MP Johnson Construction Inc.
Since 1988 MP Johnson Construction Inc. has upheld a reputation for quality in commercial building throughout Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The Twin Cities-based contractor is family-owned and -operated, established by Mike Johnson who still oversees a broad portfolio of commercial projects alongside his son, Zac Johnson, project manager and Max Roemhild, project manager, who together have over 30 years’ experience at MP Johnson Construction.
Working together to achieve customer satisfaction and praise has been a running theme for the business since inception. MP Johnson’s core group of approximately 35 field personnel work together as a band of brothers. The business tends to hire professionals in its existing employees’ networks. All share a passion for building and a majority are lifelong carpenters.
“Hiring from within ensures that everyone who works here is connected — and that’s much different than hiring only from the bench, shuffling a stranger in and out,” says Zac. “Most of our employees have been here over 20 years, including all of our supervisors. And we’ve continued to pick up dedicated people over the years.”
Those connections, he explains, create a family-like atmosphere. The dedication managers and employees have for the business and on-site performance rubs off onto new hires. “We’re all carpenters at heart — we do it on the weekends,” Zac adds. “It’s rare when the owner is next to you hanging sheetrock on a Saturday or putting bar tops down. They often have to drag us back to office because we would rather be on the jobsite using our hands; we love this stuff!”
MP Johnson brings a wealth of experience to the table. While the company’s current workload consists of primarily remodeling and renovation work, the team also puts its name on a host of new construction projects. Offices buildings, high-rises, hotels, restaurants, bars and retail all fall under MP Johnson’s scope of high-quality commercial construction projects.
The company recently wrapped up work on a project for Barr Engineering: a complete remodel of 156,000 square feet of office space. “We turned 3.5 massive floors into a fluid, connected space,” says Mike. “That was a fun, sizeable job.”
Another notable project was for Canadian Pacific (CP) Rail, for which MP Johnson renovated five floors totaling 70,000 square feet in what is now the notable 28-story CP Plaza in Minneapolis. One of the more unusual aspects of the project was the central controls hub, a unique undertaking. “That’s really the brain of the operation,” Zac elaborates. “The brand-new space encompasses all the controls, computers and databanks for the rail system. It acts almost as an air traffic control center, but with trains. In addition, we created unique office space, conference rooms, and common area.”
Hospitality is a growing sector for the business, which has a strong track record for bars, restaurants and hotel projects. “We’ve probably done more bar projects than any other general contractor in the city,” says Zac. “People got a glimpse of the bars and restaurants we’ve done and now we’re the go-to contractor for remodeling pubs. We’ve done Kieran’s Irish Pub, Morrissey’s Irish Pub, Muddy Waters Bar & Eatery, Coopers, and a few new ones we finished are Dark Horse in Saint Paul, Skywater at Hilton and FireLake Grill House at the Radisson.”
Alongside bar and restaurant projects, MP Johnson has established a strong niche in hotel work. The firm remodels accommodations from the ground up, including guest rooms, meeting rooms, lobbies, restaurants and other amenities. In the Twin Cities, MP Johnson’s hotel profile includes Radisson Blue, Hyatt, Hilton, Crown Plaza hotel, Loews Hotel and the Marquette Hotel.
Maintaining a market presence
A common theme between all of MP Johnson’s projects is customer satisfaction, achieved by maintaining lasting relationships with subcontractors, pursuing top in-house talent and developing forward-thinking logistics on each and every job site.
In the case of hotels, MP Johnson generates repeat business with hospitality management through performance. The company does not seek one-offs, instead opting to stand out by planning projects selectively in order to allow hotels to maintain occupancy throughout a remodel.
“We keep a hotel as highly occupied as possible for remodel jobs,” Zac notes. “We do four floors at a time and follow ourselves all the way down. We knock out floors fast as we can so management can rent rooms within a day of us being done.” And in a market where hotels remodel every five or so years, sustained occupancy is a major selling point for a project owner.
This high level of organization within the company meshes well when it comes to working with subcontractors. Though the team self-performs carpentry, MP Johnson maintains long-term relationships with strategic partners and ties operations together using cutting-edge software.
MP Johnson recently upgraded to Sage Contracting, a project management program that connects supervisors and laborers in the field to in-office management, clients and other partners — accessible via any device that connects to the Internet. “We can run the whole project through Sage and everyone can see updates, photos and status, start to finish,” explains Zac. “We can open a chat room where architects, subs and tenants alike can see or ask questions, give input and make sure things are happening promptly the way they want them. If there is a change to be made, it’s all out there, everyone can see it all the time.”
With new technology in place, the team is better connected than ever, adding efficiencies to complex construction projects. In the Twin Cities construction market, those capabilities set MP Johnson Construction Inc. ahead of the competition.
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