California dreaming

Focusing on the development of multi-family housing projects in core metro areas, Canfield Development is at the forefront of some of Southern California’s most contemporary real estate trends

Based in Los Angeles, Canfield Development is a residential and mixed-use real estate and development firm, founded by company President Steve Erdman. An industry veteran with more than 40 years’ experience in the real estate sector, Steve established Canfield in 1990, and since then, the business has successfully developed countless high-quality apartments, condominiums, and custom homes across the wider Los Angeles area.Canfield a

Described by Steve as a ‘small’ and ‘nimble’ organization, Canfield’s success over the years has been driven by the company’s ability to recognize and adjust to market trends, as well as its capacity to identify properties and locations that are prime for development. From there, Canfield acts as a full-service provider capable of leading a project from land acquisition to handing over the keys.

“Los Angeles is an area where the development process can be very difficult,” Steve says. “The political situation is complicated and, among other things, you have to deal with city officials and neighborhood councils - most of whom oppose construction. We have a very strong movement in Southern California called Nimbyism, which means ‘not in my back yard’, so if you demolish three or four houses and hope to put up an apartment building in their place, there is often a lot of opposition on the grounds of increased traffic, diminished views, and sunlight obstruction. This is why we have a housing crisis in Los Angeles and it can be difficult to bring new products to the market due to these obstacles. At Canfield, our strength is being able to identify these little nuggets and use our experience to navigate through the development process. We offer a complete service from beginning to end that encompasses the identification of land, the entitlement process, the hiring of architects and engineers for design and planning, and finally construction, after which the building is either sold or managed by us.”

When it comes to Canfield’s investment strategy, the company has traditionally focused on acquiring undervalued multi-family and commercial properties in high population, upcoming areas of the Los Angeles Basin, thus achieving long-term capital gains and benefiting local communities. Though the firm is constantly evaluating opportunities, Steve believes that extravagant land costs make many areas of West Los Angeles unsuitable for development in 2020 and consequently, Canfield’s recent projects have been focused closer to Culver City, the heart of Hollywood, and the University of Southern California.

“We approach things with a balanced and conservative mindset,” Steve states. “The most important question we ask before making an investment is, ‘does this make sense economically?’ because, at the end of the day, the amount of land you wish to purchase will depend on how much rent you can eventually collect when the project it completed.

“The areas we are looking at currently are in need of modern housing. When developing in these places, sometimes the city will provide us with incentives, whereby if we offer part of the project as low-income housing, we will receive certain concessions. For example, if we are working on a 100-unit development, the city may suggest a deal that will let us build an extra 30 units, if 10 of those units are designated low-income housing. As an experienced organization, we Canfield bare very familiar with all these legal ins and outs and because the costs are so high, it is very, very important to maximize usage. If you buy a piece of land and can construct 20,000 square feet of living space rather than 10,000 square feet, the land has effectively cost you half of what you paid for it. This is our specialty - being able to seek out these properties and come up with a plan that makes economic sense and that will please our investors.”

Among Canfield’s latest developments are The Estelle and Fig 31, two projects contrasting in style that go to illustrate the company’s wide range of skills and deep industry knowhow. Completed and brought to market in October 2020, The Estelle is a modern, high-end condominium project with 61 units. Each unit has been fully equipped with the latest fixtures and appliances, including Italian furnishings, wooden floors, and coffee machines. Tenants will also be able to make use of various public areas, such as large entertainment rooms, a technologically advanced gym, a pool and jacuzzi area, and three rooftop decks offering spectacular views down to Santa Monica beach and across the city.

A student housing development close to the University of Southern California, Fig 31 may have a different target market to The Estelle, but that didn’t stop Canfield from approaching the project with the same passion and attention to detail. Like The Estelle, Fig 31 is equipped with high-end features designed to best serve its tenants and boasts four seven-story buildings within walking distance of USC. Very modern and highly amenitized, the site contains enhanced access procedures and a variety of common spaces specially-designed for student study and leisure.

“A third thing we are working on is a co-living development called the Hauser project,” Steve adds. “It is very expensive to live in Los Angeles today. In the past, you would have lived far away and commuted, but that option is no longer viable as the freeways are so busy and commuting is expensive and inefficient. The solution is to bring people to the metro areas. The Hauser development is right outside Culver City in an up-and-coming area called West Adams, which is very close to Amazon Studios, Apple, HBO, and many other hi-tech employers that hire younger people in need of modern, secure, clean and affordable housing.

“Hauser units will cost around 40 per cent less than similar sites in the city and the key to this is co-living, which means that we will provide high-end living for less money through the sharing of fully fragmented apartments. The idea is that five people live in a large apartment, share public areas, such as the kitchen and living room, but have their own private, lockable bedroom and bathroom. In addition, these buildings like Hauser have large public areas with the availability of coffee and full wi-fi access, as well as gyms, workstations, study areas, and private rooms for conducting business to support the growing amount of people working from home.”

Steve believes that co-living has the potential to become an increasingly popular trend for younger people working in cities like LA, and as such, we can expect to see many more developments like the Hauser project in the near future. As environmental consciousness increases and social norms change, Los Angeles is finding that younger generations are rejecting the USA’s traditional car culture in favor of cycling, ride sharing, and public transport. As a result, Steve indicates Canfield cthat the real estate sector needs to adapt.

“In general, young people today want to be able to live close to work, walk down in the morning and grab a Starbucks on the way. They want to live in metro areas and hang out with their friends for a drink after work. They don’t want to spend three hours in their cars each day,” he declares. “Right now, in LA, we are in the midst of constructing a fairly elaborate underground train system. It’s a process that will take many years, but slowly, as we bring people to metro areas, traffic will be reduced. Co-living will not only help to lessen traffic in a convenient and affordable way, but also increase human connection, in a city where a lot of people are very lonely, and so there is also a social aspect to this development. I definitely think it is a major trend.”

In a year when many businesses have struggled, Canfield remains strong. Though Covid-19 restrictions led to the company’s offices being closed temporarily in early 2020, construction has continued throughout and Steve reveals that all the firm’s projects have moved towards completion largely unhindered. Though the persistence of Coronavirus and the upcoming US Presidential elections have shrouded the short-term future of the industry in uncertainty, Steve is hopeful that, in the longer-term, Canfield will be able to benefit from a reduction in superfluous bureaucracy and the introduction of a more streamlined LA real estate development process.

“We are dealing with a very difficult environment in California at the moment,” Steve asserts. “We have a housing crisis and a huge homeless problem because housing is so expensive. It is not a construction issue, it is a development issue, and so I would like to see politicians soften and streamline the system, allowing us to build a lot of units more quickly and more easily. It may be that the units have to be smaller, but projects along transportation corridors and in high density core areas would help to soothe the homelessness crisis, reduce traffic, and decrease pollution.”

