Case Studies

Atlas General Contractors LLC

Built Better Thanks to Careful Construction

Atlas General Contractors LLC (Atlas) is a general contractor and construction manager with a mission to deliver projects that are simply built better. The company is able to accomplish its goal by being built better itself. The Atlas management team has carefully amassed the most skilled and knowledgeable team in the Oklahoma region construction industry.

Originally founded as Atlas Organization Inc. in 1958, Atlas has longstanding roots in the industry and has polished its performance over a half a century. As a preferred bidder with a high bonding capacity and stellar safety record, with offices in both Bixby and Oklahoma City, Atlas continues to thrive today under current management: Mike Owen, CEO and president, and Matthew Knight, COO and CFO.

The Atlas Promise: Expertise

Atlas provides full service general contracting and construction management at risk, with design-build capabilities, in the public and private marketplace. Atlas manages time, cost and quality, and has a solid reputation for its teamwork and ingenuity. The company’s general contracting services include estimating, budgeting, scheduling and value engineering. Atlas also has a Consensus Management Program that has repeatedly earned the trust of the subcontracted trades. What it comes down to is – Atlas is an expert in its field.

Although well-known for its work building educational facilities, Atlas covers a broad slice of the commercial sector and the company has completed a wealth of correctional, medical, athletic, information technology, as well as industrial facilities. Across such varied projects, the company serves as the juggler of trades; the director, the conductor, the chef, Atlas’ job is to make sure the project is seamless and safe and putting all the pieces of a project together requires diligence.

Safety is in no way overlooked. In fact, Atlas declares that no other phase of its operation is of greater importance. The company’s disciplined approach to safety means that it has extremely low Experience Modification Rates (EMR). Every team member, including top-level executives, has, at minimum, a 10-hour OSHA safety certification. Beyond that, Atlas staff has specialized training as it pertains to specific job duties. As a fairly small company of approximately 50 employees, Atlas subs out nearly all the work – other than some concrete and woodcraft work – on a project to trusted contractors. Atlas applies the same rigorous standards to all subcontractors.

Process to Deliver on Promise

When Knight came on board nearly a decade ago, he made sure that the Atlas process was honed to best meet customer needs in the 21st century. “Times change and the market changes and the way of doing business changes,” says Knight. “It’s still building buildings, but the techniques and processes of how you do it certainly have.”

This means state-of-the-art technology. Atlas offers real-time access to project information online, as well as Daily Construction Reports (DCRs) generated from the field and available electronically. These reports include trade activity, employee head counts, quality and safety review and general comments.

Like most everywhere, competition in the construction industry, especially the private sector, has increased. Oklahoma is no exception. Competition increased a ton recently, especially in the private sector. Nonetheless, Atlas has found a way to stand out. “We have big company expertise with a small company attitude,” Knight explains. “We give you the small company feel and attention, but have the talent of larger corporations.”

Knight knows it comes down to having the right people, and consequently has built up a team of employees that exhibit skill, integrity, responsibility and accountability. To maintain a sharp skillset, employees attend trade seminars and association committees and receive frequent updates on safety initiatives. Additionally, Atlas is a member of the Associated General Contractors of America.

The Work Speaks for Itself

“We’re a smaller company, as far as the number of employees,” says Knight. “But we do fairly large projects.” Atlas projects have an average value of $8.5 million, and the company is able to compete with the big corporations. As a bondable corporation (with a Zurich A+ rating), Atlas has an aggregate bonding capacity of $80 million and an extremely low bond rate (0.6 percent).

Furthermore, with a stellar safety record, its comprehensive insurance coverage has rock-bottom rates. Together, this results in savings that are then passed on to the customer, which is how Atlas maintains high-quality while keeping cost low.

The equation works. Through meticulous management of its operation, Atlas delivers projects that are award-winning, including two recently completed LEED-certified projects: Oklahoma City Northwest Library and the Moore Norman IT Building.

In the public sector, for the city of Oklahoma City and Metropolitan Library System, Atlas partnered with LWPB Architecture to complete the Oklahoma City Northwest Library, a 35,000-square-foot facility with a design the gives nod to the oil derricks that line the Okie skyline. The project was completed in 2012 achieving LEED Silver certification.

Likewise, Atlas completed the Moore Norman IT Building. The $16.7 million educational facility was a joined effort by Atlas partnering with another trusted local firm, JHBR Architects Inc. The 74,000-square-foot project included site improvements, a second-floor build-out, a new classroom wing, as well as central plant renovations. The project was completed in 2011.

On these projects and others, Atlas’ LEED Accredited Professionals embody the experience necessary to both attain USGBC points toward certification and provide services that go beyond owners’ expectations. Knight is proud to note that the company easily provides building reclamation, product life cycle analysis, as well as the utilization of local, regionally harvested materials. In addition, Atlas does its part on every project to minimize construction waste, whether or not the end-user is looking to achieve LEED certification.

Focusing on Respect

In the end, Atlas trusts and respects it subcontractors and customers, and, in turn, trust and respect is granted to the team at Atlas. To maintain this equilibrium, Atlas chooses to partner with the best in order to meet the needs of the client – the company’s offerings don’t stop at project end, either. Atlas has a Facility Services division that offers its clients the resources needed to keep facilities running at maximum efficiencies, after project completion.

By carefully crafting a long-term vision of the company and diligently working to fulfill high quality standards, Atlas management can rest assured the company will continue to secure work. Strict morals, ethics and old school values continue to drive the workplace. Atlas’ public image prospers as it works in repeat target markets, offering its reliable services, and attracting and retaining the best employees in the industry. It’s a realized vision that has been crafted with precision.

For the future, the goal is to continue on the same path of building better as a carefully constructed company – securing more jobs and more markets, while remaining the same manageable size and without increasing footprint significantly. “We like it the way we’ve got it,” says Knight confidently. It’s a slow-growth approach that will serve Atlas well. After five decades, Atlas General Contractors LLC maintains a healthy bottom line, as well as the respect of clients to prove it.

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Spring 2018



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