ST. LOUIS - More than 1,000 retirees and employees gathered last December to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Murphy Co. Mechanical Contractors & Engineers.

“Delivering ‘valuable solutions’ to customers has driven and will continue to drive this company,” said Patrick J. Murphy Jr., president. He is the fourth consecutive descendent of founder John C. Murphy to head the firm.

From its beginnings as a two-man plumbing shop, Murphy Company has grown to be the largest mechanical contractor in St. Louis and 10th largest in the United States, posting revenues of $195 million in 2007. At the 100-year mark, the company has more than 200 salaried employees and up to 800 union craft workers, including those in the pipefitter, boilermaker, plumber, sheet metal and labor trades.

According to the company, “Adaptability and ingenuity have been hallmarks of the firm from the beginning. For instance, to survive the downturn in work resulting from the Great Depression that began in 1929 the founding Murphy purchased foreclosed rental properties. The somewhat predictable rental income from the buildings helped to keep the company afloat.”

Up through the mid-1940s, Murphy Company was a four-man firm, located in the city of St. Louis. After World War II, the company fully participated in the post-war economic expansion.

By the 1960s, it had diversified into working on wastewater treatment plants, a burgeoning field that ultimately paved the way for Murphy’s first industrial work for clients still served today. Murphy added process piping and equipment erection for industrial and wastewater treatment plants to its service repertoire.

In 1971, the company relocated to Olivette, Mo. The mid-1970s saw Murphy investing heavily in fabrication facilities and equipment for plumbing and piping to improve the quality and efficiency of its installations. Today, its fabrication facility encompasses 48,000 square feet. The firm also capitalized on its in-house engineering expertise by offering design-build services.

Murphy completed facility expansions across the street from its office in 1982. In 1983 it launched a regional office in Denver. Murphy further expanded its services with initiation of the Quick Response Group in 1985 and with the 1986 acquisition of Grossmann Contracting, at the time St. Louis’ largest independent sheet metal design-builder.

In 1998, then Murphy Co. president Jim Murphy Jr. served as president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America.

A company spokesperson said, “Equally remarkable is that after one century in business, the multi-generational family culture continues to permeate Murphy Company, where more than 30 current employees count grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, or siblings who have worked or still work for the firm.”

Publication date:01/21/2008