Cape Design Engineering Company
Kannan Rengaraian founded Cape Design Engineering Company (CDE) in 1997 with three partners, set on providing high-level engineering services to clients in the Southeast United States. Over the years, the company has grown exponentially, building a large, devoted customer base across Southern Florida and extending into the Caribbean. As of 2007, CDE has also diversified into construction services, acting as project management and general contractor on a number of complex construction projects in the area.
“We have been in business for 15 years,” says Rengaraian, CEO of CDE. “We perform many design-build projects, primarily in the public sector.” The team has done a lot of federal government work, and CDE has gained a reputation for value engineering. “We come up with innovative, cost-effective solutions,” he elaborates. “Clients don’t have to go to two different entities like they may have to with some of our competitors.”
CDE employs about 30 people. The staff is comprised of a number of talented engineers, architects and project managers. On the construction side of the business, the crew is able to step in throughout each stage of a project from pre-construction through commissioning. With decades of experience in the industry, CDE stands out from other contractors and engineering firms with a broad portfolio of complex projects where the team has applied high-quality and innovative solutions.
Design and Build Under One Roof
Rengaraian notes that his crew performs roughly 15 to 20 percent of each contract, fulfilling design, project management and other design-build roles. “Most of the work is subbed out to vendors and subcontractors,” he explains. “We have a set network of strategic partners we know we can rely on. We tend to select certain companies for unique projects and occasionally shop around to build new relationships. Managing these relationships is integral to our success as a construction manager on these projects.
“We do a lot of design-build work,” he continues. “The 8(a) market has been a growing customer base for us and a lot of our projects are for the federal government. We do a number of negotiated and competitive projects. We recently completed a project for a Navy air station in Florida. The complexity here was that we had to build everything underground including the transformers and pumps. There is a lot of water underground in the state, which presented some challenges.
“We also were recently involved with a design-build project for NASA,” he adds. “They were constructing an advanced facility housing a science lab, where they were raising and analyzing mice that 2would be sent to the International Space Station. That was a very challenging project in terms of funding and finding a location among other hurdles. The facility utilizes almost every advanced system you can think of.”
Regardless of the challenges involved with CDE’s unusual projects, the team focuses on internal management and delivery. “Our major focus is meeting deadlines and managing projects effectively,” Rengaraian explains. “Getting the best contacts and subs for each job keeps us on point. There are always technical challenges, but the experience and skill level of our engineers and architects makes that manageable.”
Throughout the process, the team tracks progress in a number of ways, keeping on schedule and on budget. “Our biggest performance indicator, however, is customer satisfaction,” Rengaraian states. “We want to build lasting relationships with repeat clients and we haven’t lost a return customer since our foundation. That’s what gives us the most pride about our work here. We are able to deliver successful projects through high quality engineering and construction. We also had a recent project that met LEED Platinum standards, and we feel good about our role in reduction environmental pollution.
Over the next few years, CDE is taking advantage of the economic turnaround. In both the public and private sector, Rengaraian has seen major improvements in the market. “It’s geeting much better,” he explains. “Compared to last year, there is significantly more progress in the construction industry, especially on the commercial side. We are getting offers from colleges and universities for projects. I’m not sure exactly sure where we are headed next, but we are certainly on the wave of progress. We still need innovation across the industry for a full recovery.
“I think we will continue to see sustainable growth,” he continues. “Our size gives us certain advantages and we want to stay around 30 to 35 employees. We are going after several new contracts in several sectors.” Rengaraian and his team continue to maintain an edge, building upon existing relationships and chasing down new opportunities. With longstanding connections and a reputation for quality in performance, Cape Design Engineering Company will continue on a steady growth path for the years to come.
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