Since 1987, ACT Construction has been a leading commercial general contracting company specializing in restaurant and retail construction. Headquartered in Lewisville, Texas, ACT performs work all over the country. With a hands-on approach to each project, ACT is able offer exceptional customer service through a protocol that is put into action from estimating through completion.
When Joe Murray founded ACT, the company began as a residential remodeling firm before shifting its focus to strictly commercial work. ACT regularly works with high-profile clients such as Vera Bradley, Zumiez, Chipotle and Planet Tan. One of the company’s biggest clients is Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches for which ACT builds more than 100 restaurants per year.
Aside from its retail and franchise work, ACT has received national public recognition as the company has been featured on two network television shows, including Fox’s “Renovate My Family” in 2004. “We were contacted by a producer who worked for Fox and asked if we were interested in building a house for the television show,” recalls Murray. “We met with him and agreed on a contract to demolish an existing hose and build a completely new structure in five days, 12 hours.”
In 2005, ACT was contracted by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to build a set reflecting the era of the 1860s in western Texas, for a program called “Texas Ranch House.” “The premise of the show was to have families live there for three months and film their experiences,” says Murray. “We spent 42 days in Alpine, Texas, building a ranch house out of real adobe, with a bunkhouse and corrals.”
Once ACT completes a new-construction project, the company’s full-time customer service department steps in to follow up with each client. “When we leave a job we continue to take care of the customer,” says Murray. “We follow up with maintenance and upgrades and to make sure each client is satisfied.”
In addition to providing construction management to each project, ACT maintains 20 full-time carpenters on staff, which allows the company to self-perform a portion of the work on each job. As a nationwide company, ACT hires local subcontractors for specific trades such as plumbing and electrical. “We work with subs that are local to each project and are licensed in the state we are working in,” Murray explains. “We also maintain those relationships because we need those local subs to service the client once the project is complete.”
ACT relies on a solid network of subcontractors and strategic partners throughout the country. After being in business for more than 25 years, Murray and his team have established strong partnerships that ACT stores in a database for immediate access. “It’s been very important for us to maintain and manage these relationships,” says Murray. “These people are representing us on each job, so we have to know that we can count on them.”
Quality relationships have been and will continue to be a guiding force for ACT. The company is constantly looking internally to discover how it can better serve each client to provide the best customer service in the industry. “We have internal processes that we are constantly refining,” Murray explains. “We measure quality, schedule and price among other things to make sure we are meeting every client’s needs. There are many factors that we use to measure the success of the company.”
A passion for the industry
Becoming a general contractor was not necessarily Murray’s initial plan in life. After attending Iowa State University and studying architecture, he originally considered taking a route into the design field. After starting a family, Murray found himself in the construction business and decided to start his own company. In the beginning stages of ACT, when the company was involved in residential work, Murray found himself involved in the design aspect of each project, though that has changed since shifting to the commercial sector.
With his entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for the industry, Murray is content with the path he has chosen. “I always tell people that having your own business is like having another child,” says Murray. “I have a passion for it and it is what I’ve always wanted to do. I enjoy coming to work every day and have no plans to retire.”
ACT continues to grow. As a business that has increased its annual revenue by 10 to 15 percent each year, the company is in no danger of slowing down. By adding key personnel this year Murray is confident that ACT will grow by at least 20 percent in 2016. “The people make the company,” says Murray. “We want our employees to make a career for themselves here, so we treat them very well and we don’t have many people leave.”
With an optimistic outlook on the overall economy and the future of the industry, Murray and the ACT Construction team will build upon established relationships while continuing to create new clients and partnerships.
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