Construct Two Group
Although most construction firms that have a bonding capacity of at least $30 million are large companies, Construct Two Group (CTG) is a smaller operation. “Our everyday competition are the top-20 firms in the U.S. because we have a bonding capacity of $30 million,” Chairman Derrick Wallace notes.
“We’re not a large firm, but we compete with the large firms,” he adds. “We have the same capabilities that any of those firms have in terms of doing those large projects.”
Orlando, Fla.-based CTG offers construction management, design/build and program management services. The company works in the Southeast and specializes in public projects – for cities, counties and universities – and hospitality projects such as rides at Universal Studios and Walt Disney World. “We’re a niche-type firm,” Wallace says. “We specialize in doing difficult, advanced-track projects. I think that distinguishes us, and we’re very customer-oriented.”
To ensure satisfaction, CTG meets with customers early and often to steer a project in the right direction. “We start out each project with what I would call a team integration meeting where we make sure we understand all the goals and desires of the owner, so we can focus on making the project a success,” Wallace explains. “We bring all stakeholders to that meeting – it may include the user, too, so there’s no miscommunication in terms of what is being expected of that project. From that point on, it’s whatever it takes to deliver on time and in the budget that the organization is looking for.”
Quick on the Draw
CTG is working on a $1.5 million renovation project for Valencia Community College in Orlando. Although the renovation of two 23,700-square-foot, two-story buildings isn’t difficult, Wallace notes that its schedule – five months – is proving to be a challenge. The project is to be completed by August 2010 so the buildings can be used for the fall semester. But CTG is up to the challenge, and the project is on track to be finished on time.
CTG is completing all of its work at night so the buildings can remain open for classes. “It’s taking a lot of coordination and communication with the university,” Wallace says. “We did some pre-ordering of materials and did shop drawings while we were waiting on the contract. By the time we got the contract, we had shortened the schedule by a couple weeks just by being proactive.
“Other than that, we’ve just been putting the right manpower on the project. We separate each building as though they’re separate projects, and the crews in each building are doing the same things that need to be done. This is one of the larger community colleges in the state of Florida, and we’re just pleased to have been given that opportunity.”
Construct Two Group is marking its 20th anniversary this year, and Derrick Wallace says that milestone can be attributed to many mentors who helped the company in its early days. “We’re a firm that grew over the past 20 years because of opportunities provided to us by a number of organizations,” he says. “If you want to talk about a true mentoring/protégé opportunity, our firm was an organization that truly benefitted from various levels of participation in a mentoring program.
“In order for a small firm to grow, you have to have a mentor who can show you how to do certain things like become proficient in construction management,” he continues. “And you also have to have an owner who will give the company that contract. I’ve had several owners – such as Universal – that had goals for mentor participation. Then other owners, like Clark Construction, were great mentors and provided a mentorship that’s really helped our firm to grow.”
Having a mentor in Clark Construction, which is one of the country’s largest construction firms, sparked growth in CTG’s capabilities. “We grew because we had organizations who actually gave us a hand, and we were able to go from a bonding capacity of $1 million to now $30 million,” Wallace notes. “We also are hiring the right staff, are able to have good financial statements and stay on top of how we do our projects.”
Although the company has grown since it was founded, Wallace remarks that success doesn’t always come easily. “It took a lot of hard work to meet this milestone,” he says. “It took concentrating on doing the job the right way the first time. In this business, you’re only as good as your last project, no matter how many projects you do for an owner. If you screw up a project, that’s likely the last project you’ll do for that owner. We’re just going the extra mile to do whatever it takes to make sure that owner is pleased.”