Case Studies

Byrom-Davey Inc.

Building a reputation through the new word of mouth

Half of Byrom-Davey Inc.’s potential client leads are word of mouth, but in 2016 word of mouth looks a little different than when the company started in 2001.

Eric Jennings Sr., Byrom-Davey’s vice president, was at a project site when his son showed him how to use Snapchat, a photo and video-sharing app. Jennings took a 25-second video of a sports field being installed and broadcast it out to his network. A college administrator saw the video and showed it to his school’s athletic director.

Covina Perspective Shot of Stadium - NEW

Covina Perspective Shot of Stadium

To Byrom-Davey’s surprise, the athletic director reached out about having the firm submit a proposal for a stadium project at the college.

“It’s totally, totally changed,” Jennings says. “I date back to the rotary phone, so I’ve seen a lot since social media.”

Byrom-Davey first carved a niche for itself as a full-service general contractor for sports stadiums, fields and related facilities. As a result, the San Diego, California-based company has worked with a lot of school districts and universities.

Now, Jennings says, “public school administrators, from superintendents to decision makers, are on their smart-phones, Tweeting, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook or using other social media, and they’ll catch a glimpse of your project information or a video and they’ll say, ‘I want to talk to you about a project.’”

Those same school administrators have drawn Byrom-Davey into a new arena. The company is no longer just doing stadiums and sports fields but is also doing building construction projects, often but not always related to its athletic complex construction jobs.

Word of mouth leads to NFL Rams

When the NFL’s St. Louis Rams announced their plans to move to Inglewood, California, they had a short window to find a practice stadium that would serve them for a few years before their permanent stadium was built. The team decided to install two practice fields, a parking lot and temporary modular buildings at California Lutheran University with the plan to hand the facilities over to the university when the team had a permanent home.

Byrom-Davey had worked for Cal Lutheran before on its football field, and the university recommended the company for the Rams’ project.

Because the Rams needed quick turnaround, Byrom-Davey and team completed what would have normally taken two years into six months. In total, the company, with partners Mod-Space, Brightview, HMC Architects and Jensen Design, built a 53,000-square-foot building and an 185,000-square-foot natural turf field, along with 10-acres of site development.

“We were able to service both customers at once, because [Cal Lutheran] had a lot to say about what the facility would look like due to it being a temporary facility that the Rams will ultimately leave,” Jennings says.

Byrom-Davey has worked with other universities, including University of California Riverside, where it built a track and field stadium, and University of California Santa Barbara, where it built new soccer fields. At San Diego’s Canyon Crest Academy, Byrom-Davey completed a $25-million project that included two new baseball fields, two softball fields, a soccer field, bleachers, lighting and auxiliary buildings.

The Rams-Cal Lutheran project also wasn’t Byrom-Davey’s first project for a repeat client. The company has worked closely with the Covina-Valley Unified School District to build a stadium with a synthetic track and field, lighting, bleachers and site improvements; a 20,000-square-foot building with team offices, training rooms, lockers, concessions and rest rooms; and an aquatic center complete with a pool. In total, that work added up to about $26 million.

“These buildings become pretty significant in nature, and…they could stand alone as their own project,” Jennings says.

Byrom-Davey works well with others

While the company has made a name for itself building sports fields and stadiums and the related site work, it doesn’t want to limit itself to those projects. As a result of constructing the buildings often linked to sports complexes, Byrom-Davey has become a competent building general contractor.

“We want to enter into the world of new buildings of all types, particularly buildings for public and private schools,” Jennings says. “That would be classrooms, gymnasiums, recreation buildings and offices.”

One advantage Byrom-Davey has is that it self-performs about 60 percent of its field and stadium work. While it will sub-out some of the building trades, like electric and asphalt concrete paving work, it understands what it’s like to actually do the work, not just manage it.

“We’re able to really cherry pick the issues related to construction resolution,” Jennings says. “We’re able to close the scope gaps between each trade because we understand how things go together. We’re doers. We’re builders.”

By tackling building construction projects in 2016 and 2017, Jennings expects Byrom-Davey to grow the business by 25 percent. In the next few years, Jennings hopes Byrom-Davey’s work will be about 60 percent sports facilities and related work and 30 percent building projects. The company will experiment with the remaining 10 percent and will try new avenues like construction management.

“Our company plan is a live document,” Jennings says. “What I mean by this is, we have to morph and continue to innovate because it may change depending on our success or failures in the industry, what we can bear. It’s our goal, and we’ll keep looking at that goal quarter to quarter, year to year, and testing it.”

Published on: February 27, 2017

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