Case Studies

The Monahan Company

Solidifying Relationships

Edward V. Monahan founded The Monahan Company (Monahan) in 1922 during the height of Detroit’s construction boom. After 90 years of quality construction service, Monahan remains a family-owned business with nine family members currently leading the team.

“I’m among the third generation of Monahans,” explains Michael P. Monahan, controller at Monahan. “My grandfather had four sons who ran the business from the ’40s to the mid-’90s. Now we have seven of their sons running the business, with two of our children working with us.”

Michael P. works alongside cousin Michael J. Monahan, president of Monahan, to keep the business running smoothly. Out of the nine family members working at Monahan, seven are principals.The Monahan Company

“We’re a general contractor and construction management company,” explains Michael P. “In the ’40s and ’50s my father and his brothers built many of the churches for the Archdiocese in Detroit.”

The family enjoys working close to home, but willingly travels at the request of existing clients and for the right opportunity. Over the past several decades, the majority of Monahan’s business has been in southeast Michigan, specifically around the greater Detroit area. However, the team has performed projects throughout Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well.

“Later, in the ’60s and ’70s, we worked on a lot of healthcare projects,” continues Michael P. “Now we’re doing schools, nursing homes, auto dealerships, churches, mixed-use developments, loft conversions and other private contract projects. We guarantee that a Monahan will be running each project. We’ve maintained and expanded our customer base and we are fortunate to have great relationships with our subcontractors. We’ve managed to survive some hard times here in Detroit.”

Consistent Quality in Management

Monahan employs upward of 30 people at a single location in Eastpointe, Mich., allowing the team to work closely with many reliable subcontractors in the region. “On these projects, for the most part, we’re subcontracting the work,” explains Michael P. “Maintaining relationships is the most important part of this business. The reason we tend to shy away from public work is because we like to have a short bid list or a negotiated general contractor setup.”

Teamwork has proven reliable, as the team at Monahan established a broad portfolio of impressive projects. “Our niche rotates,” says Michael P. “There is a lot going on in Detroit’s midtown and downtown areas. We have been fortunate to be quite active there lately, including nearly a dozen projects in various stages of preconstruction and construction.”

This area’s projects typically include commercial work. However, Monahan has also completed several projects in the last few years for educational institutions, healthcare facilities, residential clients and large corporations among others.

“We just finished up a new charter school called Voyager Academy in Detroit,” says Michael P. Monahan was involved with the project from the ground up, working with the client, engineers and architects to construct a new building. “They just moved in this fall,” continues Michael P. “The building is really old school, but in a green way. It’s all masonry and it has a green roof.” The project took approximately 12 months to complete, and the Monahan team was proud to be a part of it.

Adapting to a Changing Market

Monahan has seen many economic ups and downs over the years. The company weathered the Great Depression, several wars, fuel crises and other economic hardships. The recent recession brought challenges to Monahan and the rest of the construction industry, but the Monahan family was well-equipped. “We retained all of our employees,” says Michael P. “And when the work did hit, we were ready for it. We have very skilled project managers and superintendents.”

The secret to Monahan’s longevity lies within building strong relationships with suppliers, subcontractors and customers, especially. A steady influx of work through repeat business and recommendations has allowed Monahan to build a buffer and absorb the effects of slow business. “Customer satisfaction is our biggest indicator of success,” says Michael P. with a smile. “If you upset customers you won’t survive very long in this business. Our phone rings on a regular basis without a tremendous emphasis on formal marketing.”

Michael P. expects the market and the family business to keep improving as time goes on. “I think our volume will trend higher than it has been historically in the next few years,” he says. “There will be a lot of work in the downtown and Midtown areas of Detroit. The industry is on the rise, too. There is a lot going on. A lot of it has some sense of public money in it, reaching several different sectors. The private work is starting to trickle in, as well.”

Monahan is one of the country’s oldest successful construction management businesses, and the team adheres to the founding values laid down by Edward V. Monahan nearly a century ago. History, integrity, quality and stability continue to be the driving principles behind Monahan to this day. It is clear that The Monahan Company will continue the tradition of quality service in complex endeavors for generations to come.

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Spring 2018



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