PCCA Hall of Fame
Upon inducting Herb, PCCA Executive Vice President Tim Wagner said: "The work ethic and character of individual PCCA members is why this association and this industry have been so successful. Tonight we will honor one of those individuals--Herb Fluharty.
"There is so much to say about Herb that it’s hard to find a place to start. Herb is a great leader, a great husband, a patient and generous father and grandfather, and a loyal friend. He created on of the most successful companies in the PCCA membership and still found time to serve on the PCCA board of directors and as president for one and a half terms."
In 1970, Herb established Fluharty Engineering, Inc., in Rosebush, Michigan. The company focused its business around civil engineering and land surveying projects primarily targeting municipalities, realtors, and individuals in the central Michigan area.
Although Herb had worked for a few large corporations, he had gained most of his experience as chief engineer for his father’s pipeline construction firm, Welded Construction Co.
In 1974, the company began providing land surveying, drafting and inspection services to Dow Chemical USA on pipeline construction projects within Michigan. As a result of these projects and Herb’s background, the company began to focus on providing pipeline engineering services to other customers in the Midwest.
In 1975, Herb sold part of the business to Welded Construction Co., which was now owned by his uncle, renamed the business Mears Engineering. In 1980, Herb re-acquired Welded’s share of the business and began to search for new services to provide within the pipeline industry.
In 1980, Dow Chemical USA asked Mears to help them with cathodic protection problems on their pipeline system. Herb set about assembling people and equipment to perform these services and began to focus on cathodic protection as a business.
By 1983, Mears had undertaken a massive project to create a complete cathodic protection data management system targeted at the needs of pipeline companies. This project directed national attention to Mears and opened the door to numerous customers. pipeline companies to provide other cathodic protection services.
In 1984, Mears/CPG, Inc., was incorporated as a separate entity to focus entirely on cathodic protection and to market the new software system.
In 1986, Mears began installing a new cathodic protection product, AnodeFlex, and began developing and perfecting methods of installation. Since then, Mears has become recognized as the preferred designer/installer of this rehabilitation system.
As part of the growth in AnodeFlex installation, Mears needed a way to install the product in environmentally sensitive areas. At the same time, the technology of Horizontal Directional Drilling was being developed, and the company recognized that HDD would enhance the AnodeFlex installations.
In 1991, Mears purchased a small drilling rig and in 1993 formed Mears/HDD, Inc. to pursue HDD opportunities. By coupling the company’s resources in pipeline engineering and construction with its drilling expertise, this business has been able to grow from the one small rig in 1991 to one of the top-five HDD contractors in the world.
In September of 2000, Mears Group was acquired by Quanta Services, Inc. This partnership enhanced Mears growth and ability to take on projects of any size.
While Mears projects and offices span the globe, the company headquarters is still located in Rosebush, where the company made its mark in the pipeline industry.
Rosebush is also home to the Herbert L. Fluharty Training & Test Facility, which was dedicated in 2007. The facility is the cornerstone of a training program for employees who perform field activities such as excavation, pipe coating, AnodeFlex, ECDA indirect inspection surveys, and direct examinations.