Case Studies

Darr Construction Inc.

Offering Pennsylvania a Range of Quality Construction Services

Wayne Darr founded a small electrical business geared toward Pennsylvania’s residential market in 1968. Incidentally, Darr Construction Inc. (DCI) has since grown to a mid-sized company offering multidisciplinary services in the construction industry, including plumbing, HVAC and general contractor services on top of the initial electrical work. Wayne continues to hold the title of president, though he is now playing a less active role within the company. However, Wayne’s sons, Jim, vice president of DCI, Jerry and David, have stepped up to run operations and assist in continuing their father’s legacy.

Growing up in the industry has formed Jim’s leadership role through firsthand experience. He is now ready and able to successfully steer the company, satisfying southwestern Pennsylvania’s construction needs.

“There were a lot of busy summers through high school,” Jim says. “I went from the field into the office; I’ve been here since 1975. My brothers are also part owners and my sister, Kathy Glessner, is our office manager; it’s a family business. Many of our employees have been here about as long as I have. We have several employees who have worked with us for over 30 years. We have a skilled team on both ends of the operation, out in the field and here in the office.” The staff averages around 30, but Jim notes that employment fluctuates when DCI gets busy.

Projects and Services

Complementing general contracting, HVAC, electrical and plumbing work, DCI provides crane service and owns a full fleet of excavation equipment. “We offer the Butler Metal Building line,” says Jim. “We perform complete projects from start to finish with a limited amount of subcontractors. There are projects where we can do the complete project on a design-build basis. The diversity of offering all the construction trades is a definite advantage; we can control everything out of one office.”

The team has completed several major projects over the years for commercial and institutional clients. “Five years ago we completed a major renovation project for the Somerset Area School District where we were the general contractor,” says Jim. “It was about a $12 million project and took about a year-and-a-half. About two years ago, we completed work at St. Paul Presbyterian Church in Somerset; that project took us about a year.”

Well-managed Operations

Jim and his team wear many hats at varying jobsites. “Sometimes we are a standalone prime, maybe as the plumbing or HVAC contractor,” Jim explains. “We have worked at a large number of school projects utilizing all four trades; sometimes, though, we may end up only performing one or a combination of trades. When we need them, we use select number subcontractors. Often we are working with the same people who continually measure up to our standards and can be there when we need them.”

The company’s longstanding relationships have offered stability, even in times of duress. “As many other contractors did, we had to tighten our belt during the recession and watch our expenditures,” Jim notes. “We kept the regular guys employed. We were able to do that with the support of our repeat customers, they were able to help us through this rough time.”

Additionally, Jim and his team participate in membership with local trade organization Keystone Contractors Association. “We’ve been with them for a long time, and I am currently serving as president of the organization,” Jim elaborates. “It’s really beneficial to have the association for many reasons especially safety issues. If we have any questions, we can contact them, and they have people that will come out and help us with any concerns that we have on job sites. They offer contract negotiations with various labor unions. They also represent us as trustees on pension boards. Having that representation is a major concern to make sure our voice is heard in how to keep these pensions properly funded and out of trouble.”

With a host of positive connections within the industry – both through the association and relationships with clients and subcontractors – DCI is in a position to see growth throughout the recovery. The company is celebrating 45 years in business in 2013 with continued commitment to quality and safety. As for the future, Jim says, “We’ll maintain the same direction and continue to be the contractor that can perform all the construction trades for our customers. We have some younger people coming in and we are training and grooming them for the next generation.” The Darr family’s leadership and genuine passion for their work guarantees that Darr Construction Inc. has years of success waiting ahead.

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Spring 2018



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