Hammer LGC Inc.
- Written by: Eric Gundberg
- Produced by: John Carioti
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
For companies that can obtain them, a job order contract (JOC) can be a lifeline in difficult economic times. Typically found within the Department of Defense, a JOC establishes a partnership between a general contracting company and its client. The GC is expected to complete a number of commonly encountered construction projects during a multiyear contract. It’s a boon to the GC because it negates having to bid on each individual project, but from the client’s point of view the GC that is awarded the JOC must have an established history of completing projects on time and that conducts all its operations at the highest level of quality.
Hammer LGC Inc. (HLGC) – which operates out of corporate headquarters in Samson, Ala., with regional offices in the Southeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic – is one of those companies. The Small Business Administration-approved Native American Owned 8(a), Veterans Affairs-recognized Service-disabled Veteran-owned, SBA Certified HUBZone Region General Contractor conducts commercial, industrial and government contract work throughout the United States.
Along with U.S. Army JOC work HLGC provides a variety of construction services to federal agencies, including the General Services Administration (GSA), Department of Defense, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, and Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, the company has an excellent performance record in the execution of indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) construction contracts including the Army’s job order contracts (JOC); the Air Force’s Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineering Requirements (SABER) contracts; U.S. Army Corps of Engineer IDIQ contracts, as well as SATOCs/MATOC’s. HLGC strengthens its position as a preferred long-term partner by approaching each job with the right attitude, the right people and the right tools.
The company was founded by George “Sandy” Hammer in 1991, and incorporated in its present configuration in 1998, and is widely recognized for its expertise in heavy earthwork, hazmat remediation, architectural construction, piping and pumping installations, high-voltage and interior electrical projects, HVAC mechanical projects and sophisticated finishing work. Hammer, a Master Plumber and current HLGC president/CEO who understands the effort required to get a job done right, outlines the company’s early history as follows: “I’d been a general contractor all of my life with larger companies like Union Carbide and the Tennessee Valley Authority. I finally decided that if I could make money for those companies, I could make it for myself. We moved to Samson and initially started working at Fort Rucker as a sub for industry giants like Brown & Root. In 1996, the JOC at Fort Rucker came up for bid, and the base officials encouraged me to bid on it against the larger companies. We won the bid and we’ve never looked back since.”
Early Success, Early Challenges
HLGC has expanded considerably since its inception and Hammer reveals that the company’s growth was so explosive that it almost finished HLGC just as it was making a name for itself in the industry. The lessons learned, however, further enhanced the company’s ability to address the needs of its partners with exceptional quality, on time and on budget with the highest level of competence. “In 2001 we did a lot of jobs, and you’re fine if you do a job or two but that year we won every single job that bid on, so we almost went bankrupt having to honor all of those contracts,” reveals Hammer. “After we made it through that awful year, I decided that the way we were working just wasn’t going to work any more. We were at 170 hourly employees, and I drastically changed things. Now we’re down to 60 employees who are a mix of senior project managers, supervisors, quality control specialists and the staff here at our corporate headquarters.”
Now, when HLGC wins a project, Hammer dispatches a senior project manager and a supervisor to the job site and they hire a local crew and subs to complete the project, operating on a foundation of integrity and honesty. Hammer prefers it that way because it allows his company to effectively complete 80 to 100 projects a year, and it interjects dollars into the local community where the project is located. In spite of the company’s high volume of projects, Hammer still maintains control over each individual project. “I insist on an adherence to quality and safety at each of our job sites,” says Hammer. “I’m not an absentee owner, and I’m not a guy with a law degree who decided on a whim to get into the construction industry. I’m a GC and I know my business. I make it my business to visit each of our projects at least once a quarter, and if I walk onto a job site and things aren’t right, I know immediately.”
Give Them Quality, They’ll Come Back
Hammer reinforces his policies of teamwork, planning, training, communication, attention to detail and upholding the client as the most important asset with the following amusing metaphor: “I tell my employees to use the lipstick-and-rouge policy. You have to give the customer the best face [for a project]. I tell them that you didn’t choose your wife because she’s ugly; you chose her because you find her beautiful. Everyone wants quality, and once you give it to them they will always come back to you.”
The company’s reputation for high-quality projects has allowed HLGC to work on several high-profile projects all over the country. Hammer reveals that after the U.S. Park Service contracted with HLGC to perform some work on the St. Louis Arch they were so impressed with the company’s work that they hired them for a design-build project to rebuild the Arch’s tram system. Hammer confides that HLGC’s team of professionals has a solid background in a number of aspects of the construction industry, but it’s in historical renovation where the company’s true passion may lie. “We do a lot of work with the GSA remodeling or bringing back historical buildings and court houses. We’ve done them all over the U.S., and we’re currently getting ready to renovate a historical border crossing on the Rio Grande. I’m meeting with the Secretary of the Interior next week to discuss the project.”
Also, in a coup that was envied by his competitors across the country, one of Hammer’s crews at HLGC also recently completed a historical renovation of Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Ill. Lead by Hammer’s strategic management, HLGC will continue to grow its broad range of expertise and what the company can bring to all long-term contracts and joint ventures. It’s a simple policy, really: Give a customer an expertly orchestrated product managed with consistent communication and they will come back for more. Hammer and his team have that policy ingrained in every one of their projects and that has resulted in a thriving company while some in the industry are barely hanging on. The company’s work on iconic structures will only add to Hammer LGC Inc.’s highly regarded reputation in the industry.
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