Baldwin General Contracting Inc.
When Yohn Baldwin founded Baldwin General Contracting Inc. (BGC) in 2005 he had mixed emotions. “Most companies don’t survive their first few years,” Baldwin says. However, the full-service general contracting company has proven to be a major success in Oregon.
Baldwin had spent 15 years as a professional musician. At 38 years old, he decided to leave the music industry and start his own construction company. Having been raised by a father who was a woodworker, Baldwin felt he had it in him to start BGC. “It would have been a big risk even if I had not learned carpentry from my father and grandfather,” says Baldwin. “But where there’s risk, there’s also a lot of opportunity and I believe hard work, a quality job and honesty in business will lead to success.”
When BGC first began, Baldwin’s wife Tamara worked as an accountant, payroll clerk, telephone operator and chief morale builder. It was a small staff to start as BGC broke into the residential construction industry. The first year, the company grossed $400,000.
Today, the company employs up to 60 people during the busy summer season and has an annual revenue exceeding $14 million. From 2011 to 2012, the company grew 110 percent and Baldwin reports he kept growth at 20 percent in 2013, so he’s able to manage the business.
The company provides design-build, preconstruction and construction services in the commercial sector. Baldwin estimates 60 percent of BGC’s work is public and 40 percent is negotiated, with the majority of work within new construction and tenant improvements.
“It’s our operational efficiency that sets us apart,” says Baldwin. “We try to self-perform as much as 40 percent on any given job and we have a great crew of craft people who have many years’ experience. It comes down to the efficiency in management, though. Profit is made more or less in the management of any given job.”
Building for the Future
BGC has found a niche in the education sector of the construction industry. While the company does excel at new construction, recent work has been centered on upgrading current education facilities.
In April 2013 BGC finished a remodel project on Churchill High School’s science, technology, engineering and math building. The 10,000-square-foot building was remodeled and an addition was built in just 51 days. “We had to meet a federal grant timeline and get the children in the building in order to get the grant,” explains Baldwin.
BGC has also done work for the University of Oregon, renovating a 100-year-old brick building, which included a new roofing system. Additionally, at the Central Elementary School in Albany, Ore., BGC handled historic elements in another renovation project. “We tore out all the historic woodwork and catalogued it,” says Baldwin. “The building is one of the crown jewels for Albany’s historic area.”
After the woodwork was handled, BGC rewired and installed drywall in addition to redoing all of the plumbing. Once all of the upgrades were complete, the company restored the original woodwork to maintain its historical status for the $1.5 million project in just 44 days.
Baldwin explains working on a fast-track is one of BGC’s strengths. The company has been hired to complete many projects on a truncated timeline to meet the needs of the facility. For example, the company did another large upgrade for a school over the summer in order for it to be ready for students come fall.
BGC is continually advertising for new employees. “We have a fantastic team,” says Baldwin. “We’ve been able to hire great people and have had others walk through the door and say they would love to work for us. It’s a real family atmosphere here.”
Even though Baldwin began BGC a few years before the economy hit a rough spot, he has continued to grow the business. Currently, the company works mainly in Oregon, but Baldwin is looking to expand licensure to be able to work in Washington, Idaho and California within the next five years.
In addition to expanding geographically and with staff, BGC is exploring various niche sectors. “We’re looking to diversify,” says Baldwin. “We see retail coming back strong and we’re also looking into health care work.”
All efforts Baldwin is making relate back to his goal of solidifying BGC’s place in the regional market. “Our main competitors are very established companies,” he says. “We are looking to firm up our foothold in the local market.” Baldwin also hopes the growth trend will continue, putting Baldwin General Contracting Inc. in a good position for the future.
For more information about Baldwin General Contracting Inc., please visit: www.baldwingeneral.com.
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