Case Studies

MAS Building & Bridge

Heavy and civil structural steel construction services in Massachusetts

Michael Socci established MAS Building & Bridge in 2002 with the goal of providing turnkey heavy civil construction services to clients in New England. Over the years, the business has expanded significantly, building a reputation for efficient, turnkey projects and integrated in-house capabilities. With a structural steel division established in 2011, MAS has seen significant growth over the last four years with customers throughout Massachusetts and the surrounding states.

With a headquarters in Norfolk, Massachusetts, MAS employs around 100 employees between the heavy/highway division and the structural steel division. The growing business has built a reputation for quality and efficiency using a detailed approach to planning, scheduling, engineering and execution on each project. By putting in significant effort before breaking ground on any new undertaking, the business has been able to avoid scheduling issues and other challenges that can hold up a construction project. In turn, this emphasis on preconstruction services saves money for both MAS and its clients.

Staying ahead in a challenging market

With more than two decades of experience in the construction industry, Socci has come to understand what it takes to keep a business going throughout the ups and downs of the construction market. He started out by working with a few companies including Kiewit and Consigli, servings as a superintendent and a construction manager before setting out on his own.

“I learned a lot at Kiewit and Consigli that helped us maintain our market share in the downturn,” he recounts. “Throughout the recession, we were using a lot of scheduling and keeping tabs on cash flow. We wanted to be efficient and we were still able to bid a little bit more aggressively than some of our competitors. Fortunately, our state and the size of our company really just lined up on civil work.”

Early on in the company’s history, the market faltered in new construction building work so the company started to focus entirely on the heavy civil work, such as road, bridge and dam projects. At the peak of the recession, Socci added a group of experienced managers for the steel division.  The market for structural steel had remained strong while the remainder of the commercial construction market was extremely weak.

“I do see the economy moving in the right direction,” Socci notes. “There is always a need for infrastructure and people are beginning to realize there is a need for providing funding for it. There is political pressure now to make sure it is improved. With the growth of heavy civil projects, our steel division continues to grow as well.”

As this positive trend continues, Socci says his team still strives to keep costs down while providing high value for clients. His largest expenses as a business owner include labor, insurance and material costs. While public sector projects often require specific suppliers and strategic partners, the team takes advantage of any opportunity to build relationships with vendors that provide better value. By keeping a majority of labor in-house, the company increase cost efficiency further while maintaining a strong level of quality control.

A growing portfolio

By managing expenses and operations tightly, MAS has built lasting relationships with a number of state and municipal entities. These relationships continue to produce repeat business for the company. Over recent years, the team has been involved with a range of heavy civil contracts throughout Massachusetts and surrounding states.

One of the more memorable projects has been a contract with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. For this complex design-build bridge build project, Socci’s team had to completely remove and replace a bridge. “We only had six weeks to build the bridge over Route 24, so we had crews running 24 hours a day, six days a week,” he explains. “That was our first design-build project of this size, scope and complexity. Usually these projects are massive but it was of a size that we could work efficiently on.”

In 2012, the contractor took on a 75,000-square-foot structural steel project for Massport at Logan International Airport for the construction of the airport’s Green Bus Depot. The project had many obstacles including a short time frame, airport regulations and weather delays.

The crew continues to build a strong portfolio. Currently, MAS is working on a number of heavy and civil projects throughout the state as well as numerous structural steel projects. The lineup includes building roof reinforcing due to the unusually strong winter, solar panel support installations and traditional commercial building projects particularly at many of Massachusetts’ state and private colleges and universities.

Over the coming years, Socci is looking forward to the continued growth of his business. Through constant evolution, he still takes pride in his team’s ability to overcome unique challenges in all aspects of construction. “Honestly, my favorite aspects of the business have changed over the years,” he says. “I used to love to be a part of building dams and bridges. I hate to sub out all of the work and only managing these subs, so we like to be hands-on. Today however, I now appreciate learning the ways of building a business. And I have loved overcoming challenges and figuring out how to tackle the next ones.”

Through continued adaptation and a company culture of service, safety and efficiency, MAS Building & Bridge will continue to build up a diverse portfolio of heavy construction and structural steel services.

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