Canfield Development
www.canfield-development.com
Services: Real estate development

Restoring glory

Specializing in restoration and renovation projects, LS Contracting Group’s focus on building and maintaining key relationships has launched the company on a rapid growth trajectory

In June 2019, LS Contracting Group found itself named among Crain Chicago’s Fast 50, an annual ranking of the fastest-growing companies in the Chicago area. It was a moment to savor for the business. Recognized for a leap in revenue from $18 million in 2017 to $25 million in 2018, the listing was a fitting way to cap off five years of hard work for the team at LS Contracting – a period of time that saw the company grow by over 180 per cent. Speaking to Construction LS aToday, LS Contacting’s President, Thomas Laird, divulges some of the secrets behind the firm’s swift rise to prominence.

“I would say that the heart of the business is our strong culture,” Thomas begins. “The company started in 1999, so this is our 21st year, and 70 per cent of our management team has been with us since the start. When it comes to newer team members, our turnover rate is incredibly low too. Darin Mehrings, Senior Project Manager of 20 years, and Maria Lobo-Corey, Controller of 18 years, have been instrumental and an integral part in the success of our organization.

“Our values are taking care of our clients and ensuring we maintain long, fruitful, repeat client relationships. We have an incredibly strong and committed customer base that really appreciates our commitment to continuously high performance and competitiveness in our market. We’re willing to do a job from a couple of hundred dollars, right up to $5 million dollars in revenue. The fact that we are able to commit to those small, challenging, little projects is greatly appreciated. We believe that our most important project is whichever project we are currently working on, and so smaller jobs receive exactly the same quality and attention as the larger ones. A lot of contractors only want the larger projects, so our willingness to take on anything is a real differentiating factor.”

A company on a mission to ‘restore, preserve, and build’, LS Contracting is a full-service commercial general contractor with experience in a wide variety of services including new construction, alteration, commercial office build-out, lobby renovation, common area updates, and plaza repair services. Over 70 per cent of the firm’s revenue, however, is provided by LS Contracting’s specialization in restoration projects, which incorporates complete building envelope restoration whether it be masonry, terracotta, structural concrete repairs, waterproofing membrane repairs, or curtain wall restoration.

Among the most celebrated examples of LS Contracting’s restoration work is a project the company performed for the Lakeview Presbyterian Church. A complete exterior façade renovation, the work included the rebuilding of a deteriorated bell tower, installation of code-compliant fire-resistant wall systems, installment of architectural cedar shingles and siding, and new leaded glass window units. Each individual element was directed towards restoring the historically significant church’s original 1888 design – an undertaking that proved successful and earned LS Contracting the Exterior Renovation Project of the Year Award from the American Institute of Architecture. Grateful for the recognition, Thomas suggests that the award is an endorsement of the way the company approaches its work.

“We self-perform 80 per cent of the specialty restoration and repair work that we do and at least 50 to 60 per cent of the more standard commercial general contracting. Our ability to complete a successful project like at Lakeview Presbyterian is down to the skill and experience of our team members onsite, but also our ability to effectively manage a project, ensuring extensive communication with the owner with regard to setting expectations, creating a mutual LS bschedule, adhering to that schedule, and then completing the long- lasting work in an exemplary, economical, and competitive manner,” Thomas explains. “I think we have generated that culture and it is carried down to our employees at all levels. They understand the importance of performing the work in a top-quality manner and making certain that we are setting out and meeting initial expectations. The dialogue and interface we have with our clients while work is being carried out is what generates the repeat business. It’s the relationships we develop with people that keeps them coming back.”

Having been in the business for over 20 years now, LS Contracting has built up a vast portfolio of general contracting and specialist restoration projects for a diverse collection of clients. In 2017, the company won the ICRI Chicago 2017 Project of the Year for concrete restoration work performed on Lake 44Michigan’s Harrison-Dever Water Crib, proving that even offshore projects cannot slow the business down. The public trail of success, and the award-winning projects themselves, have not gone unnoticed by potential clients.

“With regards to the consultant engineering community that we work with, we have become a very well-respected contractor that performs excellent work, very competitively,” Thomas declares. “At the end of the day, if owners are happy, then consultants are happy, and if the consultants are happy with our end product, then we become a more favorable contractor to work with.

“Our reputation is growing all the time and people know that we are not combative. We are problem solvers, rather than problem makers. I think some contractors can have a very rigid philosophy where they stick to the scope of the work in any instance. At LS Contracting however, we are open and agreeable to things like scope modifications. It’s about building relationships and going the extra mile. If that means we don’t nickel and dime and change order every modification, then so be it. I think that goes a long way.”

LS Contracting’s flexibility has been particularly useful in 2020, a year marked by uncertainty and change. Considered an essential business in the state of Illinois, the company was able to continue working on a number of projects, but restrictions put in force to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic did mean that around 20 per cent of the company’s developments were put on hold. Still, it wasn’t long before LS Contracting was back out in the field.

“As soon as shelter-in-place orders were lifted, we put all our workforce back to work, which was around 85 to 90 employees,” Thomas reports. “Our admin and office staff were set up a week before restrictions were enforced, so they were LS cable to continue working efficiently and productively from home. For the most part, our project management team remained in the office, abiding by Covid-19 requirements we established and in line with a pandemic plan we had in place within the organization.

“It’s been challenging,” Thomas adds. “Our revenue is about 15 per cent off last year and our work backlog, when compared to last year, is down around 20 per cent. Nevertheless, we know we have been extremely fortunate when compared to many other businesses. The fact that we were considered essential by the state of Illinois and city of Chicago helped us significantly.”

Having successfully negotiated the major obstacles presented by 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, Thomas is confident that LS Contracting will now be able to adapt to the times, targeting its offering towards contemporary trends and requirements. Whatever happens over the next 12 months outside the walls of the company, LS Contracting will be taking assured and methodical steps forward.

“I think there is going to be a course of interior office modification and renovation as a result of the pandemic and the unfortunate circumstances it has created in terms of forcing businesses to find ways to install safe distancing and other restrictions,” Thomas states. “We are also going to make a concerted effort to do a marketing blast aimed at all existing clients, as well as trying to establish a list of new potential customers.

“One thing I’m certain about is that there will be some recession components coming into play at some point, but we have historically been very successful, even in the downturn between 2008 to 2010. There are necessary maintenance, restoration, and repair works required on any building or owner’s asset and so that benefits us. Like in 2008 to 2010, we will now drill down and focus our marketing efforts on our ability to do minimum necessary repairs and restoration. The fact that we are experienced in navigating and completing that work will be 45very helpful in the coming year or two. Even in the current climate, I see no reason why we can’t achieve $50 million in construction revenue across the next five years.”

