Blount Contracting Inc.
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Blount Contracting Inc. (BCI) was founded in 2000. The husband and wife team of Jerry and Trudy Blount, president of BCI, had a vision; a vision to provide for their family while building a strong, reliable contracting business with a reputation to be proud to stand behind.
And that is exactly what the Blounts have achieved. The company has grown for 13 years, moving to its current location in East Mesa, Ariz., in 2005. Randy Blount, Jerry and Trudy’s son, as well as vice president of BCI, joined the business in 2004; he is proudly carrying on the family legacy.
Sadly, Jerry passed away in 2012 after fighting a long battle with cancer. Trudy and Randy ensure that his legacy lives on, as they continue to build strong relationships with clients, strategic partners, employees and the surrounding community.
“Our company has been able to do a lot of good over the years with some of our profits,” Randy explains. “We participate in a number of charitable events and that is one of the things that I am most proud of. We can do good things for our community and take care of our families. It’s also fun to drive around town and tell your children that you helped build a project.”
An Analytical Approach
BCI acts primarily as a site development company, performing earthwork, paving and asphalt maintenance. “We specialize in negotiated work,” Randy explains. “Most of our clients are general contractors or design-build contractors. We also do power plant industrial work, health care projects, education, multifamily development and municipal work.”
According to Randy, the company tries to take a very analytical approach to its work, and uses that approach to guide the decision-making process. “We strive to mesh the analytics with an understanding that the general contractor is our customer,” he says. “Sometimes in this industry, the relationship between subcontractors and general contractor is strained; they battle about what’s in their scope and what’s not. We do our best to understand their perspective as we build a project and work through any issues that may arise.”
In order to provide a plan and schedule that fits the needs of owners and general contractors, BCI utilizes a system of metrics. The company also uses the same number-based system to make decisions about company purchases. “We try to make sure we make decisions based off something that’s actually measurable,” Randy elaborates. “When we put together an estimate, we do it in 3-D modeling. We are not doing something based solely on previous jobs or experiences, although experience is important, the reality is that it’s not always accurate. In the materials or equipment buying process, maybe a certain piece is seen as the best, but we take a financial approach to that and calculate the true cost of ownership versus what a dealer or supplier says and make our own determination.”
A Diverse Portfolio
With a team that averages 60 employees year-round, BCI has been involved in a range of projects small and large. The crew is able to perform much of the work in-house, though Randy says he does use specialty subcontractors for many projects. “We sub out shoring design,” he says. “We also sub out trucking and we use a testing lab, landscapers and miscellaneous service contractors when we need them. That’s about the extent of it.”
The operation has come together nicely on a number of recent, unique projects. “We have been involved in several solar projects,” Randy notes. “Some of them have won awards. We have completed four utility scale solar projects for Arizona Public Services in recent years. These are solar projects on 150 or more acres and we have assisted the design team on most of them. All of these projects have had unique challenges that have given our team the opportunity to learn and grow.”
The team has also done work for the Flood Control District constructing a dam. “We have done a lot of work at Banner Medical’s Estrella Campus,” he continues. “We have done two shored excavations in the new medical tower and central power expansion and the staff parking garage excavation at that campus in the last 18 months. We have worked for Arizona State University [ASU] on the recreation center at the ASU East campus. We work with a number of major contractors and developers, including McCarthy, PCL, Ryan Companies, Whiting-Turner, Core, Adolfson and Peterson, Gilbane, Sundt, TaylorMorrison, Pulte and K. Hovanian.”
Managing a Market Share
BCI has been busy for the last few years, though Randy says the market is still in rough shape as the economy recovers. “The market still does not support prices that most of us need to work at to maintain a sustainable business model,” he explains. “We had to look at how our company operated and put systems in place to allow us to barely seek out margins over last couple of years. We think it will be a blessing when the market returns, because the systems that are in place have made us stronger and will allow us to have greater margins as the economy continues to rebound. I have had the same challenges as others, we’ve tried to take them head on and use them to our advantage.”
Over the next few years, the team will continue on a lean but effective system to build up margins and expand the business. “We know that it will be important to keep diversifying revenue,” Randy notes. “We have a pretty good foothold in negotiated work, specifically higher education, health care, multifamily, commercial and industrial work. We have also become more involved with residential land development and will continue looking into different segments, such as mining and different industrial segments.”
Additionally, the company has been exploring the options to expand services into other markets across the southwest to better take care of clients’ needs. “I think that as an organization we will remain disciplined and continue on our march to steady growth,” Randy continues. “As we do this we will continue to see our revenue grow and fulfill our goals.”
As the business continues into its second decade of operation, Randy and Trudy continue to guide BCI in a solid and steady growth pattern. Standing by Jerry’s founding vision and values, the business is able to proudly serve itself, its employees, its customers and its community. Blount Contracting Inc. is a growing force in horizontal construction, serving the needs of clients and communities within the southwest. •
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