Islands Mechanical Contractor Inc.
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Ryan Fecteau
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Based in Middleburg, Florida, Islands Mechanical Contractor Inc. (IMC) is a general contracting construction company with more than 150 years of combined experience throughout its management team. While IMC provides a broad range of design-build, LEED-certified construction, general construction and demolition services, the company specializes in large-scale renovations and energy upgrades.
IMC has operated out of northern Florida since 1992, providing to federal customers — primarily various divisions and military factions of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) — and private sector clients. Remaining true to its name, IMC serves clients throughout the islands of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, spanning from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Jamaica and the southeastern U.S. “A lot of our work recently has been away from our Florida home,” says Dezra Steep, program manager for IMC. “Our quality standards remain consistent though, regardless of the project location or type of work we are performing. We look forward to working in new locations and proudly follow our clients to wherever their needs take us.”
A niche market in military necessities
IMC has been involved in projects with the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (GTMO) for more than 22 years. The company’s successful track record recently helped the company to earn a $33 million base housing replacement project in GTMO. In pursuing this project, IMC entered into a joint venture with LandSouth Construction, a Jacksonville, Florida, company that specializes in multifamily housing construction. “This project isn’t necessarily very technically challenging, but it is very large,” says Steep. “For a small business it’s quite an award. We continue to support the military in Key West and Guantanamo Bay as well as the Air National Guard in Alabama.” The base housing replacement project includes demolition of existing single-family houses and the construction of 51 new residences. Street paving, site improvements and utilities servicing will be included with the new residences.
In addition to the base housing job, IMC is currently working on the rehabilitation of the existing Windward Point Lighthouse at GTMO. The structure is a 60-foot steel, nonfunctioning lighthouse, originally constructed on the east side entrance of GTMO. IMC is involved in the refurbishment of six supporting built-up steel columns to approximately 10 feet above the base, complete replacement of the catwalk and guardrail, sandblasting corroded areas and recoating the steel to protect from the harsh, salt-rich environment. “The preservation of the lighthouse ensures that it will remain a historic symbol and memorial for residents, base personnel and future visitors to GTMO,” Steep explains.
A company of the future
As green building and sustainability continue to become more prevalent in the construction industry, IMC is integrating these building methods into the military and government construction sectors. IMC recently completed a government project that involved a $10 million solar installation. “We’re still bidding LED lighting, modernization and retrofits,” says Sean Turnage, IMC’s operations manager. “A lot of the projects that involve renovations of government buildings include solar power for water heating and LED retrofit. The government is certainly looking to become as sustainable as possible.”
With the ever-evolving world of technology, remaining current with the tools available in the industry is crucial to a company’s efficiency. IMC is constantly adapting to and embracing methods that allow the operation to run smoothly for its clients and subcontractors. The company has recently modified its bid submittal process. By using new software, IMC is able to better streamline the complicated process of design-build bidding with submittals from contractors. “We are also looking at the application of tablets on the jobsite,” Turnage explains. “We’re always looking at new software and ways to integrate new technology.”
In the past two years, IMC has grown from 30 employees to a full-time staff of 46. Turnage credits some of the company’s growth to an increase in multifamily housing construction in the United States. With a broad range of work and new challenges presented daily to every employee, IMC has also been able to recruit highly skilled workers. The company also provides a well-balanced work/life schedule. “We are a small company and we value time with family,” says Steep. “No one is chained to a desk here. Sometimes employees experience burnout when tasked with doing the same thing every day, but fortunately we perform very diverse projects with varying requirements. We encourage employees to take time off and spend time with their families and pursue personal interests, which we believe helps them recharge their batteries and think outside the box when it comes to their jobs.”
With cautious optimism, Steep and Turnage are excited for the future of IMC. As the construction industry continues to rebound, the company has proven its ability to not only survive the recession, but even thrive during tough economic times. With a strong reputation based on quality, experience and integrity, Islands Mechanical Contractor Inc. will remain a leading company in building facilities for the military and commercial markets.
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