Development Solutions Inc.
In today’s challenging economy and declining construction market, Development Solutions, Inc. (DSI) has set itself apart from the competition by focusing on three guiding principles: approach every project from the client’s point of view, focus on the process as well as the product, and provide unmatched customer service. Daniel Mazeiro and Craig Manske founded DSI based on these objectives, and since its incorporation in 1992, the Chicago, Ill.-based company has achieved these goals repeatedly, delivering customer solutions with passion, knowledge and integrity. As a result of its service-minded foundation, the company has built continued trust and a reputation that has garnered repeat and referral clients representing over 80 percent of DSI’s business.
Neither Manske nor Mazeiro come from typical general contracting backgrounds, and their entrepreneurial drive and multi-disciplined project planning experience greatly influenced the formation of DSI, allowing the company to become established as a comprehensive, collaborative, conscientious services firm. Prior to DSI’s founding Manske acquired a decade of experience on major commercial real estate developments, while Mazeiro had been a practicing architect for seven years.
“We saw a major misalignment between the priorities of a general contractor and the client, and we realized that we could leverage our professional experience to bring something new to the process,” says Mazeiro, who remains a managing principal of DSI, overseeing project management and field operations. Manske, also a managing principal, helms DSI’s sales and marketing and administration management. The executive team is rounded out by fellow principals Ivan Kattan, Michael Nolan and Martin Moran, as well as Jacob Karamol, director of business development.
Today, DSI provides turnkey general contracting and design-build services for new construction, interior and shell-and-core renovations and building expansions to clients throughout the Midwest. The company is capable of providing document review, best value studies and alternatives, site evaluation, budgeting and scheduling, phase planning and logistics reviews, constructability and building systems reviews.
DSI’s employees are encouraged to be collaborative to develop solutions both in the field and in the office. As a result, the company has proven itself across the commercial, industrial, retail, financial, hospitality, education, residential and healthcare sectors, reinforcing a reputation for serving the best interests of projects.
Responsive, Responsible Communication Remains Fundamental
“I don’t believe that DSI really has a single niche. Our focus has always been providing a multifaceted perspective to every client to fuel a relationship-driven business,” reflects Mazeiro. Employing talented professionals with diverse backgrounds, DSI can assemble a team customized for each project. Drawing on specific specialties required to deliver the project, the DSI team anticipates all needs and concerns to ensure a final project reflects the most time- and cost-effective efforts possible.
DSI assigns a principal, a project manager, an assistant project manager and a superintendent to every project. In addition to managing a project’s completion, DSI’s project managers act as a single point-of-contact beginning at project conception, providing all estimating services as well as bidding, awarding and contract negotiation. In effect, personnel who hold this greater responsibility facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of a project’s progress, and it assures consistency between a project’s estimated and actual budget. The job-specific superintendent is responsible for all on-site management, and works with the project manager to assure the synergy between resources requested, assigned and effectively used.
In view of the realities of the nation’s current financial climate, DSI has worked harder than ever to focus on the process as well as the product; this has ensured clients receive the peace of mind that comes from constant communication with a company completely invested in the success of each project. “We have always been a customer service-oriented operation, but these days we place a special emphasis on ensuring the construction process ends with positive results,” asserts Mazeiro. As a result of its proactive approach and focus on minimizing change orders and other costly disruptions, DSI has been able to stay competitive in multiple sectors despite the ups and downs in the overall construction market.
“You can’t create trust and loyalty overnight, especially not in this market,” recognizes Mazeiro. “Our greatest asset has always been our employees and the quality, passion and dedication to company goals they bring everyday. As a result, we have a loyalty to our customers that engenders loyalty from them in return.”
Defying the Odds to Address Tomorrow’s Needs Today
DSI’s teamwork-centered approach has allowed the company to execute showcase solutions throughout its region of activity. For example, in 2008 DSI provided design-build solutions for a new 250,000-square foot industrial building for a private development company. Due to local ordinances this project required such a significant amount of storm water storage facilities that the project seemed unfeasible. To deliver the project, DSI coordinated with the architect and civil engineer to develop an underground storage solution that not only worked, but could be built 10-percent under the original budget while increasing building square footage. Other developers had abandoned the project believing it unachievable, but DSI has always prided itself on combining its personnel and resources to deliver positive results.
Even though the design the company proposed had never been accomplished in the area, or anywhere at the scale the client needed, DSI stood by their concept and submitted it just the same. Ultimately, the design was a success, and DSI delivered the project $1 million under its original budget. “We’re very proud of that building, not just because of its technical aspects, but because it embodies our values. While the building itself is notable, the most important part of the project is buried completely underground,” says Mazeiro.
More recently DSI has extended its focus on understanding and addressing client priorities into the realm of sustainable design, allowing additional, ongoing benefits to be incorporated into the time and money invested in a project. Though the company has always left room for environmentally responsible solutions, DSI’s endorsed approach to sustainability began with the completion of Mazeiro’s LEED Accredited Professional certification in 2009. The company has since continued to support LEED training of its employees. “A building’s energy efficiency has always been critical to its lifecycle, only now we can address sustainability as a separate priority in the design process,” explains Mazeiro.
In part because of its proven LEED capabilities, DSI was invited to oversee the construction of a new office space for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department at the General Services Administration office in downtown Chicago. In total, 26,000 square feet were constructed to provide more comfortable waiting space for individuals, while accounting for the building’s high security measures and intended LEED certification. The project achieved this certification with such energy-efficient features as daylight harvesting lighting controls, green power and low-emitting materials to name a few. Ultimately the DSI team delivered the project on time and on budget with the same personal touch it provides to all of its clients.
A smooth build out executed by a team that stays on top of the entire process has always been a DSI hallmark and remains so as the company nears April 2012, which marks DSI’s 20-year anniversary. Though the team has no concrete plans in place yet to mark the occasion, DSI’s ability to develop solutions that exceed the expectations of the client will spur its stable growth in the years to come as the economy improves, providing plenty of future opportunities for the company and its repeatedly satisfied clients to commemorate. No matter when or how the Development Solutions Inc. team chooses to celebrate, it won’t celebrate alone.
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