LS Contracting Group
www.lscontracting.com
Products and Services: General contractor specializing in restoration and renovation

Community driven

A second-generation, family-owned and operated business, Johansen Mechanical Inc. has built its nearly 40 years of success on the back of long-term connections with its customer base, its employees, and the communities that it works within

It was in 1983 that Allen Johansen established his Washington State-based business, Johansen Mechanical Inc. (JMI), primarily as a sheet metal and HVAC construction entity. “In its early days,” begins second-generation President and Owner Keith Johansen, “the company mainly focused on delivering small, commercial HVAC tenant improvements. Over the years, it evolved to include HVAC service and maintenance, and custom architectural metals, along with controls and energy-saving retrofits. We have also become licensed as a General Contractor, performing select bid prime HVAC replacement projects, where the project scope is substantial in terms of mechanical and/or HVAC work.”JOhansen a

In 2004, Keith and his business partner – and now Vice President – Derek Holm formally took over the management/ownership of JMI following the retirement of Allen. Since that time, the company has remained profitable each year, including during the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009. “JMI has always promoted ‘quality work’ and a family culture, which in turn leads to a more personal customer service experience,” Keith continues “We don’t promote ourselves as being the lowest in terms of cost, but rather as providing real added value and ensuring that we take care of our customers in the long-term. The repeat business generated via this approach has helped JMI to survive economic downturns, including that which the world is currently facing with the impact of Covid-19 to the commercial construction industry.”

Companies that JMI has performed work for over the years include the likes of CenturyLink, Verizon Wireless, T Mobile, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Starbucks, Expedia, BPA and Boeing to name a few. JMI also carries out work on numerous public and private projects. At the time of press, it was working on a new Math & Science building for Overlake School in Redmond, two new Fire Stations for the city of Tukwila, and had recently completed the new Tulalip Gathering Hall in Marysville.

“JMI provides a great range of services, from our quality HVAC fabrication to custom stainless or blackened steel handrails and stairways, as well as 24/7 service and maintenance and round-the-clock customer care,” Derek states. “Our HVAC ducts and fittings are professionally cut and processed, meeting or exceeding SMACNA standards, while our specialty metals division fabricates all types of products, from corner guards to radius hand and guard rail systems. JMI has a high degree of expertise in this area, with our professional welding personnel certified in all welding processes.”

After operating out of its facility in Woodinville, WA for 37 years, it is perhaps understandable that the company would eventually find itself restricted in terms of things like shop space and outdoor storage. It was serendipitous therefore that an opportunity would present itself for JMI to purchase a larger, almost four-acre, facility with plenty of storage space, increased warehouse capacity, and ample onsite parking in Monroe, WA. Having completed a major office renovation in June 2020, JMI commenced in moving its entire operations to the new site.

“We didn’t add any new equipment when we moved, but what we did do was carefully lay out all of our shop equipment to obtain the maximum productivity flow in the shop,” Keith explains. “The new shop has a 24’ wide roll up door for loading 20’ sections of material, and we can now have delivery trucks drive right up to the front, whereas at our previous location we needed to block one lane of the street and offload trucks with a forklift. Needless to say, it has made JOhansen bmaterial deliveries flow in a much smoother way!”

The majority of JMI’s custom metals projects are ‘design build’, where it works with architects and contractors to turn a concept into something that can be fabricated in its shop. For this reason, the company has endeavoured to remain at the cutting edge when it comes to its processes and technology. “Our computer operated Hi Def Plasma cutter, with its CAD expertise, can cut all metals with great accuracy,” Derek says. “There is a catalogue of HVAC fittings and with CAD, JMI can cut anything that you can draw from the HVAC world. Having CAD and other modelling programs that drive our equipment allows JMI to be at the forefront of fabrication. Meanwhile, having the correct amount of space in our new facility allows efficiencies to increase.”

Since the advent of Covid-19 – and more specifically late March 2020 when the pandemic began to take hold in the United States – JMI has further utilized its technological expertise to develop a new product to assist with PPE shortage challenges, one that it calls Hands Free UVC (www.handsfreeuvc.com). Sold through a new satellite company of the same name, it is a hands-free, stainless steel disinfecting chamber that utilizes UVC light at a particular dose to disinfect any items placed inside. One dose lasting 90 seconds will eliminate 99.9 per cent of most known pathogens, including Covid-19. In removing hand controls, the chamber prevents the transfer of pathogens from one user to the next, and with the UVC system remaining dry at all times, products that come out of it are ready to use, making it especially useful for the disinfecting of masks and sports equipment.

Drilling down into the multi-year success of the business, Keith draws particular attention to the efforts of its people. “It is 100 per cent true to say that employees can make or break a company, and we are fortunate at JMI to have a large number of dedicated, long-term members of our team,” he enthuses. “They know our focus is on quality and customer service, and if we don’t keep our customers happy we would not survive in what is a competitive construction market. Our goal is to create a culture of family and fun, where employees feel valued.

“Among the things we do to reward our people is hold an annual holiday party, normally in January, that the whole family is invited to. We have a company fishing trip to Chelan over in Eastern WA in late April, and we do monthly barbeques. At our new facility, we have a covered outdoor barbeque area with a water feature, and a second-floor mezzanine 40featuring a large break area complete with ping pong and shuffleboard table, and a Pacman/Gallaga arcade game. We also hold regular safety meetings, because everyone working and staying safe is a major deal here at JMI. We recently received an award from AGC for having an Employer Modification Rate that is as low as you can go. This benefits both the company and its employees, by having a lower cost for workplace insurance.”

The company’s approach to its people also extends out to its local community, with JMI having participated in numerous events and initiatives over the years, including supporting the local Sky Valley Food Bank, RAVE Foundation, various charities, and Boys and Girls clubs. In the case of the latter, the company has recently sponsored its countrywide virtual auction by donating two live auction items. In the near future JMI will also be building a custom stainless steel counter for an outdoor kitchen area for the World Relief Seattle community garden in Kent WA.

“Our motto of work hard/play hard has been another key to our success and has allowed us to have some fun along the way,” Keith declares. “My own passion is fishing and being any place out on the water. I am a partner in a fishing lodge ‘Screamin Reels’ on Prince of Wales Island in Craig, Alaska (www.screaminreels.com), which is a great place to get away to for a few days, and be able to bring friends, family, and customers to experience this remote and beautiful part of JOhansen cSouth East Alaska. Derek’s passion is racing, which has been a family event with his wife Cindy and two boys since they were in pre-school 15 years ago. They started with quarter midget go carts, but have now evolved to race on the big track at Evergreen Speedway going 140mph!”

