Richard Kovach founded BEMO USA (BEMO) in 1999 as a branch of his business, Kovach Panel Wall Systems. BEMO acted as a unique, formed roofing and wall systems division and soon outgrew its parent company.
“In 2001 we made the decision to run with the company as its own entity,” says Kovach, president and CEO of BEMO. “The success of that decision can be attributed to the people who had a vision for the company’s niche market and maintained a customer-service driven attitude.”
As BEMO has grown, the team has gone international. The manufacturer and installer of multipanel roofing and wall systems constructs unusual designs using composite and metal. Working with a set network of installers and architects, these structurally sound and visually appealing systems are growing in popularity worldwide. “Now our best people are traveling all the time,” explains Kovach. “They have a level of cultural awareness that allows them to do this work anywhere.”
Design and Manufacturing Capabilities
The key to the company’s success is the management team, which is headed by Odis Sutterfield, vice president of sales, operations and special projects for BEMO. Odis is assisted by a number of seasoned managers, including Bob Strang, western regional manager for BEMO, who has been with the business for over a decade.
From the company’s Mesa, Ariz., office, Strang oversees BEMO’s regional operations, as well as assists with international projects. “Airports and convention centers are projects we really specialize in,” notes Strang. “There are a variety of shapes that can be constructed, as well as different choices of metal and surfaces that customers can choose from. This business is really a combination of art and construction.”
The business employs an in-house team of engineers and 3-D BIM modeling services, which is a first for this industry. Steve Menendez, chief engineer for BEMO, brings over 30 years of construction experience to the company. Working closely with architects, BEMO constructs roof systems that are attractive and durable, in an unusual but efficient manner.
“We manufacture roof panels on the jobsite,” elaborates Strang. “This does three things for us: It helps to maintain the structural integrity of the product, it keeps the panels from becoming damaged in transport, and it allows us to produce full-length panels without end laps.”
BEMO owns 15 highly specialized machines, including the MONRO System. The MONRO System is a mobile, precision factory and the only one of its kind in the world, enabling BEMO to form nearly unlimited three-dimensional shapes in sheet metal roofing panels to fit nearly any roof geometry that the designer can imagine. The machines can heat and cool the materials to allow for more precise and cleaner shapes without the risk of damage. In addition, the MONRO Manufacturing Mill is strong enough to bend and stretch a variety of metals of varying thickness. This allows each job to truly be customized to achieve the vision of the customer, as well as the architect.
“This is not inexpensive technology, but neither are the buildings and structures that require it,” adds Strang. “We have our high-end panel forming machines, as well as separate curving mills. Almost every roof we manufacture is done on site. These panels really should not be made and then transported. Our forming and stretch curving technique allows us to produce metal roof systems that are more visually appealing and structurally sound. Production speed is highly important on any project, and our mobile mills can stretch and shape 125 to 150 feet of metal every minute, thus reducing project schedules and labor costs.”
BEMO works with zinc, stainless steel, aluminum, Galvalume, and other metals that are installed in mill finish or are coated with PVDF Kynar resin, supplied by Valspar.
Serving International Markets
As a United States-based company, BEMO performs a lot of work domestically. However, the team has built a global presence, which has added stability and boosted profit margins. During a tough economic slump for many builders in the United States, BEMO’s international presence has given the team financial stability.
“The domestic market is not going to correct itself in the next five years and we aren’t going to hunker down and wait for it,” contributes Kovach. “Contractors need to find what else the world has to offer because globalization is real and the possibilities for growth are endless. This international experience has been quite humbling because it shows us that contrary to popular believe, the United States is not where the most spectacular designs and building challenges exist. Those types of structures are being built in place like the Middle East, China and southeast Asia and South America.”
As BEMO draws inspiration internationally, the team continues to make its mark on the global scene. The company constructed the largest stainless steel roofing system in the world at nearly 300,000 square meters – which is equivalent to 3 million square feet – for Doha International Airport in Qatar. The exterior features striking metal waves and other modern structural components.
The BEMO team’s other projects include the Sacramento Airport in California, as well as the impressive, tubular Lemay Auto Museum in Tacoma, Wash., which borrows inspiration from classic roadsters. In addition, the team completed an Arizona Department of Transportation project at the Grand Canyon.
Such impressive projects are made possible through partnerships with a network of skilled architects and subcontractors. The team at BEMO has worked closely with design firms like LEA Architecture, HOK, Corgan and Populus among others. For construction, BEMO works with a set of quality reliable contractors. “Our partnering network allows us to achieve the most for our clients from each project, while creating a structure that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing,” explains Strang.
The business continues to grow, embodying a leading standard of quality rarely matched in the international market. Kovach says the next several years will see BEMO entering emerging markets and expanding on international relationships. With a unique niche, and a commitment to innovative technologies, BEMO USA will continue to lead the industry in unique exterior construction and manufacturing.
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