Meyer Najem Construction
- Written by: Jennifer Arvin and Patricia Pickett
- Produced by: Dave Gushee
- Estimated reading time: 7 mins
Karl Meyer and Anthony Najem established Meyer Najem Construction (MNC) in 1987 to offer high level construction services while providing an outstanding experience for construction consumers. “Our goal has always been to provide a differentiated service to our valued clients, maximizing repeat business opportunities, according to Co-Founder Karl Meyer.” Over the years, Meyer Najem has grown significantly. With a strong market presence in the Midwest, the company has expanded to serve a greater geographic footprint throughout the United States. With a headquarters in Fishers, Indiana, MNC also has satellite offices in Florida, Alabama, Colorado and Kansas.
Today, MNC employs over 90 people. A strong management team includes Sam Mishelow, the company’s chief strategy officer. Mishelow has been with the business for 15 years and works with his partners and business development teams to promote strategic growth throughout new regions and market sectors.
“We started as an Indiana-based company more than 27 years ago,” he explains. “We have experienced significant growth over the last few years which is consistent with our geographic expansion business plan. Our project delivery teams have developed a great deal of competency in several new and emerging markets. Our emphasis will remain on maintaining a high level of client satisfaction, while attracting and maintaining the top talent in the construction industry. “Regardless of our growth and geographic expansion, we will never compromise our emphasis on client satisfaction and project execution,” says Sam Mishelow. “We understand the building blocks of our success, and will not shortcut this process. Both the senior living and healthcare markets are strategic market sectors where the company’s expertise has expanded outside local markets including Colorado, Florida, Alabama, Kansas and Ohio. The next 18 months, Mishelow projects they will be involved in projects in half-a-dozen additional states. We want to sustain a controlled and deliberate pace as we grow our firm.”
MNC provides general contracting, construction management, design-build services for a wide range of predominant markets including long-term care, health care, life sciences, sporting facilities, government agencies and municipalities, higher education institutions, and the K-12 school market. Meyer Najem recently completed the construction of Grand Park, the nation’s largest outdoor sports complex for soccer and baseball.
A growing and diverse portfolio
Recent work includes a number of high-visibility projects. The health care market has seen huge growth in many of the company’s service areas. MNC’s track record for high-quality, efficient work has allowed the team to take on multiple VA Outpatient Centers.
Most recently, MNC finished up the Jacksonville VA Outpatient Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., in September 2012. Serving as construction manager on the at-risk, design-build project, the team constructed the 135,000-square-foot facility to LEED Silver certification standards. The company worked with many new subcontractors on the project, which was challenging, but empowered project managers to build new relationships based on trust and open communication.
The end project is a state-of-the-art healthcare center that will provide care to more veterans throughout the area than its predecessor. The VA has been able to substantially expand its range of services by incorporating more diagnostic equipment and bringing on a larger number of medical specialists to area Veterans.
Senior living is also a growing market for the business. In May 2013, the firm partnered with Mainstreet to complete work on the Wellbrooke of Westfield Center for Health and Wellness in Westfield, Ind. The 65,371-square-foot facility was a negotiated contract and architect, American Structurepoint, earned an Architectural National Award for the facility’s design. The facility features service-rich, assisted-living apartments, short-term rehabilitation care suites and long-term care suites. Residents will have access to a state-of-the-art rehabilitation gym, an outdoor courtyard, game rooms, big-screen movie theaters, a hair salon, as well as varied dining options.
As these and other markets gradually rebound after the recession, Mishelow and his team are ready to take on new opportunities in targeted market areas. “We have seen significant and sustained growth over the years and we are poised to continue that trend,” he explains. “We weathered the storm of the recession and have been growing in terms of volume and geographic expansion for the last few years.”
The team foresees a lively future. “We see ourselves getting more active in the life science and health sciences markets here in the Midwest,” he continues. “We also see the potential for opening additional offices. We have several new projects slated to begin in late 2014, and a growing backlog for 2015-2016.
