Collins Construction Services Inc.
Collins Construction Services Inc. (CCS) is a second-generation family-owned general contracting business based in Savannah, Ga. The company has been in business since 1992, and Dawn Morgan, president of CCS, has been on the team full time since 2006.
“Before I was working in Atlanta as a business analyst,” Morgan explains. “This was my father’s company. He was a great general contractor, who taught me all aspects of construction from the ground up and wanted to use my corporate business experience to strengthen controls within the company. I purchased CCS in 2009.”
CCS is a strong, full-service general contractor. “We do vertical construction, commercial, residential and industrial work,” she elaborates. “I came to the company as a project manager and then purchased it three years later, making it a 100-percent woman-owned business. Being a female in construction is a rarity. I’m very good at communication. I’m responsive, I don’t disappear, and I am very hands-on with operations.”
With Morgan’s leadership, the company’s team of 20 continues to utilize diversity as its platform for sustained success. “Diversity has been our key to success,” she continues. “When we start doing something, we do a lot of it. We were doing medical work, churches, as well as schools and then doing custom homes.”
A Diverse Portfolio
The CCS team has completed a number of complex projects in recent years for clients of varying backgrounds. “Right now we are doing a large project for Georgia Power,” Morgan explains. “It involves a new administration building and guard house from the ground-up and civil/site work to make a new plant entrance.”
It is evident that Morgan is proud of what CCS has accomplished. “Personally, I am the queen of renovations,” she laughs. “For institutional projects, we’ve worked at Armstrong Atlantic University and Savannah State University. At Savannah State, we are putting in an elevator, as well as shower and locker rooms. In the city of Savannah they also have the oldest police precinct in the country. We just renovated it the summer before last.”
Morgan goes on to note that the CCS team tackles some interesting projects, and with confidence. “Last summer we worked on the Roundhouse Museum,” Morgan elaborates. “It’s an old railroad museum that we renovated to make it a children’s museum. The structure is from the 1800s, so it is very old. We are digging down 30 feet to build a tunnel. This project was scheduled to take six months and they successfully finished early and within budget.”
The team has some experience with intricate projects. “Several years ago, we had an $11 million project in South Carolina at the Island Packet Facility,” she continues. “It was about 20 feet beneath the water table so we had to build a slab 8 feet thick.”
Like many contractors, Morgan and the team faced serious challenges during the recession. “There was nothing happening in the private sector,” she explains. “Interestingly enough, we had done 75 percent of our volume in South Carolina prior to the crash.” CCS diverse capabilities kept the business afloat through the rougher parts of the downturn and, now, the company is making a comeback.
“We are growing,” Morgan notes. “My goal is to get us back to where we were before the recession hit. We are maintaining a focus on the most important piece of our business, which is the customer base. We have a lot of repeat clients. When people call us to have us do more work for them it shows us that we are doing something right.”
Morgan goes on to note that her team is also an asset. “We also have great employees, who ensure that we perform well,” she says proudly. “We have one superintendent who has been here for 17 years. We are in the process of building our staff back up now.”
The backbone of CCS can be summed up in one simple concept: relationships. Morgan places high value on positive interactions with every party involved on a project, including the CCS staff, subcontractors, vendors and clients. By creating and maintaining strong ties, the business perpetuates a reputation for quality performance and open communication, which keep clients coming back.
Project owners can rely on the team for creative solutions to unique problems. Whether large or small, CCS devotes the same level of commitment and attention to detail to each project. The result is a happy customer and a happy crew.
“This can be a very rewarding business,” Morgan explains. “When I come to work every morning, I know that I am improving my community. We get to be part of new and exciting things, as well as restoring pieces of history.” After more than 21 years in business, Collins Construction Services Inc. continues to grow, offering dedicated service to clients across the southeast.
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