In the years ahead, JMI’s focus will be channeled towards continuing to work with select customers and niche markets, as well as making an ongoing positive difference in its local community. During this time, it also intends to begin strategizing over an ownership transition plan to guarantee the long-term future of the business.

With this in mind, Keith has one other important message to share. “As anyone in a similar position will know, business is challenging, requires a huge time commitment, and can take a toll on you as an owner. I can proudly say, however, that the support and understanding of my wife Laura has made a big, positive difference and has influenced both our family and corporate achievements,” he declares.

“The long hours away from home do, at times, get taken for granted,” Derek agrees. “That is just one of the reasons why I am also hugely appreciative of my wife Cindy’s support over the years.”

Johansen Mechanical Inc. (JMI)
www.johansenmech.com
Services: HVAC and custom metals fabrication

Modern family

Blending traditional values with state-of-the-art technology, McKnight Construction has become a full-service construction business with a reputation for high quality craftsmanship and long-lasting relationships

Since its incorporation in 1961, McKnight Construction has been providing superior quality commercial construction throughout the Southeast United States. A full-service construction company, the firm was founded by Mason McKnight Sr in McKnight a1929 and has been family-owned and operated ever since. Today, third-generation family member and company President Will McKnight is at the helm. Having seen revenues grow significantly since taking up the role, Will is now welcoming fourth-generation family members into leadership positions at McKnight - a move he hopes will drive the company towards achieving its full potential.

“With each generation, the company has grown and diversified, innovating, changing and modernizing, yet remaining in line with our traditions and family values,” Will says. “What sets us apart is our willingness to combine old school values with modern innovations. As a family company, we value our team members and their families as an extension of our own. That type of support is evident in the longevity of the careers at McKnight, which all benefits the quality of work we produce and the enjoyable process of partnering with us. We create an integrity and efficiency not possible with any other company. It’s the reason that our clients come back to us over and over again.”

Specializing in large commercial projects - including all types of institutional buildings for local, state, and federal governments, as well as various contracts for the US Army Corp of Engineers - McKnight’s complete package of construction services takes projects from design to completion. Thanks to the company’s long history, McKnight’s estimators, project managers, and field teams are widely experienced in everything from occupied school campuses to historical renovations, private business outfits to high security federal facilities. This experience, paired with the company’s family ethos, has resulted in a workforce with a wide and varied skillset, committed to completing every project safely, efficiently, on time, and with integrity.

“Our family values spread through our entire company culture, and it affects everything we do,” Vice President and Director of Business Development Jane Marie Kinsey declares. “The family nature of the business has been particularly important since the outbreak of Covid-19. In one way or another, the pandemic has resonated in every area of each person’s life, and as a company, we feel responsible for our people. That responsibility looked unique for each team member based on their circumstances, but the familiarity we feel with each person helped us address each concern individually. Working mothers educating their children at home were given support to change their office schedule to McKnight baccommodate this stressful and exhausting additional workload. Meetings were moved to video conferences, and site meetings were moved outdoors. Masks and PPE were distributed to all sites, along with hand washing stations and signage reminding our staff 34about social distancing. Lastly, we established a company newsletter to help distribute information, company policy, mental health resources, and the many updates that have been available during the pandemic.”

Despite the challenges presented by Coronavirus, McKnight and its team continue to tackle some of the most exciting commercial projects in Georgia and South Carolina. Among the company’s latest work is the construction of Fairforest Middle School, a brand-new facility in Spartanburg, SC. Alongside modern design features like outdoor eating areas and open common spaces, the school includes an observatory and planetarium. Ceilings and mechanical rooms are exposed to allow students to see the inner workings, and the terrazzo is glow-in-the-dark and depicts the solar system. Throughout September and October 2020, the firm has made commercial bids for six more major projects.

“We’re proud of every project we complete,” Director of Marketing and Procurement Blakely Downs asserts. “Each one serves the community in different ways, and we are honored to be a part of those communities. As well as Fairforest Middle School, we recently completed renovations of varying floors in a historic skyscraper in Downtown Augusta, GA. While all of the offices feature sweeping views and share the landmark property’s character, each was outfitted to fulfil its unique needs, whether it was a high security SCIF for classified military information, or shared common areas to facilitate team building.

“In September, we finished South Carolina’s Charleston Center for Advanced Studies, which not only includes beautiful design and craftsmanship, but will be used to train the workforce we so desperately need in our industry, as well as others. We feel privileged to contribute to the education of the next generation, and to do so for our trade in particular makes it extra special.”

As the fourth-generation of McKnight’s begin to shape the company’s future, technology is becoming more influential in the way the business operates, benefitting the construction firm at every stage of its process. From the early stages of design and estimation, outreach software called iSqFt enables McKnight to communicate with a variety of the most competitively priced and highly rated potential subcontractors, no matter the network or scope. Additionally, as bids get more complicated, the software allows McKnight to seamlessly communicate updates, addendums, and RFIs with all of its prospective partners.

In the design and construction phases of a project, when schedule and budget are arguably the biggest concerns for owners, Primavera software ensures McKnight’s schedule is maintained, as well as effectively communicated to all partners. McKnight cRegarding budget, Sage 300 keeps all contracts, finances, holdings, payroll and inventory organized and managed to guarantee that the company’s focus remains on its clients.

Communication is often cited as one of the most vital and challenging aspects of any construction project, but McKnight has technology to assist with that too. As clarifications, changes, answers, or updates occur, circulating that information becomes increasingly important and PlanGrid software allows the firm to upload and share project plans, as well as add notes, amendments, and even photos.

“Innovations such as the photo function in PlanGrid have proved invaluable for us, especially in the punch list phase because once an item is complete, it can be checked off with a corresponding photo,” reports Field Project Manager Davis Heigle. “A sense of balance is important too though, and while the fourth-generation has introduced such useful technology, we still appreciate what has kept McKnight Construction successful since 1929, and that is our teams and our quality of work. Technology is only as good as the people who use it, and we’ve got the best people in the business.”

“Thanks to the hard work of our employees, we’ve reached a few milestones this year of which we’re particularly proud. Our safety record continues to stand as a testament to our standards and protocol, and through efficient checks and balances, we’ve created a work environment where our people feel safe. We’ve kept our EMR rating below 1.0 for well over five years now, and not long ago, we received the prestigious Lighthouse Beam Safety Award from BB&T Insurance.

“Our teams are our family, and we’re exceptionally proud of how long we have all worked together. One team member will celebrate being with McKnight Construction for 50 years next September and another team member has reached 45 years. We also have an employee who is the third-generation of his family to work for us. It all goes towards the creation of a special type of comradery and teamwork that I have never seen anywhere else.”

