Kast Construction Company LLC
As Kast Construction Company LLC (Kast) fast approaches its 10-year anniversary, the rapidly growing Florida-based construction management firm is taking on new markets and bigger projects with the same commitment to customer service and attention to detail. Formed in 2005 by top executives from some of the country’s most prestigious construction firms, Kast rejects the notion that bigger is better. Instead, the firm focuses on unparalleled customer service, professionalism and attention to detail that is often lost in the large company format.
While Kast is broadly diversified in the multifamily, condominium, hospitality, senior living, health care, private club and municipal market sectors, Michael Neal, now CEO of Kast, says the firm’s roots are in the residential market. “Our first project was the $150 million Two City Plaza condominium in downtown West Palm Beach,” reveals Neal. “Someone had to have extreme confidence and belief in our people and integrity to award a major project like Two City Plaza to a startup company.”
From the inside out
From startup to full-service, multifaceted project management, Kast resides in West Palm Beach and more recently, Sarasota, Fla. The company opened the Sarasota office to handle multimillion dollar pipeline work. Kast is now licensed in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
“Several years ago we were at 70 employees and now we’re up to 90 professionals,” notes Neal. “I anticipate another 25 to 30 hires in the next year to fill the need of some of our big projects coming up. I also expect that Kast will have an office outside of Florida within the next five years. The most likely candidates are Atlanta or Charlotte, N.C.”
Amid a period of record growth and expansion, Neal says the company’s secret to success remains in high-quality people. “Kast has a philosophy of hiring and training the best people in the industry,” he explains. “We have not changed our philosophy since the day we opened our doors and in fact, we have ramped up our efforts to increase the amount of training, improving our technology and really taking an inside-out approach to building our company.”
Neal says it’s about creating an environment where employees love to work. “It’s a simple philosophy, but it quite hard to execute because it requires extreme focus and discipline,” he admits. “So many firms in our industry put the customer first, but fail to work on maintaining organizational health. By focusing inwardly, we create a culture where our employees want to serve our customers at a higher level.”
This tough love and disciplined approach with employees has worked in Kast’s favor, as one of the main ingredients in the company’s sustained growth and repeat business. “In addition to great pride in our wonderful people, I’m most proud of the fact that more than 80 percent of our work is with repeat customers,” reveals Neal. “This is a goal we always strive for and one that requires earning trust based on performance.”
Capitalizing on economic growth and repeat business
Repeat business and a booming economy added up to significant expansion for Kast. “Florida is in a great place right now,” says Neal. “Our economy is growing and we are an international hub for Latin America, Europe and Asia, as well as a premiere place for the baby boomers to retire.”
That is not all Kast has in store, however. “We are now focused on attracting the film and entertainment industries, biotech, health care and banking and with the expansion of the Panama Canal, Florida remains positioned as the primary port for shipping and transportation,” continues Neal. “Now that the economic outlook is more positive, we are expanding geographically alongside the demand from our repeat customers.”
The company recently topped out a nine-story, 93-residence luxury condominium at Water Club Snell Isle (Water Club) in St. Petersburg, Fla. “Water Club is the only new construction condominium on Snell Isle and the first new waterfront condominium in more than 40 years,” reveals Neal.
Kast is also in progress at the Palmetto Park City Center, South Florida’s largest up and coming mixed-use project consisting of a 556,000-square-foot build-out with 208 residential units, 23,000 square feet of retail space, 15,000 square feet of pool and deck areas and 668 parking spaces.
Coming up in summer 2014, Kast expects to begin work on the 275-unitWestin Hotel in Sarasota, the city’s largest residential development since 2006. Then, just seven to eight months thereafter, the company will break ground on the Vue Condominium project, a new 18-story luxury development situated next to the Westin Hotel.
“We see excellent opportunities in the Tampa Bay and Sarasota areas,” adds Neal. Through expert delivery and performance, Kast has built a solid network of repeat business that has been the catalyst for expansion from Florida’s west coast and into the Carolinas and beyond.
“Here again, customer loyalty is based on performance, which is absolutely the result of our inward focus on delivering consistent performance across the board,” explains Neal. “I absolutely believe that when the market is good, you trade more on your reputation than on price in our industry. So that means we are only as good as our last project in the eyes of our customers.”
As the company looks forward to its 10-year anniversary, Kast Construction Company LLC continues to focus on inward development of some of the best and brightest in the industry.
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