How do you start a new company in an extremely capital-intensive industry with no start-up capital? And, if you get it started, how do you grow that company in a market where capacity already far exceeds demand, technology has not changed significantly in decades, and the market is shrinking? Fierce competition has always been the rule for Earl Industries. The ship repair industry has been established in Hampton Roads, Virginia and other major U.S. Navy ports for centuries, with several large competitors in business for many decades. In addition, in the early 1980s, new construction shipyards entered the ship repair market as shipbuilding subsided. And, in the 1990s, the size of the Navy began to shrink to a current level under 300 ships. These are some of the challenges Earl Industries has faced since its inception in 1984 and, although similar to those faced by many new businesses, their magnitude is amplified in the Government ship repair business.
Against these odds, in 1984, Jerry Miller, Frank Wagner, and Franks stepfather, Jim Earl (the namesake of the company) founded Earl Industries on several basic principles that, in retrospect, have stood the test of time. In order to maintain effective capital management, the company did not initially invest in traditional shipyard assets such as piers and drydocks. Instead, Earl has invested in top-notch people -- from experienced technicians to business managers, pays them well and offers industry-leading benefits. In addition to valuing employees more than any other company assets, company management puts the customer first, always treating the customer with respect and dedication. In this regard, repair of ships is viewed as a service rather than a commodity. Further, Earl Industries learned early on not to be dependent on critical-path subcontractors. Accordingly, the company has developed in-house capabilities such as the United Coatings Division, IMIA, and the Manufacturing Division that have allowed the company to maintain efficiencies and control schedule. By adhering to these basic business tenets, Earl Industries has overcome the many obstacles to success in the ship repair business and has not only survived but flourished.
After several years of growth, Frank Wagner and Jim Earl left the company to pursue other interests and Jerry Miller, in 1989, became the owner and President of Earl Industries. After continuous annual growth and expansion, Mr. Miller merged the company in 1995 with Digital Systems International Corporation (DSIC), a diversified, technology-based, engineering firm. While this relationship proved highly beneficial to both firms resulting in exponential growth in revenues and expanded capabilities, it was decided in January 2000 for each entity to pursue separate strategic goals. Accordingly, Jerry Miller re-acquired the firm and formed Earl Industries, LLC. The seamless transition from DSIC to Earl Industries retained the highly trained employees, management infrastructure, customer base and financial strength to continue the companys tradition of successfully accomplishing complex marine and industrial repairs on time and on budget.
Through Jerry Miller?s leadership, Earl Industries has experienced exponential growth over the years. Recognizing the U.S. Navy?s consolidation of ship homeports within the continental United States, the company in 1998, established an office and industrial facility in Jacksonville/Mayport, Florida. All of our facilities have continued to thrive and have steady growth. With the additional diversification of the company?s headquarters location to Portsmouth, Virginia; the company being recognized as the premier ship repair firm in the United States. In 2003, the company made two strategic acquisitions that greatly enhanced corporate capabilities. The acquisition of International Marine and Industrial Applicators (IMIA) added increased capability to Earl Industries? already industry-leading metal preservation capabilities resident in the United Coatings Division. And the acquisition of Portsmouth Tool + Die provided precision machining and fabrication capabilities toEarl Manufacturing.Then, in recognition of the U.S. Navy?s decision to award long-term, multi-ship/multi-option ship repair contracts requiring most of the work to be accomplished at the contractor?s piers and shipyard facilities, Earl Industries in 2004 acquired the assets of Moon Engineering Company, Inc., a modern, 60-acre ship repair facility with two fully-serviced U.S. Navy-certified piers located on the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth, Virginia.
These new market developments and strategic acquisitions added to the already robust capabilities of Earl Industries core ship repair capabilities. This has allowed the company to diversify into additional, related industries and to develop new markets and customer bases while remaining highly efficient and flexible. The company now boasts over 1000 employees with annual revenues topping $200M. In fact, the company was recognized as the 27th largest U.S. Navy contractor for Fiscal Year 2003 and the highest ranking privately held company.
Earl Industries is proud of our accomplishments and we are enthusiastic about the future of the company. But we will continue to live by those core principles that were the foundation of the companys growth and success -- people are our most important asset and the customer always comes first.