GSS Durango Project

Global Specialized Services recently completed a major crane and transportation project in Durango, Colorado. This was the first project that GSS utilized its 500-ton crane, constructing a parking structure for a hotel that is currently in the process of being built. 

GSS was awarded the project in April of 2023 by a longtime partner who continually utilizes TAKKION for various projects, large and small. 

“We developed this relationship with the client a couple of years ago when we did a job for them in Jackson Hole with one of our Demag AC250-5(300 ton),” said Michael Orr, the Crane Operations Manager for GSS. “It was the same type of work – precast concrete – but the job in Jackson was a lot smaller and didn’t require the same type of crane we used with this most recent job. But we developed such a good working relationship with these guys because of that job that they rely heavily on us now for all of their crane and transportation needs.” 

Orr stated that GSS was provided the opportunity to work with this client due to the fact that the company continues to prove itself as the industry leader in providing solutions for heavy haul transportation and crane services.  

“When they first called us about a job in Jackson, Wyoming, it was really short notice,” Orr said. “The guy that contacted me asked if I could come and look at the job in Jackson that very same day. And I did. I went down there and jumped on it on a moment’s notice. I got together with him and went over it with him, and we did some pre-planning for the job right there, on-site. And he told me, ‘Honestly, I didn’t expect you to come down here and look at this job, but since you jumped through some hoops and made it happen, we’re probably not going to ever shop for another crane company. We’re just going to use you guys.’” 

And that’s exactly what they’ve done ever since. 

That’s what led to the most recent project. GSS, for the very first time, utilized its AC7.450 

The AC7.450 is a 500-ton crane with 7-axles. It has the longest reach of any 6 or 7-axle crane and it has a 410’max tip height. It’s got a 262’ main boom, and it is the only crane in its class that can mobilize with the boom attached under standard allowable DOT axle weights. The AC7.450 is as compact as any 6-axle crane, but it has the capacity of many 8-axle cranes, with new features like the SSL (Sideways Superlift) Design. 

“We bought this crane envisioning doing a lot of up-tower windmill work,” Orr stated. “When this job came up, they wanted us to use a crawler [crane], but I went down there and looked at the site and realized that the crawler just wasn’t a good option. So I talked to them, and we came to a mutual agreement that the AC-450 was a much better option because the maneuverability of it allows us to fit into tight spots a lot better than the crawler would.” 

Orr stated that three or four different people worked on the Durango job, including an on-site manager, a rigger, and an on-site transportation trucker. Orr himself would oversee the project a few days a week as well. During the project, the AC-7.450 lifted over 369 panels, and transported every one of them from the origin. 

“When the loads are delivered on time, it saves a lot of headache and it also saves a lot of money because the crane’s not sitting there, waiting on loads to arrive,” Orr offered. “With that being said, the client knows that there’s not going to be a lot of downtime for the crane, because we’re managing the trucking as well. So it’s really a win-win for the customer and for us.” 

Speaking of win-win, this project as a whole was a big win for all parties involved, and it continued to prove that GSS is an industry leader when it comes to transportation and material handling of major structures. By doing such an incredible job building the parking structure outside of a hotel in Durango, the owner of said hotel immediately took notice and asked to work with GSS as well. 

“After completing this project, there was another project that followed that didn’t have anything to do with our previous client,” Orr said. “The owner of the hotel where we built the lot saw the way that we worked, and saw our equipment and our professionalism, and he came up to me and asked if we would be interested in setting the hotel modulars. This is going to end up being a four-story hotel, which will make it the tallest building in Durango. So I told him we were absolutely interested, and we will be going back to set all those modulars.” 

GSS was offered a new, different project simply because the client saw just how well they performed. This is yet another example of GSS setting the standard in this industry. They will begin working on the modulars in December of this year. Orr also stated that because of this project and because of Ashley Thrun’s trucking management skills, GSS now handles 90% of this customer’s transportation needs. 

“This new job shows off our diversity too,” Orr beamed. “We’re going from a precast job right into a modular job, which are two totally different sectors. But we can handle it all. And, right now, our 450 [crane] is actually on a wind farm, working on a generator swapt. So we’re going from a wind job, to a compressor job, and then back to this modular job in Durango.” 

There is a lot that the AC7.450 crane can do and a lot that GSS as a whole can do. The Durango project was proof of that. 

“I think this project really demonstrated our diversity and what our capabilities are,” Orr said. “It showed that our capabilities are basically limitless. We’re able to jump from one sector into another without missing a beat. And it also demonstrated our dependability. We prove ourselves with each and every project we complete.”