Diversified Builders Inc.
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Sean Barr
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Ron Mattox established Diversified Builders Inc. (DBI) in 1978 as a small tenant improvement contractor. After working in the trade for 16 years, Ron dreamed of starting his own business.
Ron made this dream a reality, and after more than 36 years in business, he has grown the company from a small tenant improvement into a multimillion dollar company. Today his crew takes on both large and small steel framing and drywall projects, specializing primarily in private commercial work. DBI has established a reputation in the industry for the ability to provide comprehensive construction services on large and complex projects.
DBI is a family business. Ron’s daughter, Tatum Smith, serves as a company manager. Her husband, Ben Smith, is the company’s general manager. “I was climbing the corporate ladder with a manufacturing company before I started here four years ago,” Ben says. “Ron does incredible work and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn from him. When it comes to expertise, there is no one better in this industry. My father-in-law has a unique ability to see things that aren’t right. He is proactive with problem-solving.”
DBI is well organized. The team excels at preconstruction planning, focusing on the details before crews hit the jobsite. This foresight and commitment to quality have helped the business establish and maintain lasting relationships with clients throughout Denver and the surrounding areas. Working from a single location, a team of approximately 150 experienced employees serve a range of commercial clients, ranging from retail facilities to high-rise condominiums.
The company’s capabilities include light gauge and structural steel stud framing, as well as drywall, acoustical ceiling and insulation work. The crew finishes off aesthetically strong interiors with paint, ceramic tile, partitions and other components for turnkey service. With the manpower, design and engineering capabilities all under one roof, DBI is able to provide greater value than competing contractors.
Recent work for DBI includes Industry Denver, a project the team is currently working on. “We are creating flexible office space using unique framing,” Ben explains. “This is a work of art in a traditional office space. The building is a 100,000-square-foot warehouse that will have over 30 unique tenants. We are facing some unique challenges due to the tight tolerances of the space. We have glass systems going in after drywall and all had to be pre-ordered. In order to accomplish what we needed, all of the dimensions and openings were held quite tight.”
The team also performs a lot of pre-fabrication for projects. One example is the recent First Citizens Bank project, which included a unique roof truss system. “We built the entire roof out of metal trusses on the ground,” Ben elaborates. “We then cut it apart and lifted it up in sections, reassembling it in a short amount of time. This helped the general contractor recover some time from previous delays. When it comes to roofs and trusses, the biggest issues are safety and production efficiency. We can be a lot safer and more efficient if we spend less time 40 feet off the ground.”
One of the most memorable projects in the company’s recent history has been the team’s work at Denver Union Station. DBI worked as part of a historic renovation project that has become a flagship contract for the business. The crew worked with partner contractors to revitalize the old train station, including the addition of new retail and public spaces, as well as the attached 112-room Crawford Hotel. The project presented unique challenges, working with modern materials while maintaining the historic value and aesthetic of the property.
Navigating a challenging market
While construction is coming back in a big way throughout DBI’s service area, the company is facing new challenges as more opportunities arise. The crew has a strong backlog of work in the coming months, including a large luxury condominium project and the Colorado School of Mines football stadium in Golden Colorado. The volume is available in the market, but labor has become hard to nail down.
Trades seem to be dwindling as older generations age out of the industry. Superintendents are retiring while younger people are less interested in trade work than the last generation. This makes project schedules even more of a challenge.
To counter these hurdles, DBI has established a strong apprenticeship program. “Internal training for our talent pool is something that has become important to moving the business forward,” Ben explains. On top of that, the company has strong relationships with subcontractors who can help pick up some of the volume when DBI falls short on manpower.
Despite these growing pains, Ben and his colleagues are optimistic about the future of the business. Urban centers continue to grow as young people flock to cities. In the meantime, the crew is focused on keeping up with changing technology, as well as safety and industry regulations. With a strong knack for planning ahead and providing lasting value, Diversified Builders Inc. will continue to grow in sync with the region.
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