- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Lindsay Jeffries
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Greater Metroplex Interiors Inc., dba GMI Inc., has been in business since 1978. While the business started out serving exclusively the Dallas-Fort Worth area, GMI has expanded to serve customers throughout the state, with additional target markets in Houston and Austin. Specializing in commercial drywall, framing and acoustical installations, GMI is a leader in the Texas construction market. The company has made a name with reliable performance on a number of high-profile construction projects over the years.
Originally founded by Mike Darden, GMI is still family-owned and -operated. Darden continues to serve as company president and CEO working alongside a strong leadership team including Joan Darden, chief administrative officer, T. Mikal Darden, vice president, Douglas Nies, chief operating Officer, Kirk Challgren, chief financial officer, John Wicker, operations manager and Michael Ward, director of business development and preconstruction.
GMI specializes in turnkey delivery of all projects. Clients have come to count on the business for efficient, high-quality work in a wide range of commercial markets. The team’s ability to perform under pressure for developers, general contractors and building owners has helped GMI to form and keep longstanding relationships with some of the largest contractors operating in Texas.
With around 700 employees, GMI has the manpower and resources to tackle projects large and small. “We can do a 1,000-square foot space to projects exceeding 1 million square feet,” Darden explains. “Our labor force is comprised of all GMI employees who work directly for us, which allows us to meet the ever-changing manpower needs of each project while offering better quality control and project management.”
Another aspect of the business that sets GMI apart from competitors in the business’ prefabrication capabilities. “We perform a type of metal-framed construction called load-bearing metal framing, as opposed to a tradition steel or concrete structure skeleton,” Darden elaborates. “We have an off-site panel manufacturing facility in North Fort Worth where we prefabricate and deliver the cold formed metal framed panels to the jobsite where GMI forces are ready to receive and place the wall panels.
“GMI also stands out from other contractors in this market because we not only prefabricate and install the load-bearing elements of the structure, we also perform the traditional drywall, metal framing, and acoustical scopes of work which allows us to provide a true turn-key product to our clients,” he adds.
GMI’s recent work includes construction at The Tradition, an assisted living and memory care facility in Dallas. The contract involved a 130,000-square foot building comprised of a concrete podium topped with three levels of load-bearing cold formed metal framing. “Our scope of work included prefabricated panelized metal stud load-bearing walls, metal decking, light gauge trusses, nonloadbearing stud walls, sheathing, building wrap, window installation, in-wall insulation, drywall, acoustical ceilings and drywall ceilings,” says Darden.
Another high-performance project for GMI’s Austin business unit is Greenwater Block 1. The project is located in Austin at the intersection of Cesar Chavez Street and San Antonio Street. “The total project size is approximately 1.7 million square feet of mixed-use development,” Darden elaborates. The building includes a 38-floor three-tiered, mixed use tower. When completed, the project will offer over 400 apartments, including affordable housing units, as well as office and retail space.
GMI’s scope of work included cold formed framed metal stud walls, sheathing, in-wall insulation, drywall, acoustical ceilings and drywall ceilings.
In the company’s Houston business unit, the team recently wrapped up work at Hanover Post Oak, a multifamily residential project. GMI applied the same client-driven service that customers have come to rely on with. As a result, GMI is currently gearing up for another project with that same client. The company’s scope of work at Hanover Post Oak included cold formed framed metal stud walls, sheathing, in-wall insulation, drywall, specialty ceilings, acoustical ceilings and drywall ceilings.
Over the years, GMI has been able to maintain a strong backlog and steady margins by adhering to company values of honesty, integrity and customer-oriented service. “The key to getting through the recent economic downturn for us was taking care of the clients we had and being smart about closely managing our costs,” Darden elaborates. “We constantly strive to live up to -and exceed- the general contractor’s expectations on each and every project.”
Darden and the large team of employees take great pride in the company’s knack for service. “We enjoy the process of building and creating,” states Darden. “It is a great experience to be able to show our families buildings that we played a part in building over the years and we see that same sense of pride reflected in our employees.”
With strong markets in Dallas, Houston, Austin, GMI Inc. is on a steady track of growth, guaranteeing sustained quality in performance and service in the years to come.
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