D&C Contracting Inc.
“When I started the company in 1983 it was me, a Toyota pick-up truck and a paint brush,” recounts Dennis Cummins, president of Texas-based D&C Contracting Inc., when asked the origins of his company. Nearly 30 years later the company has grown to 57 employees, generating average annual sales of $12 million, operating out of a 10,000-square foot facility near Gessner and 290, and now holding far more than just a pick-up truck in its fleet of vehicles and equipment.
Nancy Artz, director of operations, was one of the first eight people to work for the company, and has seen it evolve over the years. “The thing I love the most about this company is that Dennis’ first client is still his biggest client, which is Weingarten Realty,” she explains. “He grew his new business, and while growing the business, he maintained his existing client base and grew his business by providing quality workmanship, quality products, a strict regard for safety, good insurance coverage, sound financials, and above all integrity.”
Placing Value in Relationships
Active throughout the Houston Metropolitan area, D&C Contracting’s success has been built upon solid relationships, both internally within the company’s staff and externally with its vendors and clients.
“There is a strong integrity factor here. We do what we say we’re going to do! The employees that first started at the company are, for the most part, the same employees working here today. Our employees have been with our company for an average of 15 to 20 years, so there’s not much turnaround,” Artz says. “It shows that good, honest relationships – combined with a good, sound foundation for operations, along with taking care and caution in all business decisions you make – means that you maintain both productive and happy employees and great relationships with your clients. In fact, much of our company’s growth comes from an employee leaving one of our clients and then going to work for another company, and they bring us along with them. The result is an instant new happy client.”
What is perhaps the most impressive thing about the company is its ability to maintain such a reputation for being thorough, reliable and responsibly priced all while performing such a diverse range of services. “We’re not just your typical general contractor (in that we hire mostly subs, pass on liabilities, and don’t pay them until we get paid). That’s not how we operate our business,” explains Cummins. “We’re more of a specialty service contractor, so we have a wide range of services offered to our clients including a commercial division, multi-family services division providing exterior renovations and concrete improvements, plus a service department that can handle work from a small service order to a large-scale ADA or Occupancy improvements commonly required when you’re updating older buildings to current building codes.”
In addition the firm does commercial lease space build-outs that include tenant improvements, move-outs, lease make-ready and new construction, as well as it assists clients with their design-build and ground-up construction projects, painting and restoration, interior and exterior wall systems, doors, windows, and interior and acoustical ceilings, flooring, concrete and specialty finishes. The typical services that our company subs out are licensed trades, such as mechanical, electrical and plumbing.
One of the company’s most important sectors has been its fire and flood restoration and emergency services division. “We focused all our efforts on emergency services for the effects of Hurricane Ike in September 2008,” recalls Artz. “We became emergency central here at D&C and we were dispatching employees the day after the storm to install generators and to assist our clients in getting their businesses and lives back up and running. Within a few months we were able to have all our clients’ and businesses back up and going again. We managed to do this while working here under generated power, as our facility was also without power for several weeks as well.
Thankfully there has not been an increasing amount of natural disasters to D&C Contracting’s area of activity. The company’s current business has always focused on service, which in this economy has been a blessing. “We’re not out there just selling new construction business, which is what’s failing in this economy. New construction has come to a screeching halt, but that was never the basis of our company. This business was founded on maintenance and repair,” reports Cummins.
Working with the Highest Standards
Even with the depressed economy, D&C Contracting’s highly skilled and professional staff – including its courteous project managers, supervisors, foremen and OSHA-certified tradesmen – has held a strong presence as the company’s well-established with a large number of high-profile nationwide businesses in and around Texas. These have included Weingarten Realty, First Industrial Realty, Firestone and Whole Foods just to name a few, as well as D&C favorite franchise ice-cream chain Cold Stone Creamery, which has used D&C Contracting for construction at multiple locations. “What’s great about working with franchises is that when you’ve done a good job for them, they want to use you for everything, and because they are happy with the relationship they refer our company to new franchise owners, and the list continues to grow from there,” Artz says.
The company may be most proud of its work building a Shell Facility in Port Arthur from the ground up. “We are very proud of that project because Shell has very high standards, especially for safety, and the fact that we met these standards and that they chose us to handle this project for them says a lot about our commitment to safety and our insurance,” Artz says. Right now D&C Contracting has in the pipeline some fire restoration projects, several shopping center renovation projects, as well as a lot of service projects around their area.
Growth has been slow in the current economic climate, but D&C Contracting believes it’s on the right track. “And we believe that the market will get better, and being primarily in the sector of repair work is really helping our business to continue to profit and avoid layoffs,” says Artz. Both she and Cummins agree that slow, successful growth is achievable in the coming years by simply maintaining the company’s integrity and always focusing on customer satisfaction.
According to Artz, it’s because of Cummins’ selflessness that the company has gotten to the position it is in today. “When people are happy working for a company for many, many years than that says a lot about the business and about the people that run it,” she says. “What I admire most about Dennis’ business philosophy is that when there were available assets he could have just put in them in the bank, but instead, he chose to reinvest the profits back into the infrastructure here at D&C to help grow the company, which has placed us in a great position going forward.”
Operating on a philosophy that emphasizes professional craftsmanship and dependability, D&C Contracting Inc. will continue living up to the motto “Excellence in Service Since 1983.”
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