Caguas Mechanical Contractor Inc.
The small island nation of Puerto Rico is home to big industry, including a wealth of pharmaceutical giants. Caguas Mechanical Contractor Inc. (CMC) has been supporting the development of pharmaceutical clients for nearly four decades. “We have been in Puerto Rico for 38 years,” shares Alex Nieves, vice president of CMC. “We are general contractors and we do mechanical, civil and electrical jobs, but 90 percent of our clients are pharmaceutical.”
The company has been making a name for itself in big industry since Nieves’ father, Carmelo Nieves, founded CMC in December 1976 after working for recognized corporations such as Amarco Construction and Fishback and Moore of Puerto Rico. “We started with very few employees and over the years, we’ve continued to grow,” shares Nieves, who’s now been with CMC for 15 years. “In 1990, we hit 450 employees. In light of the recession, we’ve scaled back and now we’re at about 75 employees.”
Cultivating a loyal following
Nieves admits the recession has put a strain on CMC’s operations as the construction and development sector in Puerto Rico has scaled back by almost 50 percent. “The island construction sector is having a difficult time and honestly, it’s been a hard job to survive,” he reveals. “We never did a lot of marketing before, but two years ago we started doing more to promote CMC. You have to reach out to new clients and in general, just be more active in the business.”
Taking a proactive approach and relying on repeat relationships, CMC has made it through some of the most challenging years in the company’s history. “Our relationships with our clients are our most important tool to stay stable,” adds Nieves. “The quality of our work speaks for itself and that’s a very important point to be active in this market.”
Nieves says CMC’s high quality standards and personalized service have made the general contractor competitive in a rocky economy. “Our personalized services make us competitive,” he explains. “We visit the projects and give our customers good suggestions about their projects. We don’t think only in the terms of revenues that certain project is going to give us, we think first in our client’s welfare.”
Looking out for the clients’ best interest is more than a practice for CMC; it’s deeply embedded in the company’s culture. “We like giving them more options on the investment they are making,” says Nieves. “We like to give them savings solutions because this has been our culture for 38 years.
When big-name clients come to CMC, they can expect an extensive array of in-house service backed by the company’s civil, mechanical and electrical divisions. “We do a lot of jobs for the pharmaceutical world: expansions and new buildings, clean rooms, manufacturing areas, production areas, offices and utilities; everything you need for a pharmaceutical to operate,” notes Nieves. “That includes civil, mechanical and electrical. For example, when we start a project we remove the floor, set the walls, roof, air conditioning, plumbing, the electrical part, panels, the substation; everything. We also do hospitals, and commercial areas.”
CMC is currently expanding a building for Paul Manufacturing in Fajardo City. “This is a large $7.2 million project,” says Nieves. “We are also working on different hotel projects in the Isla Verde area. They’re not as large as the Fajardo job, but very important for us. We’re also working at the Menonita Hospitals in Caguas.”
While CMC has managed to stay busy, Nieves says there is a considerable lack of work in Puerto Rico. “The economy here is still having a hard time and there are not enough projects to work on,” he admits. In an effort to remain competitive, CMC has plans to develop a maintenance department, serving clients with an enhanced, all inclusive set of services.
Committed to Puerto Rico
As a leader in the construction industry, CMC is very conscious of staying community oriented and is committed to playing a positive social role. “Overall, we are very proud to provide the means of living for more than 100 families, as well as our contribution to the well-being of all the people who directly or indirectly are part of the companies we serve,” shares Nieves. “Also, we are satisfied of our role in Puerto Rico’s economic welfare and the positive impact our operations have in the creation of a significant amount of direct and indirect jobs in other businesses related to the construction industry.”
As part of an ongoing commitment to the community, CMC has encouraged and supported an Occupational Practice Center for local high school students. The center assists young people in developing the skills needed to find a job on the island.
Community action and the highest level of customer commitment continue to be cornerstones for CMC, even has Nieves and the next generation of the family step into the spotlight. “I love my job because it’s a family business and because it’s very dynamic, there’s never a repetitive day.”
Leading the second-generation team, Nieves is building on his father’s legacy and Caguas Mechanical Contractor Inc. is still serving Puerto Rico as a trusted contractor of choice.
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