A construction firm with a difference, McKnight is working to change the world around it for the better – both through its construction projects and its dedication to the communities in which it operates. Fully embracing its corporate and social responsibility, McKnight recently won a LEED Silver Project at Moody Airforce Base and, thanks to an in-house LEED specialist, proudly upholds LEED standards in all its work. Additionally, the new technologies in use at McKnight have supported its efforts to become a paperless organization.

An active presence in its local community of Augusta, Georgia, McKnight continues to find ways to help its hometown thrive and has recently worked in some of the city’s Opportunity Zones, helping owners take advantage of the reduced capital gains taxes available. The work is indicative of how McKnight perceives the future – an opportunity to develop the lives of the people it comes into contact with on a daily basis, both inside and outside the business.

“Our three to five-year plan predominantly focuses on our team members,” Jane reveals. “Our industry is typically a tough one, with hard deadlines and pressure, and we want to work on congratulating our workforce, as well as providing career development opportunities to ensure they get the kind of training and support that will help them to advance their careers. In that same vein, we want to focus on our future workforce too, supporting the youth of our communities and encouraging them to pursue training in specialties that have such huge opportunities. At McKnight, we not only want to fill a need in our industry, but we also want to support young people in finding a clear path to success.”

McKnight Construction
www.mcknightconstructionco.com
Product and Services: Full-service construction firm

A safe pair of hands

Langston Construction Company’s experienced field crews and office staff have consistently provided safe, on time, reliable, and quality service to its clients in the United States for more than 50 years

Established in 1969, Langston Construction Company has been a resident of Upstate South Carolina for the past 51 years. In that time, this general contractor has gone on to provide construction services to clients in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Virginia, with its portfolio of work displaying its expertise in industrial buildings, wastewater and water treatment plants, commercial buildings, renovations and expansions, and plant maintenance. Typically, the projects Langston 1that the company takes on range in value from $2 million to $10 million.

“Over the years, we have arguably enjoyed our greatest success when delivering what would be considered highly complex projects,” explains Langston Construction Company Principal, Evan Sowell, who is a 50/50 partner in the business alongside Jim Roberts. “Although we are a medium-sized general contractor, our proven ability to solve problems and work safely under tight schedule constraints means that we have been able to compete against national and global contractors for projects, while providing clients the level of service that they would expect from such businesses.

“Our mission is to consistently deliver a trouble-free project experience, and we are highly diligent when it comes to identifying a particular client’s needs. We achieve this through strong, continuous communication with the client, during which time we develop tailored strategies to address their requirements. Planning is clearly paramount, and we understand the importance of communicating our expectations, developing partnerships with trade partners, coordinating deliverables with architects, designers or other stakeholders, and working collaboratively with those involved to meet the shared project goals. This all forms part of our desire to provide added value wherever possible during the construction process, and the result is usually the forming of long-term relationships that benefits all parties.”

Detailed strategic plan
As Evan goes on to detail, Langston Construction Company has also benefitted greatly in recent years by being an enthusiastic adopter of ‘lean construction’ techniques. The term is an adaption of lean production practices applied to the construction industry, and very broadly can be characterized as being made up of techniques aimed at maximizing value and minimizing waste. “Each week, we hold staff meetings – whether it be in the office, on-site or virtually – where we look at all manner of different lean principals and track those against how we are performing as a contractor,” Evan says.

“Technology-wise, we utilize a cloud-based project management platform with a whole suite of tools for things like budget reports, RFI’s, delivery reports, safety and quality inspections, drawings and photo documentation. Meanwhile, on the estimating side, we use On-Screen Takeoff and Timberline Estimating, which is a construction estimating and takeoff solution for contractors, and we use Sage 300 for accounting purposes which integrates with Timberline,” Evan continues. “Further to all of the above, around eight years ago, we developed an internal process unique to Langston Construction Company, which all of our employees now follow. It is made up of a list of tools, templates and topic discussions that need to be completed before various stages of a project, including bidding, pre-construction, construction and close-out, to help facilitate the completion of works in the way that we want to see it done.”

Such has been the success of the business in the last year in particular, that in August 2020, Langston Construction Company was listed in Inc. Magazine’s annual list of America’s fastest-growing private companies, the Inc. 5000. Considered to be among the most prestigious lists of its kind, the Inc. 5000 represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s independent business segment.

“Our growth as a company – and our inclusion on the Inc. 5000 list – has been aided hugely by the detailed strategic plan we have had in place for the best part of a decade,” Evan states. “This plan was devised as a means of helping to take Langston Construction Company to where we wanted it to be, and it has helped to develop actions and ways of operating that have made achieving our goals more effective.Langston 2

“What was imperative for said plan to succeed was for our employees to totally buy into the idea behind it, and they did so unequivocally, which to us reinforces the fact that people remain the most important asset of any business. You can have all of the equipment, tools and processes that you want, but you ultimately need skilled, dependable people to operate them correctly, and the men and women who implement our procedures, deal with our clients and contribute to the physical work on-site are a fantastic reflection of what this company strives to be.”

Ideas & perspectives
Langston Construction Company endeavours to sit down with every member of its staff at least twice a year, during which time the discussion is centred on an individual’s personal and professional goals, and how the company can facilitate these. Meanwhile, it has also commenced with a program for its younger people that sees them given a three-year period during which they gain experience of working alongside the company’s estimators, project managers, superintendents and safety managers. This investment in the early stages of a team member’s career provides an opportunity to ensure they are on a work path that fulfils their career goals while maximizing value of those efforts to the company.

“We have a diverse range of employees, and we are extremely proud of each and every one,” Evan enthuses. “We have individuals who have worked their way up through the business to reach senior positions, we have those who were mechanical engineers by trade and who wanted a change in career, and we have those who come from completely different walks of life – both inside and outside the construction industry, including a strong military veteran presence – all of whom help to contribute different ideas and perspectives on various issues. Our employees understand that it is our collective goal to improve as a business, and their commitment to the cause shines through in all that they do.”

Protecting the health and wellbeing of said employees is a matter of utmost importance to Langston Construction Company. “We place safety above any other KPI here, making it priority number one,” Evan affirms. “We have an internal safety committee, comprised of craft workers, project & safety managers, superintendents, a corporate safety manager, and others which meets quarterly to address any safety challenges we may face. We also utilize an online learning management system where we assign computer-based training requirements for all of our people, also on a quarterly basis. We also have a dedicated onsite safety professional present at every project.

“At the end of the day, our first – and most critical – demand of ourselves is to ensure that everyone who comes into work for Langston Construction Company leaves at the end of the day as they arrived. As a smaller business, our previous safety record was 2824 consecutive days – a little over six years – without a recordable incident, and as we have grown we have set an ambitious target of achieving one million man hours’ incident free.”

