Northern Bay Contractors
Tackling many project types for a variety of clients, Northern Bay Contractors has built a legacy of success over its quarter-century of business.
By Eric Slack
Celebrating 25 years in the construction industry, Northern Bay Contractors has transformed from a small carpentry company into a multifaceted leading player in the Tri-State drywall and general contracting sector. Founded in 1991, the company has built a history of quality and reliability by advancing with the times, adopting new technologies, promoting continued education and developing lasting relationships with design teams and clients.
“One of our keys to success has been our ability to transform and adapt to the projects we undertake,” President Adam Weitman says. “While specializing in a certain area proves beneficial to some of our competitors, we are strong believers in vast diversification. At any given time, we will have teams working in areas from conservation and preservation to infrastructure enhancement and mission critical.”
Working on project from inception to completion, Northern Bay strives to develop an intimate relationship with its clients. This has helped it to build lasting ties, as 80 percent of its projects in the past five years have been acquired from existing clientele. The company feels that fact alone speaks for itself in terms of its ability to satisfy clients’ needs, offering insight into financial feasibility, cost analysis, value engineering and project budgeting all the way through to the final aspects of construction.
“Our clients rely on us to get things done, and we are very committed to taking care of them from the onset of bidding on projects,” Weitman says. “Clients often want us to be first to bid on projects because we make sure that no elements are overlooked and any potential change orders are included in the original contracts. We try to be as insightful as we can when bidding and find things that others might miss.”
As it has built relationships with clients, the company has taken advantage of opportunities to add to its capabilities. Many clients have looked to Northern Bay to undertake complex and unusual projects, which has given the company the experience to become experts in many specialties areas.
“Conservation and preservation are key parts of our company, which started with our long standing relationship with Carnegie Hall and expanded to renovations at other historic sites, like Pier A in Battery Park and the prestigious Park Avenue Armory,” Director of Construction Patrick Moran says. “Having an appreciation for history and craftsmanship from yesteryear while bringing spaces in to the 21st century is something we take enormous pride in. When you enter certain specialty areas and small niches, word of mouth travels fast. For example, on the mission critical side, we’ve had long ties to the telecom industry; having performed a lot of work with Verizon helped us transition into similar opportunities.”
Perhaps the most integral investment area the company has focused on is its employee base. Many people at Northern Bay have been part of the company since its beginning. Additionally, people who worked their way up through the ranks occupy all senior positions within the company.
“Our emphasis on development and promotion from within has proven key to our success,” Weitman says. “Our people want to be here, as we find people we can bring up within the company by grooming them. People appreciate that they can grow in the company.”
Another important investment came in early 2015 when Northern Bay invested into its home base of Long Island City by purchasing new headquarters. The company feels calling this area home has been beneficial, as it has good proximity to Manhattan as well as the other boroughs. It enables employees based in New York easily access the home office while also allowing the company to respond quickly when needing to be at the job sites.
“We first moved from Manhattan to Long Island City in 2002, which helped us function better logistically,” Weitman says. “The new facility is 6,000 square feet with everything under one roof, including enough storage capacity to allow us to do some just-in-time material delivery for projects.”
“It also has a large conference room that can easily handle visiting design teams and clients,” Moran adds.
Looking forward, the company understands that many projects are becoming more budget driven. Therefore, it is important that Northern Bay get involved with projects that allow it to build to company standards without compromising quality due to budget constraints.
“We are presented with a lot of opportunities, but we have to set boundaries on jobs in terms of price and how we think a job should proceed,” Weitman says. “We don’t want to compromise our standards because of price. The construction industry has picked up, which has given us the luxury to be more selective.”
It also knows that cost is part of the equation when selecting vendors and suppliers. However, standard of service and fast procurement are the company’s main priorities. Understanding client needs and sensitivities for fast-paced projects without compromising quality and aesthetics requires the presence of highly skilled vendors and suppliers. Cultivating those relationships over the years is another part of Northern Bay’s strategy for success.
At the same time, Northern Bay is well aware of the fact that construction has its ups and downs. The company has learned many lessons since the recession hit in 2008. It knows how to savor the good times and to invest in the company so we can be prepared for the downturns, ensuing that it has the requisite capabilities to tackle many different project types while looking for clients that are more resistant to recessions.
“Our diversity will remain important,” Moran says. “We can adapt to different market fluctuations, getting involved in larger projects and being selective when the market is hot and focusing on restorations and upgrades when it is down. In our industry, there is always some form of construction going on, and we are fortunate to have many strong relationships that will ensure our longevity.”