With rapid expansion ongoing for MNC, Mishelow and his team continue to prioritize internal management. “Nothing trumps organizational health, says Mishelow.” A motivated and rewarded workforce is a wonderful example of a powerful competitive advantage. The company has several programs that keep projects moving smoothly and efficiently while protecting employees, subcontractors and clients. The team’s safety program is a leader in the industry and MNC has won the Crystal Eagle Award, the highest level of recognition for project safety and execution by the Metro Indianapolis Coalition of Construction Safety .
Ensuring client satisfaction
On top of that, MNC strives for complete customer satisfaction. Mishelow and his team execute each project knowing that the company is only as good as its last job. Client satisfaction is paramount and has allowed the business to grow while working with several repeat customers over the years. While things are evolving at Meyer Najem Construction, clients and partners can continue to count on the team’s dedication, hard work and consistency.
With those opportunities come some challenges, says John Morand, the superintendent for the Jacksonville project who headed back to Florida earlier this spring to oversee a second project in Tallahassee.
“We did not know many of the subcontractors. Different cities/regions have different ways of dividing the work between different trades, so you need to learn and understand that and then figure out how to adjust either the way they work or the way we manage to accomplish the construction of the building,” Morand says. “You have to build trust and respect.”
Brian Roberts, Superintendent concurs that those relationships with subcontractors are paramount to the success of any project.
“Every opportunity we have to get to know new trade contractors a chance to inform them of our expectations and build trust. It is critical that these meetings are informative and professional. We know what we expect, and our challenge will be to inform the subcontractors what our priorities will be during construction,” Roberts explains. “Communication is the key to ensuring that Meyer Najem’s best practices are supported.”
Also added to the learning curve is finding reliable suppliers who carry comparable materials. “There are some materials I purchase as a superintendent in our local market and I just pick up the phone and call them,” says Morand. “When you are out of town, you need to find a new supplier. In some cases that region is unfamiliar with the material you require.”
“In the Midwest precast panels are common; in the Western United States, tilt wall buildings are the norm. Understanding the soils report becomes very important in a new region,” he says.
For Andrew Habel, senior project manager for the Jacksonville VA project, ensuring the “Meyer Najem Way” is of the utmost priority.
“Our people are trained on the ‘Meyer Najem Way’, and a ‘Client for Life model’. This includes the way we run meetings, our proactive approaches in preconstruction, and our delivery of construction safely and high quality,” says Habel. “We create a team atmosphere on our projects that include not only the owners and architects with whom we work, but also the subcontractors. The old adage of ‘it takes a village’ applies to the construction of every one of our projects.”
Ensuring employee satisfaction
Habel finds face-to-face contact the best way to work on a construction team, and finds Meyer Najem has addressed most of those challenges with very workable solutions.
For Morand, working on these projects requires both finding a realistic balance between family and work as well as just proactively planning for the unexpected.
“There are perks to working out of town, not the least of which is the learning experience that comes with it. For Habel, learning the nuances of each municipality has proven valuable; for Morand, it’s seeing a new approach that has made the biggest impression.
“I have seen how other construction professionals approach a challenge and have learned a couple of new ways to do things that I had not seen in Indiana,” says Morand.
Our home office does a great job maintaining employee continuity regardless of where your job is located.
It just makes sense
“Geographic expansion is a key ingredient in supporting our existing customers,” Morand says. “Since relationships are a key part of our culture, we need to do whatever we need to do to keep our customers happy and profitable.”
“The most exciting thing I am witnessing is our firm’s progress in expanding to new markets,” says Roberts. “While serving our clients’ needs, we find we can favorably compete with some of the Goliaths of the construction industry. I believe Meyer Najem will find that being a safety-first, quality-first, schedule-driven company is what all clients seek. Noting that our firms’ strong sense of social consciousness is what our employees have come to expect. Giving back to the communities we serve has always been an important Meyer Najem mission.
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