50 Years of ORC Employee Spotlight – Rod Fisher
50 Years of ORC Employee Spotlight – Rod Fisher 683 1024 Southland Holdings

Rod Fisher’s journey in the construction industry spans an impressive 47 years, marked by dedication, hard work, and a passion ignited during his middle school days. His introduction to Oscar Renda in 1972, as a coach and history teacher, laid the foundation for a lifelong connection. After an initial separation following Fisher’s 8th-grade triumph in football, fate brought them back together when Rod sought employment years later. Renda, now heading Oscar Renda Contracting, welcomed him with open arms, promising to teach him the ropes.

Joining Oscar Renda Contracting on August 15, 1975, as a green but eager learner, Fisher started as a laborer, emphasizing the importance of every role in the construction process. Evenings were spent honing his skills on equipment, and his diligence quickly earned him a promotion to his “dream job” – an equipment operator. Rod recognized early on that hard work opened doors, and the company offered ample opportunities for those willing to prove themselves.

“I showed up and was green as grass, but was eager to learn,” he said. “I saw some equipment there and right then I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

Promotions followed as Rod demonstrated loyalty and took on challenging projects. In 1983, he stepped into his first managerial role as a Foreman in Odessa, Texas, learning invaluable lessons about teamwork and working with project owners. The company’s growth paralleled Rod’s ascent, and in 2000, he was entrusted with his first project as a Superintendent. Managing the SAWS Dos Rios to Salado Project showcased the leadership’s genuine concern for employee growth.

In 2008, a pivotal moment arrived when Rod managed a significant pipeline project in California. Subsequent involvement in a major tunnel project in Northern California demonstrated the company’s diversity, with Rod relishing the experience. Over the years, he’s been part of over 40 projects, taking him from coast to coast and currently finding himself engaged in a project in New Orleans. Rod Fisher’s story is one of dedication, growth, and a testament to the opportunities that unfold when hard work meets passion.

Reuse Pipeline and Diffuser to Lake Lanier in Gwinnett County, GA – Featured Archive
Reuse Pipeline and Diffuser to Lake Lanier in Gwinnett County, GA – Featured Archive 150 150 Southland Holdings

Reuse Pipeline and Diffuser to Lake Lanier

The Lake Lanier Reuse Pipeline and Diffuser Project was completed by Oscar Renda Contracting in 2010. The $25-million project aimed to enhance Lake Lanier’s environmental sustainability. The Army Corps of Engineers imposed stringent permit restrictions, particularly regarding the pipeline’s elevation, to mitigate disruptions caused by the reservoir’s water level fluctuations. ORC installed a 54″ force main that lead to a Pressure sustaining/reducing vault that ultimately discharged reuse water over a mile into the lake.

Constructed in the floodplain area, the vault posed unique challenges, demanding the deployment of cofferdams and advanced dewatering techniques. The valve vault excavation reached a remarkable 53′ below the ground surface, utilizing innovative engineering methods such as sheet piling, soil nails, and shotcrete to ensure structural integrity.

Beyond the vault, a 72″ pipeline extended into the lake, requiring a strategic combination of a barge, cofferdam, and trestle system to navigate the land/water interface. Negotiating a complex 5,600′ underwater path, ORC utilized sectional barges with cranes, divers, and excavators. With the lake reaching up to 110′ in depth, the project needed precisese dredging that was guided by divers.

The installation of the 72″ steel pipe showcased meticulous engineering. Large spreaders connected to cranes were used for secure bedding, and a vacuum system, guided by divers, played a crucial role in pulling the pipe into place. The Lake Lanier Diffuser project marks a historic project in ORC’s history, and has contributed significantly to Lake Lanier’s environmental sustainability, leaving a lasting positive impact on the community and ecosystem.

North MacGregor Relief Tunnel in Houston, TX – Featured Archive
North MacGregor Relief Tunnel in Houston, TX – Featured Archive 150 150 Southland Holdings


The North MacGregor Relief Tunnel in Houston, Texas is a significant infrastructure project worth $13 million. It spans approximately 3,340 feet and has a cutting diameter of 189 inches. The tunnel features precision-made segmented liners with an outer diameter of 179 inches and an inner diameter of 161-1/4 inches, manufactured with zero tolerance for precision. Completed in 2008, this tunnel was constructed in the midst of the second largest medical district in the United States. It runs beneath North MacGregor Drive, the main thoroughfare leading to the major hospitals in the area. The project involved navigating through three reverse curves and included the construction of a storm tunnel shaft near Brays Bayou. Additionally, it encompassed the building of a single-pass tunnel, an outfall, and multiple storm water connections.

This particular project held great significance for Southland as it marked a pivotal moment in the company’s history. Southland Contractors, in a joint venture with Oscar Renda Contracting, eventually led to Oscar Renda fully acquiring Southland. The successful collaboration and teamwork on the North MacGregor Relief Tunnel project contributed to the establishment of the Southland we know today.

“Southland Contractors became part of Oscar Renda on that project, we all worked as a team together and we really had a great group of guys” – Burson Warren, Project Manager

Houston, being situated near the Gulf of Mexico, often experiences flood risks due to sudden flash storms in the area. Since its completion, the North MacGregor Relief Tunnel has played a vital role in safeguarding the city’s crucial areas from flood damage. The installation of two storm boxes measuring 8 feet by 8 feet, along with improvements to the existing transmission line, has contributed significantly to maintaining the safety of this area.

Circus Bridge in Venice, FL – Featured Archive
Circus Bridge in Venice, FL – Featured Archive 150 150 Southland Holdings

Circus Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway in Venice, FL

This $35 million Major Bascule Bridge Replacement with new Control tower and three miles of new roadway was completed in 2005 by Southland subsidiary, Johnson Bros. The project was completed for FDOT District 1 and spans SR 41 over the Intracoastal Waterway. The bridge center span has 90 feet of horizontal clearance and unlimited vertical clearance in the open position. The Circus Bridge Project was selected by FDOT for the 2005 Best in Construction of Major Bridge Award and was also nominated for the national AGC Marvin Black Partnering Award.

The bridge gets its name as an homage of Venice’s past connections with Barnum & Bailey’s Circus. For many years, the circus used Venice as its winter home and were located right next to the current bridge. The Ringling Bros. are no longer stationed in Venice, but they are remembered in the area through the bridge.