In 2013, Jason Petras and Shea Johnson established MPGroup LLC (MPG) with the goal of providing integrated back-of-house services to help contractors do more with less. “We only started the company about 18 months ago, so this is a fairly new entity,” Petras explains. “There are just two of us right now. Shea and I worked together at the same company prior to starting this company.”
Both partners come from a background in construction management and have experience working with government contracts. This expertise carries over to the new business as Petras and Johnson work to foster growing relationships between contractors and government project owners.
Petras is a CPA and worked in finance, strategic business development and bonding in the residential and commercial markets before co-founding the company. The duo complements one another, as Johnson, who was recently named the 2014 Member of the Year by the Society of Military Engineers Dallas Post, has worked in business development, communications, sales and contract bidding.
“We realized we could help other general contractors and specialty contractors that are good at what they do, but don’t have the infrastructure to take care of all the back office needs for the government sector of this market,” Johnson explains. “We saw a niche out there with the skill sets we have. Our biggest advocates are the bonding and insurance companies. We run projects for companies; we basically solve problems on the back end so that the contractors we work with can focus on what they do best: building things.”
MPG serves as a reliable partner for companies looking to grow, particularly in the public sector. Clients include general and specialty contractors throughout the country. The business provides a complete package with the resources and capabilities to take on a range of tasks from bonding to estimating. This set of services has helped companies to double revenue over the course of a year and launch contractors to enviable positions within the public construction market.
Working on the state level, Johnson and Petras recently worked with a contractor with the state historical agency. The duo notes that one of the biggest challenges for this agency has been project location.
“We worked with a mid-sized general contractor to bid a recent project and we assisted with bonding, insurance requirements and estimating,” explains Johnson. “They were awarded the project, which started in October 2014. This is a $1.2 million renovation of a state historic site and it is the third project we have worked on and won with the agency. We have created working relationships between the agency and three different construction companies.”
Johnson goes on to note that MPG worked with a smaller general contractor. “We helped them go from doing $25,000 government projects to $2 million government renovation projects,” he clarifies. “If a company can build a widget, they build the widget and we handle everything else. That’s the paperwork, politics, interactions with architects and we serve as a project manager for the government. Meanwhile, these contractors can focus on doing what they do best – the actual construction.”
MPGroup is currently working with a small, service disabled veteran-owned (SDV) company. Johnson and Petras are helping the business build up capabilities in the public sector, starting small and getting bigger.
“We just finished up a project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) with them and we are now doing a Department of Veterans Affairs project,” Johnson notes. “We recently found out that the SDV will be awarded a construction project for the USACE out of Detroit, with the actual project in Minnesota. This project is taking this contractor from working just in Texas to a nationwide footprint.”
The business is also certified to help with safety and quality management. “We have OSHA 30 certification and then Construction Quality Management (CQM) Training through the USACE,” Johnson adds. “What we try to do is treat these relationships like an annuity. We want to work with them year after year. ”
A majority of clients seek help in the public sector and MPG has successfully aided many in obtaining and managing government contracts with the FAA, Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, VA, and several different Texas state agencies. Johnson and Petras offer services that can benefit companies working in the private sector, as well, although Johnson clarifies, “We find companies in the private sector don’t tend to need as much of this type of assistance.”
Looking ahead, MPG continues to build relationships across the country. The business recently partnered with a contractor in Washington that will be the company’s largest by-revenue client yet. As construction markets across the country continue to improve, Johnson and Petras are making new connections, often through their own clients.
Contractors find MPGroup LLC to be a strong resource, continuing to take advantage of Johnson and Petras’ skills to boost the capabilities of their companies.
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