Looking to the future – and having experienced an estimated growth rate of around 86 percent in the previous three years – the company today finds itself in what Evan describes as ‘sustainability mode’. “We are extremely happy with the team we have and the structure that we have built here today, and we want to make sure that we continue to sustain the levels of service that our clients have come to expect from us, before we take a further step up the ladder in growth terms. Having said that, as we continue to evolve, we believe that ever-more opportunities will present themselves to Langston Construction Company, and we look forward to taking on fresh and exciting challenges.”

Langston Construction Company
www.langstonconstr.com
Services: General construction contractor

Clearing a path to success

A skilled workforce and state-of-the-art fleet have allowed Northwest Excavating to become Southern California’s leader in operated equipment rental and underground dry utility installation

There are two main divisions to Northwest Excavating’s operation. First and foremost, the company offers heavy construction equipment rental services, allowing customers a choice of the latest trucks, dozers, excavators, scrapers, graders and backhoes. Additionally, Northwest provides an underground dry utility system installation service, specialising in power and communications. Though it divides its attention between these two arms of the business, the company is united NWE 17 8 aby one clear mission: “Our goal is to provide civil and grading construction scopes – for private and public works – the highest possible operational standard,” President Robbie Groff says. “It is our people, our equipment, and our experience that makes this possible.”

Founded in 1959 by Bob Groff, Robbie’s grandfather, Northwest Excavating has grown from a small business renting equipment to local grading and sewer contractors, to a regional leader with a current fleet of over 60 late model machines, including D8T Dozers, 623G Scrapers and 143H Blades. In order to keep abreast of the latest advancements in the industry, Northwest operates a programme of continual investment in its equipment. Among the company’s latest additions are a CAT 328D LCR Excavator with zero tail swing, a CAT 143H all-wheel drive Motor Grader, and a CAT 972H Wheel Loader with a bucket capacity of six cubic yards.

Careful recruitment and a close focus on technological developments continue to drive the company’s success. “We concentrate on having the best infrastructure possible and offer only the latest, well-maintained equipment,” Groff states. “When you reach that point, you hire the best people to operate the equipment. When you have all that, you get the best clients.”

Working with developers, contractors, local government departments and utility companies, Northwest has a history of establishing longstanding relationships with clients that continue to benefit the company today. In the 1970s, Northwest won its first dry utilities contract with AT&T and it remains a preferred contractor for the telecommunications giant in 2020. The company also holds preferred contractor status with Frontier (nee Verizon) and Southern California Edison, as well as being the only in-house contractor for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

“Our mantra is slow and steady growth,” Groff explains. “We have been building over the years and, in the last decade, we reached more customers and achieved larger revenues than we ever have before.”

Repeat business and enduring client associations have played a key role in these accomplishments. “We continue our long-term maintenance contract with Los Angeles County,” Groff adds. “We are resuming our partnership with Toll Brothers and just received our first contract at the biggest housing project in Los Angeles County. The development is in its early stages and will extend deep into this decade.”

As part of the company’s ongoing expansion, and in order to provide solutions for a wider variety of clients, Northwest has recently introduced a saw cutting division to its operation. Capable of delivering asphalt cutting, concrete cutting and core drilling services, the saw cutting division is built on the same fundamental values as the rest of the business.

“At the core of everything we do remains our mechanical and fabrication abilities,” Groff insists. “High-spec equipment and skilled operators support our field operations with care and efficiency.” Investment in a Merit 600-66 diesel concrete NWE 17 8 bsaw and self-contained Peterbilt 337 means that the company can perform curb cuts, flat-sawing up to 21 inches, green cuts, and core drilling up to a 12-inch diameter.

Whether its due to adjustments in regulations or improvements in vehicle design, equipment in the construction industry changes fast. As the company enters a new decade in which the industry’s carbon footprint falls under ever-stricter scrutiny, Northwest offers machines in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest Tier equipment and vehicle standards. The company is also utilising technology to help simplify the lives of its clients by installing Trimble GPS equipment on a variety of its vehicles as part of a grade control system.

Northwest is trusted by some of the world’s largest corporations and the company can name Sempra Energy, T-Mobile, Whiting-Turner, Skanska and Disney Studios among its list of satisfied clients. The firm’s cutting-edge fleet has also provided Northwest with a claim to fame – the company has supplied operated equipment to films such as Jurassic Park: Lost World, What Lies Beneath, and Water World.

Though equipment may take centre stage at Northwest, Groff makes it clear that the company’s staff play the starring role. “We promote the culture that our company is your work family,” he declares. “We look after our employees with care and courtesy and provide all the tools needed in the field to be safe and successful. We aim to continue with the same values that got us to this point, which we know will guide us well in the next decade.”

Northwest Excavating
www.nwexc.com
Best Practice: Investing in state-of-the-art equipment

Signs for the times

Built through a focused strategy of acquisition, Indigo Signworks has become the premier full-service sign business in the Upper Midwest of the United States

From office door appliques to custom-built 100-foot pylon signs, Indigo Signworks does it all. A design, manufacture, and installation specialist, Indigo has become renowned for its full-service approach to the delivery of sign solutions across IS 17 8 aNorth Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. As the firm’s CEO Eric Gibson explains, the journey from concept to delivery is a collaborative venture navigated through close partnership between customer and client.

“Initially, we meet and listen to customer goals and brand aspirations, and we work with them, or their affiliates, to put together a sign package that helps them meet those needs,” Eric explains. “We create sketches, devise a plan, and put the whole project together, including coordination with local authorities to meet all the needs of that particular customer. We then go to our in-house engineering and fabrication team to help build either the interior or exterior sign package. We have local project managers that coordinate the entire process throughout, and then once it has been fabricated, we have certified installation teams that go to a customer’s site and put everything in place.”

Perfecting this process, Indigo has gone on to deliver some of its most successful projects for customers. In 2019, when tasked with creating a custom-built product for a customer based in the wide, sparse oil fields of North Dakota, Indigo delivered a sign in the shape of an oil derrick that not only had full lighting capabilities, but could also simulate the motion of oil spouting from the top of the structure.

“It was quite unique to be able to create the lights and design that made the derrick project happen,” Eric states. “As new technology evolves, we are listening to our customers, trying to meet their needs, and then applying some of the newest things in the market space to help them get the effect or look for their brand that they are going for.

“As an example, over the last ten years, LED lighting has really taken over the sign industry, so we’ve worked directly with some of our lighting suppliers to try and develop new application techniques and new visual experiences for our clients. One of these new concepts is the RGB lighting that we’re integrating into a lot of our signs. We find a lot of our customers want to be able to change the accent of their exterior lighting to match different causes – changing it to pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month for example – so supporting that trend has been very exciting.”

