Integra Construction (Integra) is a growing commercial and industrial general contractor based in Atlanta, Ga. A group of coworkers working as project managers at McDevitt & Street Company were determined to strike out on their own. In 1994 they did just that, founding Integra.
“David Blackmore, Jeff Powers and I have known each other for nearly 30 years,” explains Brad Hornor, principal and partner of Integra, who joined the team a few years after its founding. “They are like the brothers I never had. They left McDevitt & Street Company in 1994 while I stayed. I got married and had three children. I was doing airports for a while there. My family was happy when I could work locally, but working abroad in Korea wasn’t going to work out. In 2000, I left to work here with Blackmore and Powers.”
Counting a strong team of subcontractors, the trio oversees as many as 300 to 500 people on a daily basis. Integra works with a strong network of contractors who can get the job done well, on time and on budget. The complexity of the company’s projects demand strong performance, and the team has risen to the challenge; Integra has set a precedent for quality in the industry, attracting repeat clients in 24 states.
Integra works with a number of major industrial clients. Building, rebuilding and expanding large manufacturing facilities can be a daunting undertaking for an unprepared contractor. Many of these clients know losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each day if a plant is down is the reality. These owners need to be able to rely on a contractor to look ahead and evolve with the challenges on a project without falling behind.
“One thing that sets us apart is that we can find a problem on paper before it becomes a problem in the field,” Hornor explains. “We are always looking for a faster way to build a project that we can bring to the table.”
The team has repeatedly proven capable of tackling major projects efficiently. Fast turnaround, an esteemed reputation for quality work, as well as strong communication with owners and lasting relationships with subcontractors has allowed Integra to thrive despite the recent economic downturn.
Putting Out Fires
In 2011 the Integra team completed a major expansion project for Daehan Solutions, a tier-one supplier for Kia and Hyundai. The crew managed and constructed an additional 115,000 square feet for the company’s manufacturing operations. The work included site work, shell construction and relocation of three assembly lines.
Less than a year after completion, tragedy struck. In March 2012, a massive fire tore through the facility, leaving behind several millions of dollars in damage. “I got a phone call on St. Patrick’s day from the head of Daehan’s North American Operations,” Hornor recalls. “He said, ‘We had a fire, can you come down here?’ I asked how bad was it and he said it was pretty bad.”
Hornor estimates that approximately 60 percent of the original facility had collapsed. The damage was so severe and the situation so dangerous that traffic had been blocked off. After navigating through several security checkpoints, he made it to the site.
“It was the biggest mess I’ve seen in my life,” Hornor explains. “I was scared to death standing there with the fire marshal during our initial damage survey that the building was going to collapse.”
On top of the damage, a new Kia plant had opened nearby, relying on Daehan for parts supply. The longer the company was shut down, the longer the Kia plant would have to wait. The business could not afford to put work on hold for an extended period of time.
Understanding the potential ongoing loss of revenue, Hornor and his team got to work quickly. “I don’t think I slept much at all during the first week of recovery,” he notes. “We extracted all of the presses from the building and tore down the old facility. In around three months we had constructed a 155,000-square-foot plant. We had 200 to 300 workers working three, eight-hour shifts per day to get the work done. Sure enough we did and we were able to set up a temporary facility in the expansion facility we had just completed for Daehan to keep production moving and more importantly keep the KIA West Point plant in operation. When it was all over in October, there was a big award ceremony with the chairmen from Kia and Hyundai.”
After all the excitement, the Integra team and the owners of the plant managed to pull off a successful, although challenging, project. The facility is again up and running, maintaining hundreds of high paying jobs for the region. In the face of such an emergency, the Integra partners and employees kept it together, maintaining a tight schedule amid the chaos.
Due to the relationships developed with Daehan’s insurance carrier, Integra is currently rebuilding a 210,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Adairsville, Ga., which was destroyed by an F3 tornado.
Integra has shown time and again that cooler heads prevail. The company maintains tight operations and a lasting dedication to relationships with clients. Going forward, Hornor and his team are looking forward to new challenges. Integra Construction continues to work hard for clients, partners and communities across the region.
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