GRP | WEGMAN: 72 Years of Success from Christian Values, Humble Roots

May 3, 2024|

GRP | WEGMAN Company started as two separate companies, GRP Mechanical Company, Inc. and Wegman Electric Company. GRP was founded in 1952 in East Alton, Ill. as General Refrigeration and Plumbing by Thomas DeClue, Sr. One of the original service tickets from 1955 shows three hours of work to replace a motor in a frozen food case with the customer’s provided motor for a grand total of $13.50. In the 1970s, Thomas Declue, Jr. joined GRP after graduating as a mechanical engineer from Rolla, Mo. Under his leadership, GRP’s headquarters moved to Bethalto, Ill. where he started an industrial piping division; he changed the name of the company to GRP Mechanical Company, Inc. to better reflect the work it performed. In the early 2000s, Thomas Declue III (T3) became president of GRP and helped expand into more industrial markets, HVAC service and design-build for the education and municipal markets.

In 2018, GRP purchased Wegman Electric Company. Wegman was founded in 1938 by Chauncy Wegman as an electrical contracting firm serving commercial and industrial clients in the Alton and Wood River, Ill. His sons, Robert and Donald, assumed management of the company after Chauncy’s retirement. In 1987 the sons formed an Employee Stock Ownership Plan and sold Wegman to the ESOP, which is when Terry Buhs became president. During Buhs’ time as president, the company expanded its electrical services for both commercial and industrial customers, its largest customer Phillips 66 refinery in Roxana, Ill. In 2020, Wegman merged with GRP and the combined company emerged as GRP | WEGMAN Company.

Present-day operations of GRP | WEGMAN Company are led by Thomas DeClue III as CEO and Christopher Ammann as president, along with an incredibly talented group of division managers. The secret to GRP | WEGMAN’s success is in the employees it hires and the culture that has developed over the past 20 years. One of the most defining characteristics of its culture is the autonomy of its diverse divisions, made up of: HVAC service; design-build in education, government and nonprofits; electrical service; plant maintenance; mechanical service; fabrication; electrical construction; and renewable energy. Corporate leadership sets the strategic plan of the firm and manages to that plan, but division leaders have full responsibility for their own division and have the primary decision-making roles in its operation…truly a model of trust. Leadership of the company also relies heavily on leaders’ Christian faith to guide the business. Customers see evidence of this in each employee’s dedication to honesty, transparency, accuracy, quality, creativity, efficiency and professionalism. GRP | WEGMAN has grown extensively and plans to diversify the company in other areas of the U.S. by using its corporate culture to attract high-performing employees in its core business units, and by leveraging the vast knowledge base within the employees as a part of the already successful business units of the company. There is currently no top-line sales number to measure the success of the growth initiative; rather, success will be measured by the happiness of its customers, employees, third-party partners and shareholders.






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