Case Studies

HMK Company

Professional standards and dedicated leadership

HMK Company (HMKCO) is a project management firm specializing in school districts, local government entities and private owners throughout the state of Oregon. “Owners hire us to manage their construction projects from concept to close-out,” says David McKay, managing director for HMKCO. “We are program and project managers without risk.”

McKay acknowledges the importance of what the company seamlessly delivers, as he worked as an owner’s project manager for school districts in 1996 before joining HMKCO when it reopened in 2013.

Part of what makes the company so unique is the commitment to completion. “We don’t leave a job until it’s finished,” McKay explains.  “Our commitment is to continue providing service to the project assuring that the project closeout, building turnover and warranty period are successfully finalized. Schedule management is a unique characteristic of what we do.”

In order to determine a realistic schedule for a project McKay relies on leadership and schedule management to guide him. “The first step is to put together a schedule early in the concept phase,” he continues. “Once the design team is hired I ask for their input and make adjustments. Finally, I hold people accountable to the schedule commitments made.”

McKay goes on to note that talking with the design and construction team about expectations and being willing to adjust a schedule if needed allows the company not to make schedules in a vacuum. Instead, it encourages all parties to collaborate to establish a team partner relationship with the other stakeholder. McKay has found that when holding people accountable all the way through and remaining consistent, people will tend to self-manage and accomplish goals that have been agreed upon.

Tools for projects

There are three different categories and one subcategory that McKay uses as a tool to monitor and control the projects. The first category is budget, the second scope, with quality as a subcategory of scope and finally schedule.

“You need to be monitoring budgets all of your decisions all the way through have to go back to budgets,” he details. “You need to be communicating the budget consistently and thoroughly to the decision makers and project stakeholders.”

Regarding scope, HMKCO manages the scope of work, which means understanding clearly what the owner desires and what the wish list entails. Quality comes from pure experience, using the design team, using personal experience or using other professionals that have specific knowledge in various systems. The various systems can range from weatherproofing, exterior envelope and various commissioning agents, which will help when the company doesn’t have that specific expertise.

Environmentally conscious

HMKCO recognizes the need for energy conservation. “When we are designing buildings and representing owners one of the things we always have to be cognizant of is the impact on the cost of energy that the various systems we’re putting in place have,” McKay details.

He goes on to relay that there are a host of tools that are used by the company to decrease the over maintenance cost and decrease the energy costs for the owners, as well. HMKCO also has specific expertise in assisting people with energy conservation projects ranging from lighting projects to heating systems or even heating controls.

McKay gives an example of a project HMKCO was involved in that provided energy conservation. “Pilot Rock school district had a failed steam boiler system in two schools,” he continues. “We recognized the failure and put in a very high efficient heat pump system allowing us to reduce their energy cost by 60 percent per year for three years running.”

The dollar savings for the school was over $60,000 a year, which went about 90 percent of the way into allowing the school to add a teacher into the classrooms. According to those at HMKCO, that energy conservation is a huge part of what the company does.


To achieve the standards that HMKCO has for its projects, the company has to have skilled project managers. McKay states that to be successful as a project manager takes remaining a leader above all else, the person in the position needs to be able to chart a general course on where the projects’ going. “They need to have a 10,000-foot perspective and provide leadership that allows the project team to mitigate challenges before they get them in order to respond to the various challenges instead of reacting,” he clarifies.

It is evident that McKay believes in managing the details and expectations, as well as learning to hold people accountable when not meeting expectations. “We need to not be afraid of confrontation in a professional way,” he details. “To drive the best out of people doesn’t demean them.”

HMKCO has achieved a loyal customer base by remaining a consistently respectable company. With a commendable set of standards, HMKCO will only continue to grow in size and reputation. “We are very pleased with where we are not only as a company providing services but in our growth, as well,” McKay says. Currently HMK Company is managing growth and hitting all of its targets and expects to continue for years to come.

Published on: March 27, 2015

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