- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Kyle Gahm
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
When there’s a difficult flooring request or fast-approaching deadline, general contractors, facility managers and end-users alike call on Virginia-based DMA Floors (DMA) to get the job done. DMA has become the go-to resource for all flooring needs and the premier floor covering and finish provider in central Virginia. As part of its strategy, DMA has spent a great deal of time and energy developing a website that can serve as a resource to specifiers and facility managers to help better understand the flooring options available.
“It makes me proud to know we’re perceived as the company to get the tough jobs done and I’m confident we can, no matter what, knowing the people around me are so talented,” says Corey Smith, now president of DMA.
Since its establishment in 1979, DMA has loyally served health care, manufacturing, retail, senior living, corporate, education, food service and hospitality clients with a full range of flooring solutions. In recent years, DMA has added polished concrete and resinous/epoxy flooring to its traditional mix of ceramic, carpet, vinyl, rubber and wood floors in order to provide the full scope of flooring options to clients.
“I bought the company in 2002 with two partners,” recalls Smith. “My partner, Ed O’Brien, previously owned a smaller installation company and had actually worked, on occasion, with DMA. My experience at that time was primarily in sales and business operations, but in a more corporate environment.”
A hands-on, well-organized team
Even with limited specific industry experience, Smith understood the need for changes at DMA, including a strong organizational structure and building a quality sales and installation force. “I like to think the quality of our people sets us apart,” he says. “We spend a lot of time on training and continuing education to make sure our employees’ knowledge is up to speed. We have also invested a lot in organizational structure to make sure jobs are happening when and how they’re supposed to.”
Unlike many competitors, DMA boasts in-house installation crews. “Most of our competitors have a sales team, but then subcontract the installation,” explains Smith. “We have in-house installers plus a director of operations and field superintendents working from job to job to make sure our crews are on track. We also have office personnel coordinating daily activities. We spend a lot of energy to keep organized, which in turn, allows us to deliver a more consistent and dependable product.”
Today, DMA employs a team of 35 professionals from sales to project management in the greater Richmond, Va., area. “Generally we stay within an hour of Richmond, but the economy has forced us to stretch outside of our normal reach,” notes Smith. “We’ve gone down to Norfolk and Roanoke and south to Lynchburg; we’ll periodically go further out of our market for the right opportunity. We have even made trips as far as Florida or New England for specialty work like historic, hand sewn carpeting and polished concrete or for multi-site accounts.”
Divide and conquer
Shortly after stepping into DMA in 2002, Smith and his team not only organized the company and its people, but also set out to diversify DMA’s offerings. “By early 2012 we formed our polished concrete, epoxy and resinous floors division,” shares Smith. “We hired Web Stokes to head up this division and it’s really taken off. We’ve also added acoustical ceiling and wall panels to our line up. Diversifying our product mix makes us more valuable to our customers because we deliver everything, all under one roof.”
DMA offers elegant and resilient polished concrete that’s a sustainable alternative to floorcoverings and epoxies and it can be used in a variety of spaces, including corporate offices, health care facilities and hospitality, manufacturing and retail settings. The practice starts by processing a concrete surface with bonded diamond abrasives to achieve a desired class of aggregate exposure and level of reflective clarity and sheen. The process provides increased strength over standard concrete as well as most floorcoverings and some resinous systems.
Polished concrete offers reduced maintenance and life-cycle costs, perfect for high-traffic commercial and some industrial settings. “Shortly after launching the polished concrete division we completed a large-scale commercial kitchen and retail space for Dave and Busters, an entertainment restaurant chain, alongside Shamut Design and Construction, the project general contractor,” details Smith. “Dave and Busters has a sports bar feel, so to complement that, we put stencils down, stained and polished a football field polished concrete floor. There were many stages in the process but the finished product was really impressive.”
DMA’s diversified divisions cover a wide size and scope of work, says Smith, from small direct-to-end-user accounts all the way up to $3.5 million health care projects. “Our largest project to date was completed in 2011 at the Martha Jefferson Hospital’s new campus in Charlottesville, which won an award as America’s Most Beautiful Hospital,” Smith notes.
While work keeps coming its way, DMA has successfully tackled the challenges of maintaining a solid backlog through the recession. “There’s just not as much volume,” says Smith. “It used to be a challenge to have enough manpower to complete work, now it’s finding the jobs and expanding our offerings to continue to grow.”
Nonetheless, DMA is well-known and well-connected with industry affiliations such as its relationship with the Builders Exchange Association of Virginia (BX). “The BX puts you in a large network of contractors and offers exposure, but more than anything, it’s a research vehicle,” explains Smith, who’s currently serving as president of the BX board of directors. “You can use BX to find projects to work on and then to research plans, specifications and addenda.”
Strong industry connections and diversified divisions keep DMA moving forward. “Our staff has grown substantially in an effort to grow our concrete division, which also means we’re growing geographically,” adds Smith. “We have projects lined up from Connecticut to Florida.”
DMA Floors continues to grow from the ground up, as the go-to resource for specialty flooring solutions.
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