Case Studies

Meyer Najem

Company culture drives success for a leading Midwestern contractor

Since 1987 Meyer Najem has been providing professional construction services to clients throughout the Midwest and across the country. Founded by Karl Meyer and Anthony Najem as a value-added construction company, Meyer Najem is defined by a unique commitment to teamwork and proactive project management.

A full-service general contractor, Meyer Najem offers a range of construction services including construction management, pre-construction, design-build, general contracting and tenant finish. The company has developed an expertise in a range of industry sectors, from commercial and municipal projects to K-12 and higher education, healthcare and senior living.

Meyer Najem Arts Crawl Event

New facility aids in recruitment

The last few years have marked a period of sustained growth for the company, with Meyer Najem moving into a new 40,000-square-foot headquarters in early 2015. Located in Fishers, Indiana, the new facility will provide a truly differentiated work environment for the company’s 100 employees.

“Our goal has always been to be an ‘employer of choice’ and to do this we felt that it was important to give our employees a first class work space with the tools and resources they needed to be successful,” says Nate Lelle, executive vice president at Meyer Najem.

Driven by the belief that there is a very close correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, Meyer Najem sees the $6-million facility as an investment not only in the company, but in its employees as well. “Our investment in our team members has always produced valuable returns for the firm through our ability to both attract and retain the top talent in the marketplace” Lelle says.

This commitment to employee satisfaction has been recognized by the local business community, with Meyer Najem earning “Top Workplace” honors for the last nine years from The Indianapolis Star. “This culture produces the foundation for our growth and ability to weather fluctuations in the marketplace. In order to deliver and sustain this culture of excellence, it takes an engaged and committed workforce and this is what makes Meyer Najem shine,” he says.

Meyer Najem has also earned a nod from Engineering News & Record in 2015, which named it one of the Top Regional Contractors, as well as recognition from the Indiana Subcontractors Association. “In both 2014 and 2015 Meyer Najem was included in the short list of top general contractors and their annual GC of the Year awards banquet is one of the largest gatherings of contractors and subcontractors in the state,” Lelle says.

An emphasis on company culture

With a solid reputation and a wealth of awards to back it up, Meyer Najem has been able to attract some new top-tier clients in recent years. These include Notre Dame University, Hamilton County Judicial Center, Kokomo Municipal Baseball Stadium and the Community Health Network Cancer Center. In total, these projects represent a $130 million addition to the company’s growing backlog.

“Our growth has been steady and calculated as our firm has risen to one of the largest Midwest contractors,” says Lelle. “Our primary goal has been is to provide a construction experience for our growing client list that is truly differentiated and our project teams are clearly focused upon the most favorable outcome for our clients, thereby maximizing repeat opportunities to serve our clients.”

As the company approaches the three-decade mark, Lelle says the definition of success has shifted to include more of a focus on developing and maintaining a healthy company culture. “Corporate success is measured in a variety of ways other than the obvious financial benchmarks. Actually, financial success is only achieved through a holistic approach to maintaining a corporate culture that encourages and rewards employee performance,” he says.

Citing the famous “culture eats strategy for breakfast” quote from management consultant Peter Drucker, Lelle says that employee satisfaction has never been more relevant than in today’s evolving labor market.

“The competition for talent will continue to get worse before it gets better, and high performing employees have choices where they want invest their careers,” he says. “Other than getting a paycheck, what differentiates employers?  I’m certainly no expert, but I would say that corporate culture is the key. Employees want to work for a firm that satisfies its clients, is well-respected in the community, and has a strong sense of giving back to the community.”

Leadership is also an important factor in the success of any business and Meyer Najem holds regular leadership development and training seminars to drive that point home. “Our continued success is dependent upon our engaged workforce and the quality of our leadership,” he says.

Preparing for the future through education and innovation

Looking ahead, Lelle sees three initiatives as being critical to the general contractor’s continued success. The first is career path development, with the company establishing the first phase of its Meyer Najem University (NMU) project in early 2016 after three years of planning and preparation.

“Simply stated, MNU is an employee specific career path training and development program. This will focus significantly on the development of job specific technical skills, but also upon personal development as well as leadership development,” Lelle says.

The company is also looking to integrate more project management software and technology into its process, implementing the use of Procore software and expanding its tablet computing program for field staff.

Meyer Najem is also committed to developing new and emerging markets where the firm can leverage its resume and technical strength to help extend its geographical footprint. “The development of new markets is crucial as many of the current markets producing our current revenue stream may decline in the near future. Innovation in our project mix needs to happen continually as we refine our project execution strategies for new clients in the future. Our teams continue to research methods to solve project based problems for clients, giving us the tools to sustain profitable growth,” he says.

A commitment to company culture coupled with an increased focus on technology and an ever-expanding presence should ensure success well into the future for general contractor Meyer Najem.

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