Case Studies

MP Masonry Inc.

Building lasting impressions in New England

John Murray has always had an eye for the right business opportunity. In 1986, he founded Masonry Plus, a diverse commercial masonry business. John was unexpectedly called back home to Ireland for personal reasons in 2001, however, he restructured the business into MP Masonry Inc. (MP) and was forced to put his business goals on hold.

In 2011, he made a comeback. John rejoined MP as the majority owner, and became the president and CEO. John serves alongside his partner, Keith Comerford, who had purchased partial ownership when John first restructured the company.

“We have been very profitable since we changed ownership in 2011,” explains Rob Slowik, CFO of MP. “The last two or so years have gone really well. We have changed our strategic direction, and have moved away from much of the commoditized large retail box stores. Many of these large low-profit margin projects hold 10 percent retainage often in excess of one year. It’s very challenging to run and grow a profitable business when these projects were generating negative cash flow.”

Standing apart from other contractors

The years leading up to the ownership turnaround were admittedly difficult for MP; the 2008 recession resulted in MP’s sales being cut by over 50 percent. The current leadership has worked hard to get the team back on track for growth. “One thing that sets us apart coming into this changeover is our knowledge base,” Keith notes. “We have an exceptional amount of talent and experience in our company.”

Many projects inherited from before the restructure remained unfinished when John returned and Rob joined the business. “In spite of that, we’ve done well on a financial level,” Rob elaborates. “Most of the projects that we inherited were losses, but we finished all of them with the same determination to leave behind exceptional work and satisfied customers. One of those projects, the St. Sebastian’s School New Science and Math Center in Needham, Mass., earned MP a Performance award from the Association of Commercial and Institutional Builders for exceptional work. It was important to honor our obligations and satisfy our customers regardless of profit or loss.”

MP has also recently been recognized by general contractor Clancy & Theys Construction Company for Outstanding Performance at the Dollar Tree Distribution Center in Windsor, Conn.

Now, the crew is building a strong portfolio of projects around the company headquarters in Norfolk, Mass., and throughout New England. The team is in the process of completing a major restoration for a project called 267 Medford Street where MP worked closely with the Boston Recreational & Parks Department to complete a 100 percent repoint on the exterior and many renovations on the interior. MP is also building the premier Market Basket supermarket in Waltham, Mass., at the old Polaroid site, a new building for Brown University in Providence, R.I., as well as many other projects.

A strong future

Many of the obstacles to the company’s growth were directly related to the economic downturn. “This company’s revenue took a nosedive with the 2008 recession,” Rob explains. “We’ve worked hard to choose projects which align with our strategic objective, and we currently have a healthy backlog. Our restructuring and experience has allowed us to ride out the economic hard times, Currently, we have over 70 employees, and are expected to hire more people this year.”

Diverse capabilities and leading experience continue to prove to be an advantage for MP, and clients can trust the team to be thorough and professional on each site. Crew members have proven reliable through a broad range of projects both before and after the restructure, working in several sectors, including retail, education, manufacturing and restoration. MP offers services that include installation of brick, paver, glass block, CMU and stone, as well as restoration, caulking and waterproofing.

“We are really proud of the company environment we have here,” Rob says. “We have diverse professionals on board and we very much embrace a team mentality. We’ve also partnered with Youth Build Boston on the Rutherford Landing Project in Charlestown to provide opportunities to empower and assist under-served young people from the Boston area with the essential social, vocational, academic and life skills necessary to navigate a positive pathway to self-sufficiency and neighborhood responsibility.”

Rob goes on to note that, at least regionally, the recovery seems to be underway. The team has seen an increase in opportunities for work around New England and the surrounding areas. With strong leadership, experienced staff and an unbeatable reputation for excellence, MP Masonry Inc. will continue to rise to the occasion and deliver the quality that customers have come to expect.

Published on: November 10, 2014

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