Pat Munger Construction Co. Inc. featured in Metal Construction News
Strategic planning, team building and earning clients’ trust support design-builder’s growth
In 2018, Pat Munger Construction Co. Inc. completed $50 million worth of construction projects, marking the largest revenue volume in the company’s 50-year history. The banner year did not materialize entirely by chance. The Branford, Conn.-based company had been executing a strategic plan to grow its core business—low-rise metal building construction, repair and interior fit-out—when demand for construction increased.
David DeMaio, LEED AP, president and treasurer at Munger Construction, says, “The industry has been strong; it’s stronger in Connecticut than it has been for a number of years. So I think it’s a number of different things; strategic planning and some good fortune. And we’ve been around for 51 years, so we have a pretty good reputation for doing the job right.”
Solidifying a Team
Munger Construction has been growing steadily since DeMaio took over the company in 1992. From a staff of four, the company grew to 64 employees by 2019. One of the most significant turning points relative to Munger Construction’s recent growth occurred in 2015, when DeMaio says he was at a crossroads with the business. He recognized an opportunity to set the company on a deliberate course for the future. What direction the company would go, what role DeMaio would have with the company, if he would continue in an ownership position and other considerations were indefinite. “This was really important; it was a defining moment for me and the business’ history,” he says.
Subsequently, DeMaio began meeting regularly with a business consultant. He researched strategic planning and gathered input from his employees. DeMaio determined Munger Construction could thrive under direction from the next generation of leaders, and he began developing a strategic plan for the company’s next phase of growth. He started solidifying a leadership team. A marketing coordinator and business development manager were hired, two new positions at the company.
Before the changes, DeMaio was the only person soliciting new clients. Delegating and letting go of some tasks was difficult at times, he says, but he knew the benefits would be well worth the efforts and embraced the changes. “I needed to surround myself and take advantage of all the good people we have in this company and empower them with leadership responsibilities so that I could really focus on growing and running the business. And that’s a hard thing to do, to give up responsibility. It comes down to trust; I trust these folks. I surrounded myself with a great leadership team.”
In addition to building trust among employees, DeMaio’s strategic plan emphasizes building trust with potential and existing clients. To clearly communicate those efforts to clients, DeMaio’s leadership team put down in writing what they call their proven process, based on a concept in “Traction.” The proven process summarizes the execution of projects from inception to completion in nine steps, the first six of which include estimating and design work done in advance of a contract or any payment.
“The first six steps are how we define our relationship with our customer, we’re earning their trust,” DeMaio says. “That’s what this is all about; it’s earning the trust position with the customer. Once we earn their trust, they are going to be customers for life.”
The proven process gives clients greater confidence in what they can expect from Munger Construction during a project, DeMaio says. “What I’ve learned from defining this proven process is that customers look at this and go, ‘Ah, this is what Munger is about; this sums it up.’ I never fully realized how important our service and this process that we do so naturally here is to the clients. Even years after completing a project, customers talk about how we took them through that process, how we executed that process for them, and how comfortable it was.”
Making, Meeting Goals
Similarly, trust was central to DeMaio’s relationship with the business consultant, Paul D’Andrea, of Watch Hill Partnership in Bridgeport, Conn. D’Andrea wasn’t familiar with the construction industry beforehand, DeMaio says, but he found him relatable, adept at asking illuminating questions and knowledgeable from his work with Fortune 500 companies. DeMaio and Pamela DeMaio, his wife and vice president and secretary at Munger Construction, started meeting with D’Andrea. “His personality aligned very nicely with mine, and I liked his demeanor,” DeMaio says. “He knew nothing about construction, but had the ability to listen and scrutinize what we said and ask another question to make us think about what we’re doing.”
One resource D’Andrea introduced the DeMaios to was the book, “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business” by Gino Wickman. DeMaio has integrated the business strategies from the book into his company. He says they follow what Wickman calls the “entrepreneurial operating system,” which utilizes “key performance indicators.” The entrepreneurial operating system is a group of concepts for organizing and operating a business with key performance indicators, which are ways to measure success, DeMaio says. To that end, DeMaio conducts weekly check-in meetings with his leadership team where they review key performance indicators and discuss outstanding issues. Key performance indicators include the quantity of leads that came in, quantity and value of estimates sent out, quantity and value of jobs closed, amount of warranty work completed and overtime hours.
“We discuss issues as a leadership team, and I get solutions and buy-in from the entire team, which helps me run this business more efficiently,” DeMaio says. “It’s been a lot of fun since I’ve gotten this leadership team together, and they are all committed to the process.”
The weekly leadership team meetings help DeMaio run the company and get buy-in from employees in another way; the next generation, tier two leadership team members, attends the meetings to learn how the business works and contribute ideas. “Our young folks now attend the leadership meetings so they can understand the process. They bring a lot of good thought to us, and they can see how we operate and get used to the process, thus preparing them to run this business in the future.”
Pat Munger Construction Co. Inc., Branford, Conn.
Geographic area of service: Connecticut, Rhode Island
Renovation and interior fit-up
Repair and maintenance
Sustainable commercial building solutions
David DeMaio, president, treasurer
Pamela DeMaio, vice president, secretary
Stephen Mansfield, vice president of estimating and design
Michael Cormier, director of operations, project manager
Joeseph Pierandi, project manager
Roy Lamberton, project manager
Daniel Lamberton, project manager
Michael J. Cormier, project manager
Konstantinos Maltezos, finance manager
James DeMaio, project supervisor
Munger Construction’s Proven Process
Munger Construction defined its nine-step proven process to communicate value, build trust and manage expectations with clients.
1. Ask, Listen and Learn: Understand the customer’s business. What are the goals the organization is trying to accomplish?
2. Bring the Project File to Life: Create a preliminary visual representation of the project file.
3. Align: Use the visual concept, alongside the client’s project objectives, to fine-tune and revise the project file.
4. Build the Budget: Develop a detailed budget based on industry experience and the engagement of dedicated, loyal subcontractors.
5. Refine: Employ high-level, deep thinking and offer thoughtful solutions to fine tune the budget.
6. Proposal: Draft a proposal above and beyond industry standards with well defined, clearly presented line item cost summaries.
7. Contract: Compose a detailed, thorough and conscientious contract agreement for the mutual benefit of the client and contractor.
8. Execute: Provide an extraordinary building experience: on time, on budget, every time.
9. Retain: Address customer needs after project completion. Build lifetime relationships.
To view the article online, visit https://mungerconstruction.com/current-news/munger-construction-featured-in-metal-construction-news/