Efficient and cost effective
More recently, Indigo has been working on a vast rebranding initiative for Minnesota’s Bremer Bank. Serving over 100 local bank affiliates in the Midwest, Indigo helped Bremer design and specify new signs for its brand, then oversaw the signs’ high-quality fabrication, before finally project managing the installation process across each of the bank’s facilities, on budget and within the set timeframe.

“It was really a cool project,” Eric says. “It took us about 14 months and Bremer Bank was very happy when we finished because they only had to deal with one company. They didn’t have to go to multiple places. We met weekly to give them project updates and it was easy for us to communicate which buildings were done, what was next in line, and how the work was being performed, so they were absolutely thrilled.”IS 17 8 b

Projects like the Bremer Bank development are supported by Indigo’s three production facilities in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fargo, North Dakota; and Minot, North Dakota. In Minneapolis, Indigo focuses on using laser etching to produce interior ADA sign packages, whereas the firm’s other two factories are more adept at delivering client-led, custom signs, from flat fronts in Minot to major pylon signs in Fargo measuring up to 30 feet long, 15 feet deep, and 20 feet wide.

“Across all three areas, we are utilizing the latest technology to make sure we are efficient and cost effective,” Eric reports. “Our suppliers are a vital part of the process too. Whatever the project, we look for vendors and suppliers who have the same level of quality as us, the same focus on innovation, and the same ability to stand behind what they do. When we build a sign, we will stand behind our workmanship for the life of the sign and we want our vendors and suppliers to do the same. We are not interested in cutting corners here and there just to save a few dollars if we think it is going to cost us that long-term relationship with our customer.”

Having battled through the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, Indigo has since used the crisis to discover new ways of giving back to its local community, as well as diversify its product range. Working through staggered schedules and in-line with social distancing protocols, Indigo offered free products and services to clinics, hospitals, and healthcare providers: A-frame signage to help guide patients to Coronavirus testing centres, as well as free service and messaging for their outdoor digital displays. Building on this, the company developed a Business Covid Package, which included elements such as A-frame signs for curbside pickup, floor graphics for six-foot distancing initiatives, and appliques for store doors informing customers of new operation procedures.

“Those were our two big things throughout the brunt of the pandemic,” Eric remarks, “but something we’re continuing to do is build plexiglass Covid barriers for everywhere from schools to community centers, local government buildings to dentists, and banks to health care centers. The barriers protect staff and customers, so we’ve seen a lot of interest from our client base for those. It allows us to get in front of our customers and show them the other things we do, so it has worked to our advantage in that way.”

Full service offering
Due to the financial impact of Coronavirus on businesses across the world, Indigo understands that new signs may not top the priority lists of many companies in the Midwest United States in 2020, but the firm may begin to see requests for more service and maintenance work on existing signs as an alternative. Fully certified by major conglomerates like 3M, Indigo is proud to service anything from small appliques to major LED pylon-topping installations. However, though IS 17 8 ctrends may come and go, and economies may crash and boom, Eric is confident that customers will continue to return to Indigo for the full-service opportunity and deeply embedded company culture that have always made the firm different.

“Being able to self-perform on design, manufacture, installation, and service really makes it easy for customers to come to us,” he argues. “A lot of companies can do the installation part but not the design, or they can do the fabrication bit but not the installation. We can do it all, start to finish, so we have full control of the process. That’s the first thing that attracts people to the business and keeps them coming back.

“On top of that, we benefit both internally and externally from our IMAGE of Indigo culture. An acronym for Integrity, Makers, Action, Growth, and Experience, IMAGE describes who we are as a company. On the ‘Integrity’ front, we are a company that leads by doing the right thing consistently. We are ‘Makers’ and craftsmen; we make things. In terms of ‘Action’, when you work with us, you know we are going to get things done. We are constantly learning, which is our ‘Growth’ opportunity, and finally, thanks to over 100 years of ‘Experience’ in the sign industry, we’ve built up full-service that separates us from everybody else out there.”

A company built on a history of acquisitions across America’s Midwest corridor, Indigo now boasts seven facilities in Minnesota and North Dakota, and an annual revenue north of $20 million. As the firm looks to drive growth over the next few years, Eric suggests that – in true Indigo fashion – more purchases appear to be in the pipeline.

“Acquisition has always been a big part of our growth strategy,” he asserts. “We look for companies that can add to our abilities and give us the additional reach to serve more customers in that Upper Midwest area. Businesses that grow by acquisition are always talking with other companies, and being no different, we do have a couple of prospective firms for purchase that we are having discussions with at the moment. I think our first goal right now is to get through this pandemic without having to scale back or do anything different, but we think customers still want to use custom sign solutions to promote their brands and we can meet all their needs in a really cost-effective manner.”

Much like the customers it serves, Indigo is constantly evolving and evaluating its brand. Though the firm has always been known as Indigo Signworks, its name will soon be changing to Indigo Signs as the acquisition of new companies continues. Along with the rebranding, customers can also look forward to an overhaul of the company’s website and communications network. With a new brand, a new look, and a new feel on the way, all signs point to exciting times ahead for Indigo and its customers.

Indigo Signworks
www.indigosignworks.com
Services: Full-service sign works

A rich history of success

With the values of performance, quality and integrity ingrained throughout its every operation, W.T. Rich Company has demonstrated a first-class ability to exceed its client’s expectations, even in the face of projects that are inherently unique, complex or challenging

WTR 17 8 aWhen Walter T. Rich founded the business that bears his name – W.T. Rich Company (W.T. Rich) – back in 1968, he did so with the goal of providing construction services to various public and private organizations throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Walter was determined that, in doing so, the firm would operate under a set of values that its figurehead held dear – namely to operate with performance, quality and integrity in all aspects of its business.

In following this approach, W.T. Rich has grown from a small family business into a hundred-million-dollar company with more than 70 employees. During this time, the firm has developed unique capabilities in serving the public construction market and in performing complex new construction, renovation, and historic restoration work. To this day, Walter Rich plays an active role in the development of W.T. Rich – serving as its Chairman of the Board – while his son Jonathan Rich serves as the firm’s CEO, and Brian Santos holds the position of President. Under their leadership, W.T. Rich has amassed an outstanding track record and an admirable reputation among owners, architects, engineers, and sub-contractors.

“W.T. Rich specializes in projects that involve unique logistical, technical and scheduling challenges,” Brian Santos explains. “We focus primarily on the Massachusetts Chapter 149A CM at Risk delivery method. We manage mid-to-large scale construction projects ranging from $30 million-to-$250 million in new ground-up building construction, major renovations and additions, and complex historic restoration within the Academic, Historic, Municipal and Public Safety sectors.”

