Established in 1972, CME Corporation (CME) is a design-build general contractor based in Fort Wayne, Ind. For more than 40 years, the company has grown, providing ground-up and renovation construction services for the commercial, industrial and institutional sectors. Mark Hellinger is the current president of the company and has been working with the business since he took it over in 1982. “I grew up in this industry,” he explains. “My dad was a carpenter and small projects contractor. I used to work alongside him in the field growing up.
“We are a design-builder and general contractor working in the commercial, industrial, retail, medical and institutional markets,” he continues. “We have a staff of 40 working out of a single location in Fort Wayne, Ind. Over the years, we have been able to set ourselves apart because we listen to our clients, deliver on our word, and take promises very seriously.” The team has built up an outstanding reputation for quality over the years. CME generates new business primarily through positive word-of-mouth.
Throughout the Midwest, CME has established a niche in the industrial food processing market, although the company’s capabilities expand to manufacturing, higher education, health care and retail among other markets. Working for end users and developers, the team has worked in Indiana as well as Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Michigan and beyond. Recognizable clients include Edy’s Grand Ice Cream, Wells Fargo and Indiana Institute of Technology.
One of the company’s most recent projects has been a 560,000-square-foot distribution facility in Missouri for the Do It Best Corporation. “This project was our most state-of-the-art facility yet,” Hellinger explains. “The coordination between the interior racking and conveyor systems was a real challenge.” With well-planned logistics and a dedicated team, CME pulled it off and completed the project in early 2014.
Another unique design-build project for the company has been work on the Case equipment showroom for MacDonald Machinery in Indianapolis. MacDonald Machinery reached out to CME to bring together a space to showcase the Case brand’s latest high-tech equipment. Working with the existing facility’s design and brand integration, CME created a showroom worthy of becoming one of Case’s prototype standards.
The team’s relationship with Edy’s Grand Ice Cream is a good example of CME’s ability to work within the demanding guidelines for food production projects. The company’s partnership with Edy’s has spanned more than a decade. In 2008, the crew completed the most recent project for the ice cream company. CME constructed a new plant in Fort Wayne, Ind., dealing with subzero temperatures and highly-regulated sanitary environments to pull off a high quality project.
One of the most memorable projects for Hellinger has been a rebuilding project for Cooper Farms. “This was a design-build project and we did the master planning,” he recounts. “After a tornado destroyed Cooper Farms’ existing facility, we rebuilt the food plant’s existing 50,000 square feet and add another 25,000 square feet within the span of six months.
With the company’s revenue coming in entirely through private work, the recent recession put a lot of pressure on CME. “To stay ahead, we kept our noses to the grind stone,” Hellinger notes. “We prioritized management of the financial end of our business, keeping our books balanced. Our reputation and relationships helped us get through everything else. We always follow through and address our problems head-on. The partnerships we have with our strategic partners are very important to us as well.”
Hellinger say he has not seen any significant growth in the economy, although he sees opportunities in his market. Over the next few years, he hopes to triple the volume of the business. The crew will also be looking to open additional regional locations throughout the Midwest. CME has several projects lined up for the year that will draw revenue and help build up the company’s portfolio.
Growth is not the only indicator of success to Hellinger, though. Relationships comprise the backbone of the operation, whether that is with clients, strategic partners or employees. “What gives me the greatest sense of pride is being able to pay my employees their salaries,” he explains. “Our goal is and always will be to make sure our customers are happy and that there are no safety issues on-site. We want everyone to get home at night with no injuries.”
Between various market sectors, CME has built up a strong backlog of work for the coming months. Whether working on a project for the ice cream facility or contributing improved learning space for local schools, the team applies the same strong values to each project. With honesty, integrity, safety and value, CME Corporation continues to grow throughout the Midwest.
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