Our History

Joe Messner, Jr. was no ordinary teenager.

He was born to a family with a very strong entrepreneurial spirit and steel running through their blood.
The Messner’s steel fabrication experience dates back to 1898. At the age of 16, Joseph Anthony Messner—Joe’s great, great grandfather—started his career at Thompson Ironworks as a boilermaker.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Joe’s great grandfather Joseph George Messner, worked as a boilermaker for Sun Ship until he stumbled across his first opportunity to start his own business.

In 1946, he founded a boilermaker business called Triangle Engineering in Chester, Pa. This business was then purchased in 1970 by his grandfather who operated the company until it closed in 1979.

That same year, Joe’s father and uncle opened a pressure vessel fabrication and mechanical contracting company called Five Star Industrial Services.

Given this influence, it is no wonder Joe would eventually become the fifth generation of “Joe Messners” to take on a new business venture.

Turning to a life of steel

By 16, Joe had taken a job with a local steel fabricator in West Chester, Pa. and quickly fell in love with the trade.

He worked part-time during the school year and full-time each summer break, and even spent his free time learning to weld, read drawings, fabricate structural steel, and erect buildings.

By 19, Joe had earned so much respect in the field, he was approached by a local developer to bid on the detailing, fabrication, and erection of a 7,000 sq. ft. addition to a retail center.

Joe won the job and, with only a small garage for workspace and a Dodge pickup truck, he incorporated JGM in 2001.

It took three more years for JGM to secure a similar project in size to the retail center addition.

Then, in 2004, the company landed three new projects: a renovation to the Blue Ball Barn, an historic dairy barn in Wilmington, Del. that was converted to an art gallery and conference center; a Ruby’s Diner in Chadds Ford, Pa.; and a new Houlihan’s Restaurant, in Warrington, Pa.

No longer able to work out of the confines of the garage, JGM rented a 3,000 sq. ft. fabrication facility in West Chester, Pa. But, as the company continued to grow, so did its need for space.

In 2006, JGM purchased a 7,000 sq. ft. fabrication facility in Downingtown, Pa.

JGM Becomes AISC-Certified Fabrication Facility

Moving forward with fast track fabrication and erection
The year 2008 was a turning point for JGM as it became an AISC-certified fabrication facility, separating it from other steel fabrication companies in the area.

This allowed JGM to pursue more complex and challenging projects, like a 40,000 sq. ft. utility center for Bayhealth Medical Center in Dover, Del., and a 145,000 sq. ft. warehouse facility at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Md.

As the recession took hold in America that same year, JGM and its management had to find a way to not only survive—but thrive—in a downward-spiraling economy.

The light bulb went on when JGM bid and won a fast-track project for Amazon.com—a 250,000 sq. ft. mezzanine with a 45-day turnaround time.

Once the project was successfully completed (on-time and under budget), JGM realized this type of quick-turnaround, design-build work was really its niché.

The company also began pursuing jobs outside of its typical geographical reach, taking the business national.

JGM Receives AISC Advanced Bridge Certification (ABR) and the AISC Fracture Critical Endorsement (FC).

Today, JGM continues to expand its footprint throughout the U.S., designing, fabricating, and erecting steel structures for customers across a wide variety of industries.

JGM is quickly evolving into a premier fabricator and industrial services company and has adopted the motto “When you need it yesterday,” promoting the company’s focus on fast-track projects.

JGM’s industrial division has broadened its capabilities to meet clients’ needs in design, fabrication, erection, specialized hauling, rigging, and construction management services.