Academic projects are certainly a specialized area for the company, as Brian goes on to reveal. “We have a passion for building schools and all the logistical and technical challenges that come with it. Many of our academic projects include constructing new schools adjacent to existing occupied schools where logistics are challenging, and safety is of the utmost importance. One of the most rewarding aspects of constructing academic facilities is knowing that we are contributing to the advanced educational environment for our future generation.”

A perfect example of the aforementioned passion would be the company’s work on the King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex project; this project received the prestigious 2020 ENR Regional Best K-12 Education Project Award. An undertaking which extended well beyond the depth of a new building – as it needed to also incorporate over 100 years of history tied into its campus – the new facility spans 270,000 square feet and houses the King Open School, Cambridge Street Upper School, King Open Preschool, King Open Extended Day, Community School, Cambridge Public Schools Administration and Valente Library.

Partnership approach
This new educational and community complex integrates public schools and the community within a densely-populated neighborhood, making space a critical element of the project. Although the footprint of the new buildings is larger than the original buildings, by housing an underground parking garage, the project was able to create and preserve an acre of green space and two acres of open space. In addition to providing a state-of-the-art learning facility, other site WTR 17 8 bamenities include the Gold Star Pool, two gyms, two basketball courts, the Charles G. Rossie Bocce Court, five playgrounds, an outdoor splash pad, Cambridge Street Plaza, Valente Reading Garden, a learning courtyard/outdoor classroom, and a 380-seat auditorium.

What also sets this project apart is the fact that it represents the first school within the state of Massachusetts to produce zero net carbon emissions by consuming no fossil fuels on-site, and having a highly efficient design to minimize energy demand. It incorporates the City’s most significant solar array – 74,000 square feet of photovoltaic panels covering the entire roof, as well as parts of the exterior walls and sunshades over the windows – and going forward will be targeting LEED Platinum and Triple Net Zero credentials.

“King Open was a tremendous success not only for the project team, but for the community, the staff, and students,” Brian enthuses. “King Open meets and exceeds the goals of the City of Cambridge with Net Zero initiatives, including geothermal heating/cooling, photovoltaic energy, and utilizes high-performance building materials. It is one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the country, and it truly is a state-of-the-art structure that W.T. Rich is extremely proud of.”

Key to the success of the King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex project was the concept of partnership. All active participants in the project, including W.T. Rich and the City of Cambridge, worked in close harmony from day one, and were supported in these efforts by an expert team of engineers and other stakeholders. The cornerstone of the team’s performance on the project was a conscious effort by everyone involved to communicate transparently, collaborate proactively, and work in partnership to make and implement decisions that were in the best interest of the project. This approach provided several benefits, including the avoidance of bottlenecks that are typically caused by slow or ineffective decision-making in the face of project challenges or issues. Each member of the team was well-informed and was able to put the needs of the project ahead of any company or individual agendas.

The King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex project was a complex undertaking with important neighborhood considerations. It required the delivery of a school and community center that embodied the City’s ‘Innovation Agenda’ regarding updating its public school system with high-quality, state-of-the art, aesthetically pleasing and Net Zero academic buildings that welcome the community as a whole. These goals fostered a deep sense of teamwork and partnership throughout the project.

Team performance
The King Open project team created an atmosphere that promoted cooperation and accountability from all parties involved. Shared best practices for proactive construction mitigation and excellent communication with the local community were utilized on this project, while the construction team was on site 100 percent of the time throughout the project. This strong, on-site presence not only allowed the team to be highly responsive to the needs of the project, but also deepened the depth and quality of the relationships between all parties.

At the end of the day, however, the true test of outstanding team performance is determined when seeing how that team performs in the face of substantial challenges and obstacles. The King Open project faced an array of significant challenges, yet the team persevered through all of these to create an impressive and high-performing school building and community complex center.

Trust and collaboration
As alluded to previously, W.T. Rich also possesses significant experience when it comes to performing historic renovation work on many of Boston’s historic landmarks, as well as others throughout Massachusetts. Examples of the company’s WTR 17 8 cwork can be seen today on buildings such as the Boston Public Library’s McKim Building, Salem Probate and Family Court, and the Thomas Crane Public Library. Indeed, several such projects have received recognition in the form of awards recognizing W.T. Rich’s skill and dedication to ensuring historical accuracy and top quality craftsmanship.

“Here at W.T. Rich, we love a challenge and historic restorations are, in my opinion, one of the most enjoyable and rewarding for our firm, in that we are tasked with taking something that is worn out, or simply unusable, and transforming it into something new,” Brian adds. “Removing exterior walls, shoring, bracing, highly detailed structural framing systems within an existing building, collaboration of MEP systems, and high-end finishes are our specialty, and we consider it an incredible privilege to be involved in such important undertakings. Perhaps the most memorable historic restoration project that I was proud to be a part of was the aforementioned Boston Public Library, McKim Building. Completing a total renovation of the existing courtyard and plaster arcade ceilings to their original state was incredible.”

As a true family business, W.T. Rich also understands the importance of its people and its culture. According to Brian, in the case of the former, the key to maintaining a highly motivated and successful team is trust. “When we hire anyone, we make a point of explaining how we are trusting each other to perform at our best every single day,” he says. “A culture of trust and collaboration is how we become successful together, and if you do not have these simple traits, we are not going to succeed in the long-run. Our clients see our levels of collaboration and our spirit while working with each other, and that is something that we believe that everyone wants to be a part of.”

Corporate culture wise, W.T. Rich has also made it a point of significance to embrace a number of green strategies that it applies to its operations. “Green Building and Net Zero Goals are extremely important to us,” Brian continues. “We ask all of our project management and field staff to become LEED Green Associates at the very least. This requirement educates our staff to become aware of the technologies around Green Building, aids us in leading our clients, and is what the design team expects from its Construction Manager.”

Like every business active in 2020, W.T. Rich has found itself operating in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic. However, whilst these are undoubtedly highly challenging times, Brian is able to point to several positive developments that have benefitted the firm. “Honestly, I think this unfortunate situation has made us better in the long term, specifically when it comes to things such as having more sanitation equipment, advanced cleaning processes and more stringent general housekeeping practices,” he points out. “As far as the market is concerned, we believe at this time that construction is moving in a positive direction, but that it is too soon to know for sure what the longer-term financial impact on the country as a whole will be.”

Looking to the next three-to-five years, Brian has a good idea as to what the firm needs to do to remain successful. “W.T. Rich will continue to work in a strategic manner, whilst operating with ‘A Team’ staffers, making sure that our clients are thrilled with the delivery of our projects. Above all else, we believe that we must ensure that we retain an industry-leading, positive and collaborative staff mindset. With this approach ingrained in our culture, outstanding project results and full client satisfaction are sure to follow.”

W.T. Rich Company
www.wtrich.com
Services: Construction company

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