D&D Construction Services of Orlando Inc.
While most 67-year-olds are well into enjoying retirement, Daryl Williams, founder and president of D&D Construction Services of Orlando Inc. (DDCS), is still hard at work. “My father works every day,” shares Darand Williams, vice president of DDCS. “My mother, Joanna Williams, is our secretary and treasurer and she still works every day too.”
Apparently, this kind of work ethic is just something that runs in the Williams family. “I’ve been active in our company since the day it started,” adds Darand. “It’s been my one-and-only job -I’ve never worked anywhere else.”
It’s no surprise, the Williams’ family roots run deep in construction. Even before DDCS’ founding, Darand’s grandfather worked in construction during World War II, building some of the first Cloverleaf freeways in Los Angeles and supervising the original Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Finding a Niche
“After many years of traveling to-and-from large construction projects, our family settled into real estate development, ultimately founding DDCS in 1985,” notes Darand. “At DDCS we provide a range of services with expertise in hospitality and resort knowledge, from project costs and planning, design-build service, construction management, general contracting and property development. We continue to build relationships, project-by-project.”
But don’t let the name fool you, DDCS goes far beyond Orlando. In fact, the company is currently working on over 800 hotel rooms in seven different states.
“We’ve worked in hospitality and entertainment since DDCS’ inception, but in 2005, we started to focus on select service hotels,” details Darand. “We service brands such as, Marriott, Hilton, Courtyard, Sheraton and Residence Inns -working for the franchisee that owns the hotels, not the large corporation.”
DDCS now does about 70 percent new hotel-chain builds and 30 percent renovations and conversions from one brand to another. “We’ll go nationwide, depending on the job,” shares Darand. “We travel as far as Arizona, down to the Florida Keys and up to New Jersey and every state in between.”
Despite DDCS’ extensive geographical footprint, the company maintains only about 40 full-time employees. “We’ve remained fairly small because it’s easier to utilize subcontractors when traveling around the country,” explains Darand.
Out of the company’s 40 employees are third and fourth generations of the Williams family and Darand’s two right-hand men, Frank “Val” Hanson and Brent Snyder. “Val and Brent help oversee our operations as vice presidents; we make a great team,” shares Darand.
Pack Up and Go
Darand says DDCS logs lots of miles every year, traveling from state-to-state for a variety of ground-up and renovation work. “Our business plan is to subcontract trades as the construction manager,” explains Darand. “We use 50 to 60 percent local subcontractors and the rest tend to follow us from job-to-job. We’ll have a window company out of Virginia that will follow us to New Orleans. There’s a lot of loyalty.”
The company works with hospitality clients with large accounts. “Most of our clients own anywhere from 20 to 100 hotels,” reveals Darand. “They’re in the business to do nothing but hotels and they do it really well.”
In Knoxville, Tenn., DDCS is in the works of a six-story Marriott Courtyard with 124 rooms and over 80,000 square feet of space, including an indoor pool. “We had no choice but to build on bad soil so we had to drill 60 feet down to get to rock for the foundation,” describes Darand. “After four months of deep foundation work we were finally able to build. The hotel is scheduled to open this November.”
Down in Clearwater, Fla., DDCS completed another Marriott Courtyard with a unique first level parking garage and second story guest arrival area with a restaurant. “This five-story, 96-room hotel is right on the beautiful Intercoastal Waterway with a full marina -it’s an extraordinary property,” details Darand.
With hundreds of successful new and renovated hotels under its belt, Darand says DDCS is in a consistent period of growth. “The uptick in the market after the recession wasn’t slow,” he reveals. “Things almost went from a crawl to a sprint, and at first, it was a challenge to keep up with it. We don’t want to complain but when it started the flood gates really opened.”
Now that the economy is in recovery mode, Darand says DDCS has stabilized and is ready and willing to take on more. “We have the staff and business plan in place to allow for exciting growth and we’re looking forward to our 30 year anniversary in 2015,” he adds.
Since its founding, D&D Construction Services of Orlando Inc. has turned over hundreds of successful hospitality projects, grounded in family ownership and expert management.
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