D.C. Vient Inc.
D.C. Vient Inc. (DCV) began in 1954 as a painting and finishing contractor founded by Douglas C. Vient. Now a multimillion dollar contractor operating from its corporate headquarters in Modesto, Calif., with a regional branch in Las Vegas, Nev., DCV handles large-scale interior and exterior finishing projects – anything from finishing multi-billion dollar hotel casino resorts to applying a variety of finishes at medical facilities to finishes at academic institutions. Though the company now primarily focuses on its operations in Northern California and Las Vegas, it has worked throughout the U.S., including projects in Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia and Hawaii.
The firm regularly handles projects involving painting, faux finishes, wall coverings, high-performance coatings, waterproofing, fire proofing and upholstered wall panels, among other specialty and trademarked faux finish applications. DCV’s wide-ranging services and experience have made it a key contractor for both public and private sector projects, including commercial, retail, industrial and governmental complexes. Over the years, the company has worked on several high-end hotel casinos, hospitals, department stores, shopping malls and office buildings, with notable work for clients such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, MGM, Venetian, Caesars Palace and Wynn properties.
According to Douglas J. Vient, son of DCV’s founder and current company owner, the firm acquired a particularly competitive edge in recent years by developing its presence in the hospitality industry in Las Vegas, building upon its strengths and strategic partnerships. “We have good financial backing and we’re able to bond any project that’s being built, which definitely sets us apart from the smaller contractors,” says Vient. “The most important lesson I learned in business was not to over-leverage yourself. By retaining earnings and increasing our firm’s equity over the course of several years ensured our firm’s existence during economic downturns as well as enabled us to bid large scale projects that very few of our competitors have the financial ability to perform.”
Going All In
Over the years, the company has played a notable role in the construction and remodeling industry in Las Vegas. For example, the company’s first mega-project there included finishes at the 5,000-room MGM resort. Soon after that were several similar projects, including the Paris Hotel, Palazzo Hotel, and completed painting, faux finishing, wall covering and upholstered wall panels at a number of Caesars Palace tower expansions and renovations. More recently DCV completed the finishes at the 4,000-room Aria Hotel, a resort and casino that is the centerpiece of CityCenter Las Vegas. As Vient explains, “We had crews working around the clock, seven days a week, completing about 300 rooms in a week at three different properties.” The crew brandished all its considerable capabilities and finished on time and within budget, which is a reputation the company treasures and works continually to maintain.
According to Vient, the Aria Hotel Casino is part of a $9.2 billion MGM Resorts International development. “It’s the largest privately constructed project ever built in the country,” he says. What makes DCV’s ability to manage such an involving project even more impressive is that the firm was also handling the interior finishes on two other hotel casinos in Las Vegas – the Venetian and the Palazzo – totaling around 10,000 rooms that the firm had under contract at one time.
Despite its proven success at high-volume turnover, DCV felt the slowdown of the Las Vegas market in light of the recent recession. Vient states, “The construction market in Vegas was impacted to a much larger degree than our other markets. Because of the intensely competitive nature of that bid market over the past couple of years, we found the bids to be coming in right around cost with little or no profit margin. This required our entire organization to rethink on how to run a leaner and more efficient operation to gain a competitive edge.”
Though the market has changed drastically since the firm opened an office in Las Vegas, Vient remains optimistic, if cautiously so, about the future. The firm is now receiving a number of invitations to bid projects put on hold during the recession, including a renovation project at the MGM Grand Hotel and the interior completion of a partially finished Caesars Tower that they were in the middle of completing. With the recent increase in construction contracts, Vient is again looking at sustained growth in the Vegas market.
Growing from Experience
One contributing factor to Vient’s confidence in the resilience of DCV’s market share is simply that he has been through several up and down economies before. After completing a degree in Aeronautics at San Jose State University’s Engineering Department, Vient joined the family company in 1979, and, he explains, it was “[…] in the same kind of downturn that we just went through. We held strong, since we have been through that type of downturn before, just not for quite as long. Things are looking up; we are seeing profit margins increase and we are growing again.”
Just because there has been an economic slowdown doesn’t mean DCV has stood still, however. For example, Vient has used the time to strengthen the company’s safety training program, as he recognizes the importance of lessening the potential risks to employees from the hazardous chemicals that are built into the nature of DCV’s work.
Eyeing the next several years, Vient understands that it will be a slower growth pattern for the construction industry in general than what DCV has experienced in the last economic boom. He maintains plans, however, to grow the company to its full potential in order to benefit both the clients and employees. As the market gains momentum, D.C. Vient Inc.’s impressive client list and experience in both high-end private and comprehensive public sector work should propel the firm further into the uppermost tier of the construction industry.
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