Case Studies

Lamp Incorporated

Bringing to Life the Randall Oaks Recreation Center

Clifford E. Lamp founded the company Lamp Construction in 1932 during the Great Depression. Because he could not maintain steady employment, Clifford borrowed money from his family and headed out on his own. The company began performing design-build services in the late 1960s, and was later renamed Lamp Incorporated (Lamp) in 1974 when the company merged with a local architecture firm. Construction management services were then added to Lamp’s offerings in 1991.

Clifford’s passion and drive allowed Lamp to become a third-generation family-owned and -operated construction management and general contracting business. Today, Lamp’s management team consists of three of Clifford’s grandsons: Craig, president of Lamp; Ian, vice president of sales and marketing at Lamp; and Steve, secretary and treasurer. This team has led the company to complete some showcase projects.

Perfect Personnel

The company, which generally employs between 50 and 70 employees, provides high-quality construction delivery systems of general contracting, design-build and construction management services. Lamp’s portfolio includes a broad range of multimillion-dollar new construction projects and many small, unique local projects for commercial, industrial, institutional, educational, healthcare and recreational clients.

Lamp broke ground on a new project in West Dundee, Ill., in August 2011. The Dundee Township Park District is developing a new facility incorporating a library, classrooms, basketball courts, an elevated running track and a fitness center. The 53,000-square foot center’s campus is connected to nearby sports fields, walking trails and the Randall Oaks Park and Zoo.

The Lamp team is performing the management end of the project and subcontracting out most of the labor. “As a public project, everything was put out to bid on an open market,” states Ian. “But we have a pretty firm qualification process.”

With many subcontractors facing financial issues, Lamp checks into bidders’ recent financial history to ensure the company is in a stable position to contribute to the project and can maintain a crew size necessary for successful, timely completion.

“When money gets tighter, things get cut,” explains Ian. “You wouldn’t think someone would cut back on safety, but it does happen.” Lamp is also concerned with experience, so the team additionally examines bidders’ portfolios. “You don’t want to hire flooring people and then find out they’ve never installed carpet before,” says Ian. “If you don’t check into these things, you’ve got years of nightmares ahead of you.”

Lamp applies the same care in selecting its own staff. “It’s a family atmosphere,” Ian explains. “Everybody leans on everybody else.” With Lamp’s corporate mentality, the most important qualities Ian looks for in an employee are whether an individual – no matter his or her specialty – is a good fit and a team player.

“Sometimes things happen in this industry, and you have to have employees who are willing to pick up on a project,” says Ian. “You never hear anybody claim something isn’t their job around here. It’s all about what we can do to keep a project going, and keep our customer happy at all costs.”

The company has marked several milestones in the construction project. “I always love the groundbreaking ceremony,” Ian says. He imagines for project managers, the ribbon-cutting ceremony might be a favorite. So, in its own respect, Lamp celebrated the completion of the recreation center’s roof with a topping-off ceremony. Illinois has many harsh winters, and the roof’s completion was necessary to continue building throughout the cold season.

Reclaiming Ground

The project has come with challenges, as many do. “Establishing the teamwork concept on our projects, in addition to great methods of communication, overcomes most of the challenges that arise,” says Steve Straub, project manager for the facility and vice president of operations for Lamp. The company has successfully built a great project team, ranging from DTPD representatives and West Dundee village staff to on-site trade contractors.

“Taking a 30-plus acre site that had been randomly filled over time and reclaiming it was one of the first major challenges to overcome,” continues Straub. Weather has been an obstacle for the builders, too. However, with a little extra elbow grease and a healthy dose of persistence, Lamp managed to prepare the site of the new recreation center despite heavy rains.

Over a half-a-million cubic yards of soil had to be relocated and stabilized to construct the facilities. “We received very heavy precipitation last year when we started moving soils,” explains Straub. “Now that the project is nearing completion the transformation of the site is mind stopping, the visual improvement when passing by the property is amazing. I recall the first time I visited the project site, the terrain was incredibly rough and nearly impassable.”

The project boasts a recreation facility with a native prairie landscape concept incorporating over three miles of walking paths, as well as soccer and baseball fields. “The project has really come together nicely nearing the completion stage,” says Steve proudly. Lamp’s final hurdle in the project will be completing intersection improvements serving the new facility, which will consist of road widening and traffic control lighting on a major county highway. “This is a very busy roadway, completion of the intersection improvements are on schedule to open the facility on time,” says Straub.

Everything is finally falling into place for Lamp; the project is scheduled to open during 2012’s late summer months as planned. The Randall Oaks Recreation Center is displayed with its specifications and pictures of the progress being made on-site on Lamp’s website, where community members can follow the project’s progress.

The Randall Oaks Recreation Center is just one example of Lamp’s prowess. Lamp’s success and longevity can be attributed to positive long-term relationships with clients, and complete satisfaction is the end goal of every project. Many of the company’s customers are repeat customers and regularly refer Lamp Incorporated to associates for new projects, and this ongoing reputation for excellence will continue to fuel the company’s success.

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Spring 2018



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