BUILD Magazine awards International Cooling Tower “Best Cooling Tower Design and Construction Firm – North America”
Cooling towers are a vital part of the industries that keep society turning. They are crucial for keeping the lights on in your house and putting the fuel in your car. As such, we are fortunate that a company as dedicated, responsible and reliable as International Cooling Tower are behind a large number of the towers that you see on the skyline.
International Cooling Tower (ICT) is a major North American manufacturer and service provider of industrial cooling towers. ICT designs, manufactures and constructs a complete line of industrial cooling towers for the petrochemical industry, power plants, petroleum refineries, pulp and paper mills and steel factories.
The company also provides training, maintenance programs, and inspection services to all its clients. For ICT, it is never a case of building the towers and leaving. They continue to provide service even after the last brick is laid.
The ICT team and their values are the foundation of the company’s success. Among all levels of employees, there is a culture of excellence, integrity and respect. Continuous engagement with employees promotes continuous development, improving both the company as a whole and each member as an individual.
When dealing with construction projects on the massive scale that ICT does, safety has to be at the core of each operation. ICT takes safety very seriously. “We want all of our employees to return home safely to their families each and every day,” said Jeff Colliou McKay of ICT. “We have a lot of behavioral-based and on-site safety assessments that occur throughout the day on any given project. There are no shortcuts when it comes to safety. It’s always paramount. ICT is a family, so we watch out for each other and want everyone to be safe at all times.” The targeted Safety Program, Employee Engagement Program, and Leadership Feedback Process utilized by the company all work to create a safe environment and a constantly improving team.
With a history stretching back to 1958, it is no surprise that ICT are so adept when it comes to their processes. The years of experience has seen ICT grow into the market leader that they are today and aim to become throughout the world. In large part, the success of the company is down to their focus on their customers.
Over the sixty-plus years of history, of engineering and operational knowledge, of experience and growth, the company has developed a flexibility that allows them to adapt to their customers’ needs.
ICT recently completed a multicell, turnkey cooling tower replacement for one such customer. The team were hired to tear down a dilapidated cooling tower for a refinery in the Gulf of Mexico and perform a complete rebuild. The refinery had a very short outage window that the tower replacement had to be achieved within. The key to this project, Jeff says, was planning and communication. The client allowed the team at ICT to develop a suitable plan then gave the go-ahead for them to carry it out precisely as they laid it out.
“ICT had to remove all of the existing mechanical components from the tower. We then had to start from scratch and build two new cells, but the team was prepared for any obstacles. We were able to really focus on project management, control, and planning, which mirrored how well the project went. Because we were able to develop risk planning and a very good communication plan, if any risk came up — whether it was planned or unknown — we had a game plan on how to fix everything effectively. We had the ideal amount of people in a very small space to efficiently finish the work on time.”
The flexibility and laser focus that ICT displayed with this project is typical of the standard to which they perform. For instance, in some cases, they adapt their plans so that some cells can remain running while they work on new ones, or, as with this project in the Gulf of Mexico, they can perform their operations inside a shutdown window. Having their engineering, procurement and construction groups all under one roof allows them to utilize a vast array of experiences and skills to ensure every project can be a success.
ICT has a very bright future. They have seen substantial growth over the past five years — growth that looks to continue as they move forward. The company’s manhours in the US went from 300,000 five years ago to approximately 1.2 million in 2019. The company has even developed its own fabrication facility in Arizona in order to facilitate their builds and make projects more efficient.
The quality level of planning and execution that ICT has demonstrated in their past projects is commendable. As they move forward, their expertise and experience will serve them well as they continue to grow and expand.