescon produces 133 foot girders for Lower Quoddy & Lake Ainslie Bridges using a four-stressing abutment setup for the first time to accomodate severe stressing. CONCRETE: Strescon joins CPCI Sustainable Plant Program, designed to encourage continuous improvement and compliance to environmental and sustainability regulations and standards.


CONSTRUCTION: Marque Construction celebrates its 50th Anniversary. The FCC Warehouse launches ToolHound®, a highly efficient tool tracking and rental computer software and scanning system. GROUP: The OSCO Construction Group is recognized by “Sustainable Saint John” for their progress in sustainability. CONCRETE: The Craigmore, an architectural concrete wall panel project completed by Strescon in 2014, is chosen as a winner in CPCI’s inaugural “Beauty of Architectural Precast Concrete Contest”. OSCO Concrete completes significant upgrades to its Schurman-Charlottetown facilities.