Firm Tackles Transportation Challenges

“We had six people on site for a few weeks, helping out with the demolition part [of the] existing structure,” said Al Kaltenthaler, the company’s vice president. TranSystems is also heavily involved in the forensic analysis of the collapse. The company’s new acquisition, Lichtenstein Consulting, was called in just hours after the incident, arriving within a few days. Despite TranSystems’ expertise in such transportation tragedies, situations like this are just a fraction of the work the company does.

“We are a 100 percent transportation company,” said Kaltenthaler. TranSystems serves thousand of clients nationwide, and scores in Michigan, though it’s been a long road to build the business to this extent.

“Back in 1966 three different companies came together,” Kaltenthaler explained, “a highway bridge-type firm, a company that did freight railroads, and a port firm. The focus was to be involved with multiple modes of transportation.”

Centering on those multiple modes of transportation, along with a focused and strategic mission of going about acquiring clients, are what sets TranSystems apart from similar companies. Kaltenthaler said they make it a priority to aggressively seek clients in a way that will advance the mission of the company, please customers and hit multiple market sectors.

“Look at all the modes of transportation you have at an airport,” Kaltenthaler said. “Usually there’s a railroad close by. There’s the local street system. You have the air [travel] side. And sometimes even, depending on which airport it is, there’s going to be a federal government sector.”

He said these types of projects are ideal for TranSystems, as the company specializes in covering multiple market sectors and keeping customer costs down. “This way it’s more efficient for the client if you can cover more bases,” Kaltenthaler said. “[We] have expertise in how to handle all kinds of things.”

Kaltenthaler said that’s part of the reason he left Chicago after 10 years to move to Michigan and join the company. “I was very interested in joining this firm because we cross multiple market sectors. We’re able to go after freight railroad projects without hesitation.” He added that a sector like this is growing rapidly, especially with the rising cost of fuel nationwide. “I think with the gas prices it’s safe to say that there’s certainly an increased need for other avenues of transportation.”

Several Michigan projects are also on the company’s roster. TranSystems has recently signed up to be a part of the Detroit Regional Mass Transit Project. They’re in the process of reconstructing part of I-94 in Detroit. TranSystems is doing 50 million dollars worth of studies and reconstruction for railroad bridges across Michigan. They are also conducting a feasibility study for a project in the city of Monroe. In Lansing, TranSystems has seen its share of work with the Capital Area Transportation Authority.

Kaltenthaler said that in the future he sees several of TranSystem’s sectors growing. Security is one part that’s increasing in need. More work will continue to come from states and municipalities in terms of road and bridge work. With high oil prices, Kaltenthaler expects to see an increase in freight work.

Finally, Kaltenthaler said the company’s efficiency is something he’s respected over his last two years as vice president. “The other thing that’s been amazing to me is that it’s a fairly seamless operation. We do work for offices in other parts in the country … The stuff gets synchronized overnight, and then everything’s up to date and in both offices in the morning.” He expects that efficiency will continue to help TranSystems grow, acquire clients, and keep transportation chugging along in Michigan and around the country.

Author: Kate Carolan Reed
Photography: Terri Shaver


Al Kaltenthaler, Vice President
3100 West Road, Suite 230
East Lansing


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