Buck Construction LLC
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Chuck McKenna
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Michael Cornwell established Buck Construction LLC (Buck) in 1999 as a union carpentry contractor serving southern New Jersey. Michael has previous ownership experience, having partnered with his brother on another construction venture. When he moved on, many of the core personnel followed suit. Some of his employees have been with the business since the very beginning.
“We have been in business for nearly 16 years,” Michael explains. “We have some of the best personnel in the business. Through the union, we have been able to work with a team of capable and professional people.”
Buck operates as a sole proprietorship, with Michael taking on the title of owner and manager. He works with five colleagues in the office and his field team ranges from 30 to 50 people, depending on season and workload. The crew specializes in carpentry and GWB systems, capabilities include both metal and wood framing, sheathing, drywall, insulation, acoustical ceilings, millwork, doors and hardware and specialty installation items. The business serves a range of commercial end users, often through a network of larger contractors that select Buck on a repeat basis for challenging projects.
Safe, efficient performance
Michael and his crew have been involved in hundreds of projects over the years. The team’s growing commercial portfolio includes offices, restaurants, schools, retail spaces and more. “For me, an interesting project involves more design elements,” Michael notes. “The creative process is like building with Legos, taking a concept from paper and constructing it into reality. We really enjoy articulation with interiors and exteriors that allow us to get more creative with our work.”
One project that stands out in recent memory for Michael and his team is the Express Scripts headquarters in Florence Township. “We did a huge warehouse there with a lot of intricate work. The structure itself is 40 feet tall, which presented a challenge. We had full height demising walls that separate the warehouse from pharmacy and office areas. This project was not typical as far as size, the extent of large walls, details with articulation, depth and character. That was a really nice design and we performed a large amount of work in a short period of time so everyone was happy. We are now in the process of completing the office area there.”
The crew is also involved with a project at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). The three-year, multiphase project involves the complete renovation of student housing buildings. “These are older structures in need of a lot of repair both structural and cosmetic,” Michael says. “We are wrapping up the final phase in early spring 2015. This is a unique project for us because it reaches into residential work. As such, we have met new challenges, such as sound control restriction. The original structure had problems with sound transfer, so we had to meet specific criteria for sound deadening between floors and walls.”
In late 2014, the crew wrapped up the most recent of many Buffalo Wild Wings projects. This location, in Moorestown, was an accelerated project. The layout serves as the brand’s new prototype. Michael and his team perform a lot of repeat work. While most of these contracts are open to bid, clients know that with a return contractor, efficiency is at a premium. The Buck team has the experience and ingenuity to perform multiple projects for companies, focused on maintaining brand identity through spaces and maintaining consistency between locations. Other repeat customers include banks, drug stores and food markets.
The Buck crew has been busy throughout the years following the recession. While Michael says he felt the effects of the downturn, the business was not forced to make any major structural changes in order to stay afloat. The business owner says much of the stability can be attributed to union affiliation. Working with union workforce, the company has more flexibility when it comes to staff size. “We were able to keep our core group busy as well as a number of additional staff members,” he explains. We have a strong niche and our manpower is skilled and productive, which helped us keep work coming in.”
Michael counts his team’s professionalism as one of the company’s greatest assets. “Our employees are safe, organized and dedicated to quality,” he says. “We all work as part of a team. While all of our field employees are union workers, they associate themselves with our company and we are proud of that.”
Overall, he is happy with the company’s success. The business has a strong market share, repeat customers and an experienced and knowledgeable staff. Looking ahead, Michael sees growing opportunity in southern New Jersey. As the market picks up, the business has a growing backlog of projects coming up in 2015. Buck Construction LLC will continue to grow in the coming years, leveraging relationships, stability and consistent quality to deliver high quality carpentry work throughout the region.
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