2015 marks a decade in business for Richmond-based KaiserKane Inc. Focusing on the federal market and clients, such as the Department of Defense, Department of Justice and Army Corps of Engineers, KaiserKane has completed in excess of $100 million in federal construction projects, consistently proving its ability to manage tight timelines and comply with strict guidelines.
A product of a strong female executive team, KaiserKane was established in 2005 by Melissa Oglesby. “We are a U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA]-certified 8(a), SDB, minority and woman-owned small business [WOSB], placing an emphasis on working for the federal government,” tells Oglesby, president of KaiserKane. “I started in construction in early 2000, working as a project manager for another company which also performed federal work.”
In the mid-2000s, Oglesby entered the SBA 8(a) business development program, which helps socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain a foothold in government contracting.
“KaiserKane has been able to far exceed our expectations of the 8(a) program through the help and guidance of many people,” says Oglesby. “This has been critically important in our success. We had mentors from the SBA, our subcontractors, even the contracting officers on our projects. This is what led us in the direction that we are headed today.”
Helping other 8(a) contractors get a leg up
After 10 years in the federal market and great success, Oglesby says it’s only right for KaiserKane to help others leverage the same advantage. “There were two areas we needed help, one being bonding and business development,” she explains. “KaiserKane will be providing bonding support to 8(a) contractors and teaching them how to stand on their own without making the same mistakes we made initially in the 8(a) program.”
Oglesby says bonding is critical to the growth of a contractor. “We want to get involved by providing that lifeblood that all small disadvantaged business need to successfully complete the program,” she says. “Our goal is to make the process of getting a bond for 8(a)’s easy and painless.”
Another area that KaiserKane plans to help 8(a) startups in is business development. “We will show 8(a)’s what we did to find the sole source projects that helped us build experience and performance so we could pursue competitive opportunities,” she notes. “We owe a great deal of our success to the mentors that we had and now we will have the opportunity to give back and help others in the future.”
Based in Richmond, Virginia, with satellite offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Atlanta, KaiserKane has grown by leaps and bounds since entering the 8(a) program. “We now have 23 employees,” shares Oglesby.
Tailored-fit to federal contracts
On staff, KaiserKane has skilled project managers and superintendents bringing experience in the execution of design-build tasks and value-added engineering. “Our staff is also versed in the integration of LEED sustainability and anti-terrorism force protection,” measures Oglesby. “Our quality control plan, health and safety plan, fall protection and environmental protection plans have been specifically tailored to meet and exceed Department of Defense and other federal agency requirements.”
From the Department of Defense, including Marine Corps and Air Force bases, to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP), headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaiserKane has become a trusted federal partner. The company has built a longstanding relationship with the FBOP, including nine projects valued at more than $1 million for the agency in the last five years.
This includes several interior renovation projects encompassing multidiscipline scopes of work in occupied, historic buildings. “A standout project is the demolition and renovation of the Bureau of Prisons’ historic central office in downtown D.C.,” shares Oglesby. “The scope of work on this bid-build, multidiscipline vertical-construction project included the complete renovation of 22,500 square feet of interior finishes.”
Once demolition was complete, new walls and ceilings were constructed followed by the installation of new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, fire-alarm and sprinkler systems, along with associated hardware.
Additionally, KaiserKane installed a new electrical system including new electrical power from existing feeders to new panels, new lighting fixtures, new telecommunications cabling and a local area network (LAN) room.
“We also installed new doors and hardware to match existing historical doors, constructed a new dining area for employees and provided new carpet and paint,” tells Oglesby. “This project also required bringing existing restrooms up to Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] standards. In addition, we installed new ceramic tile throughout the restrooms.”
The challenge for KaiserKane was to protect the historic integrity of the occupied building. This project required the simultaneous coordination of multiple subcontractors due to time constraints and government schedules. KaiserKane conducted progress meetings with all subcontractors and the owner on a weekly basis, throughout this project’s performance.
Meeting tight schedules and doing with award-winning safety practices is a hallmark of KaiserKane. In an addition at Luketina Hall at the Fort Gordon Army base in Savannah, Georgia, KaiserKane received a safety award from the Army Corps of Engineers as a result of its performance. This bid-build, multidiscipline vertical-construction project consisted of constructing a new 3,500 square feet addition to the existing SCIF, Building 20400 at Fort Gordon.
The scope of work included new utilities, such as HVAC, plumbing, electrical, water, sewer, gas, fire-detection and alarm systems, as well as information systems. In addition, it involved the installation of new paved equipment pads, sidewalks, storm drainage, site improvements and landscaping. Further, this project was built in accordance with ant-terrorism/force protection (AT/FP) standards.
The new addition was constructed while the existing SCIF building was fully occupied and operational. “Due to the sensitive nature of the work in the existing facility, it was critical that our crews coordinated all the projects activities with the user and maintained a secure perimeter, at all times,” shares Oglesby. “Additionally this high-security project was also constructed to LEED-Silver standards, adding yet another challenging factor.”
But KaiserKane has been rising to the challenge since inception; 2015 marks 10 years of progress for the firm. “We have great plans for diversification and new markets, all while helping other 8(a) businesses get the same chance we did,” adds Oglesby. KaiserKane Inc. continues to further a name in the federal market as a choice contractor.
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