Case Studies

Commodore Builders

Well-connected with a strong sense of company culture

Joe Albanese, president and CEO of Commodore Builders (Commodore), says the firm’s six qualities of excellence truly define the Boston-based construction management firm. According to Joe, Commodore’s six qualities are: the confidence to take charge, the capacity to anticipate, the ability to focus on the details, the spirit to collaborate, the creativity to innovate and the knowledge to problem solve.

“The qualities are at the heart of our success,” Joe explains. “They define who we are. They guide us in developing our internal leaders and they help us deliver on our mission to make the construction process easy for our clients.”

A culture of client-oriented service

Such well-defined core competencies are usually a characteristic of mature firms; however, CommodoreCommodore Builders is just over a decade old. “The skills of our leadership team and our focus on client service and business planning have allowed Commodore to grow quickly,” Joe elaborates. “But as we’ve grown, we’ve preserved the attitude and agility of a youthful firm. Our executive team maintains a hands-on roll in the execution of projects, because that’s the foundation of our success. That’s our trademark. We’re nimble and attentive and that has enabled us to make quick adjustments to the economy and to the needs of our clients.”

Since founding Commodore in July 2002, Joe and his team have infused the organization with a sense of urgency and accountability, as well as an absolute belief that what is best for Commodore’s clients is best for Commodore. “We focus on the construction process and making it as easy as possible for our clients,” remarks Joe. The firm adopted the Net Promoter Score methodology in 2013 to consistently measure the level of client service being provided by Commodore’s project teams.

Commercial, institutional, life sciences and health care comprise

Commodore’s four main market sectors. “Approximately 60 percent of our work is executed in the commercial and institutional sectors, but our footprint in the life sciences and health care markets is growing rapidly,” Joe elaborates. The firm has been systematically investing in a deeper bench of experienced talent, capable of executing the larger, more complex projects in these sectors.

In 2012 Commodore acquired A.J. Martini, a 60-year-old family-run construction management firm with a large portfolio of commercial office buildings and major institutional projects. “A.J. Martini has a history of managing the construction of suburban and downtown work, including large office parks, restorations and commercial jobs,” Joe explains. “The integration with Commodore has gone very well and the market has responded positively to our combined strength.”

Commodore now serves Boston and the area’s suburbs, but is selectively extending its geographical reach beyond the limits of New England. “We have projects located throughout New England, and we travel with our clients to places like Delaware and Cincinnati,” he continues. “We’re also considering opportunities in the southern and western regions of the U.S.”

Deep roots and strong ties

Commodore offers a wide range of construction services, including project conception preconstruction, execution, as well as close-out and warranty service. However, what also enhances the company’s success is the team’s drive and commitment. The firm’s senior management team has deep roots in the Boston market and strong ties to the local community.

“We have a solid executive team and project managers with years of industry experience,” shares Joe. “They’ve brought many meaningful relationships and the industry’s best practices to Commodore. We’ve built upon those relationships and transformed their experience into a delivery system that is unique to Commodore.”

The company’s strong relationships extend to the subcontractor community, as well. “Commodore performs some demolition, drywall, carpentry and concrete work in-house, but 80 percent of our work is completed by trusted subcontractors and suppliers,” Joe says.

The company recently finished the Rose Kennedy Greenway Carousel, a new icon on the Boston landscape. “We’re working with a well-known Boston developer on the $13 million renovation and addition to a 100-year-old, four-story furniture store on Newbury Street,” details Joe. “This past summer we completed a $6 million dormitory renovation at Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass., and a $3 million façade restoration at Harvard Business School. We have anywhere between 35 to 40 active projects in the works at any given time. We’re currently engaged in the first phase of 1265 Main in Waltham, Mass., a 128,000-square-foot retail development, including a Market Basket, a Marshalls and two additional retail spaces.”

Joe goes on to detail that the company is engaged in preconstruction services for the Distillery project, involving the construction of 30 apartments in south Boston. “And we’re working with Hobbs Brook Management on a $90 million project, providing them with preconstruction services for the 275 Wyman Street building site in Waltham, Mass.,” he notes. “We’re currently engaged with them on abatement, demolition and utility relocation work, as well as providing cost estimating services for future options.”

Young and wise

For a company that was established only a decade ago, Commodore is executing an extensive amount of work and has no plans of slowing down. “We’re still young, nimble and aggressive,” says Joe. “No matter what, we keep our promises. We care more. We work harder. And we love what we do. That’s what differentiates us from our competition.”

According to Joe, Commodore’s dedication to client service has yielded repeat business and enabled the company to grow, despite the recession. “We’ve always focused on client service and repeat business,” he says. “That’s what fueled our growth during the recession. We made adjustments during the economic downturn, just like any other company, but it was our long view and our repeat clients that kept us growing.”

Joe, who has worked in the construction business for 33 years, believes it’s essential to stay in touch and connected with industry leaders and trends, which is one reason why Commodore is a Gavel member of The Commercial Real Estate Development Association of Massachusetts (NAIOP). “It’s critically important to be in touch with developers and owners and other industry leaders,” he explains. “We’re collaborating with the people who are shaping the future of the construction industry.”

At the end of the day, Joe says he measures Commodore’s success by the firm’s ability to retain the industry’s top talent and to increase its number of loyal repeat clients. With an enthusiastic and growing team of construction professionals, Commodore Builders is on the rise, poised for a second decade of growth and prosperity.

Published on: March 12, 2014

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