Case Studies

ICM Consulting LLC

A family venture in general contracting in the Southeast

After being a minority partner of an engineering and construction firm for several years and having his son and daughter finish college, Fred Runco decided to utilize his many years of construction, management and customer service experience to start ICM Consulting LLC in April 2006. Located in Chantilly, Virginia, ICM Consulting is a hybrid construction management and general contracting firm. With various commercial and residential projects up and down the East Coast, ICM Consulting specializes in building hotels and homes over 10,000 square feet.

In 2013, ICM Consulting teamed with Ideal Enterprises, owned by Jason Crowder, to start a sister company, World Dynamics LLC (WD), which provides cast-in-place concrete for athletic stadiums and arenas throughout the country and specialize in aisle steps. WD has implemented a unique and much sought after, proprietary computer program that compensates for existing conditions. These adjustments bring the aisle steps to within acceptable code tolerances, without the need for impractical and costly adjustments to the precast concrete. This system thereby minimizes trip and fall concerns and eliminates the need for unsightly hazard striping.

ICM Consulting LLC

WD has already used its system at the new Baylor University and Texas A&M football stadiums, El Paso baseball stadium, and is currently working at the University of Mississippi basketball arena. Later this year, it will be starting on the new Dallas Cowboys facilities in Texas and the new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons in Georgia.

A family tradition

ICM Consulting is a family business. Runco’s daughter, Nikki, is administrative director for the company, while his son, Jesse is a senior project manager as well as a principal. Runco intends for ICM to remain a family-run company and has been gradually transitioning ownership to Jesse and Nikki, passing the company onto the next generation.

Runco decided to enter the contracting business after working in the customer service department with his father in the late ’70s and early ’80s for a local builder. Runco says that his experiences, along with what he learned from his father, taught him much about the industry, which he believes is a major factor in the company’s success today. “I saw how much time, effort, and cost went into fixing issues with the construction of a home. Not to mention the ill will it caused between the homeowners and the builder, when it would have been so much easier, had it been done right the first time,” recalls Runco.

Starting a construction company in 2006 presented numerous challenges as the looming housing market crash would soon have devastating effects on the industry. As a company that specializes in hotels and high-end homes, ICM was forced to adjust to the market to survive. “When the recession hit, nobody was lending money for the types of projects we were generally building,” recalls Runco. “We decided to go back to our roots, which were high-end additions, restaurants and interior build-outs. I also started thinking outside the box and expanded the areas of our search for work.”

Two projects that helped ICM weather the worst of the recession, were found in new locations outside the normal work zone. Runco recalls one of these project in which he traveled to Boston to create a new kitchen for Gate Gourmet, the second largest supplier of airline food in the country. “It started as an abandoned warehouse on the East side of Boston and finished as a new 50,000-square-foot kitchen with three huge walk-in coolers, one of which was over 7,000 square feet. They had two 42-foot long dishwashers and glass sterilizers and a 52-foot-long, computerized, fan/hood system that was one of the first to be installed in the country,” says Runco. “The Fire Marshall said it was the first time in his 10 years as Boston’s Fire Marshall that a general contractor ever passed the initial sprinkler hood inspection. I was very proud of my guys that day.”

ICM Consulting

The second project was Breaux Vineyards, a popular winery on the border of West Virginia and Virginia border. Upon completion of the newly constructed wine production and wedding facilities, Breaux Vineyards was featured on Fox News. “The owner, Paul Breaux, told us when we were awarded this project that ‘this would not be a job, but a career’ and so far, he has been right,” says Runco. ICM is currently on phase 4 of this project, just completing a 12,000-square-foot, New Orleans-style wine tasting room, complete with a 62-foot bar, a grand oak room with all old reclaimed oak paneling and bar, and a cork and key room that sports a bathroom that resembles an old stone cabin with shutters and a slate roof.

Adapting to change

In preparation for an event such as a recession, Runco developed a unique method for ensuring customer satisfaction while ongoing market conditions created fluctuations in the pricing of resources and materials. During these times, it was common that the cost of any project may go up or down after signing a contract, especially if the project was waiting for permits or financing that would delay the start. ICM had seen prices increase or decrease as much as 20 percent over this waiting period. Runco’s approach to this problem was similar to a “cost-plus” contract but with two significant differences. The first, being that if the cost of materials went above the line-item on the budget, the client would pay the increased costs but would not see an increase in ICM’s original construction management fee. Secondly, if the prices decreased and were less than the line-item, ICM would split the savings 50-50 with the client, ensuring the client that ICM’s goal was to save money on each line-item within the budget.

This method worked well for Runco and his team during the recession. In each project a level of trust is established between the contractor and client, which created an “open-book policy.” “The customer sees everything and they also know there is no motivation for me to charge them more because then I am losing out on that 50 percent,” says Runco.

As a general contractor that travels for a fair amount of its work, Runco likes to use subcontractors that are local to the area that ICM is working in. “I feel it’s a good way to build relationships,” says Runco. “It shows appreciation and respect when you go into a new town and create work for people that live there.” ICM does have a few select crews that travel with the company.

Which crew ICM uses also depends on what type of job the company has. Working in hotel construction, benefits ICM, due to the renovation requirements of each of the hotel flags. Many hotel franchises require upgrades to be made every five years, as part of their licensing agreements with the owners. These renovations bring the facilities up to the latest standards, which usually involve renovating rooms, pool areas, public spaces and occasionally, the entire exterior. “It is one of the benefits of building hotels. You know that about every five years the owner is required to renovate them,” says Runco. “We have crews that exclusively do hotel renovations for us.”

With the hotel industry bouncing back, Runco expects the company to double in size within the next two years. As the transition is gradually made to the next generation, ICM Consulting LLC will continually strive to present an example of a company that provides quality, honesty and integrity, for a successful family business.

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Spring 2018



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