RJ Underground Inc.

RJ Underground specializes in directional drilling, especially for the installation of sewer and water utilities.

RJ Underground Inc.

5330 50th St., Kenosha


Industry: Directional drilling for installation of sewer and water utilities

Annual revenue: $3 million to $5 million

Number of employees: 20-25

Most of the company’s projects, about 70 percent, are for the public sector, said vice president Mike McCormick.

“We’re usually a subcontractor to a bigger general contractor that won a public bid,” he said.

The company had a rough year in 2009 when construction projects were halted during the Great Recession.

“Everyone watched the news and was afraid,” McCormick said.

Then last year the company had a significant recovery as some construction work resumed.

“We had a big rebound, which more or less got us back to normal,” McCormick said.

Founded as a one-man shop in 2006 by president and owner Rich Johnston, the company now employs around 20-25 employees, bringing people on and off as needed for specific jobs.

In the company’s early years, most of its work consisted of fiber optic sleeve installation. As the “fiber boom” of the late ’90s began to end, the company began to evolve into an all-inclusive underground utility contractor with capabilities ranging from direct burial cable to 30-inch diameter pipes.

One key to the company’s success is the loyalty that it builds with its customers, McCormick said. The company does little advertising, relying on the relationships and reputation it has built from its work.

“We finish everything we start,” he said. “We’ve never failed to complete a project, even if the bottom line is going to be destroyed because of something unforeseen.”

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