Ollier Masonry Inc.
Jeff Ollier founded Ollier Masonry Inc. (OMI) in 1976 as a small-scale builder in Indiana. When the business first opened its doors, OMI worked with homebuilders, putting in foundations for modular houses around Batesville, Ind. To this day, the company is still family-owned and -operated, as Jeff’s wife Mary acts as owner and president, working closely with project manager, Paul Oldham.
Oldham has been in the construction business for over 20 years; his degree in engineering, as well as experience working with regional contractors, has afforded him the ability to take on a strong leadership role in OMI’s projects. He has been with the business for seven years and now leads a handful of the 50 experienced employees on unique works sites with differing challenges. Paul and his colleagues work within a one-hour radius of the company’s single office and yard in Batesville.
“In the 1990s,” Paul explains, “We grew more into the commercial side of construction. We started with a local McDonald’s. In the last few decades, we have moved more into commercial and industrial work. We specialize in more complex and difficult projects. We do high-end projects that aren’t quite as cookie-cutter. Our service is what sets us apart from other, similar companies. Our biggest concern is that our customer is happy with our work at the end of the day. We provide solutions, not problems.”
As time goes on, the construction industry is changing rapidly. Today, OMI is taking an increasingly technological approach to masonry. “We use 3-D modeling and other programs for design,” Paul notes. “That’s a huge change from how things used to be. Keeping up on changing technology and methods allows us to stay competitive.” By staying ahead of the curve, OMI continues to pick up difficult projects.
Over the years, the team has been involved in a number of complicated regional builds. “They are all different,” says Paul. “Often our challenges on-site involve working on high-rises or with limited prep spaces. We do a lot of work in Cincinnati at the Children’s Hospital. Right now, the company is finishing up Location S, which is a 12-story building. We were recently awarded Location 2, which is three more floors. It is all brick and block work. Last year we did the new casino in Cincinnati, where we installed 43,000 square feet of precast panels that mimic stone.”
The team performs everything in-house, except for caulking. With the few subcontractors necessary, as well as suppliers, Paul says relationships are a priority. Longstanding partnerships with materials providers allow OMI to maintain control over quality and consistent pricing. In turn, the company is able to provide cost effective and efficient services to clients who often turn to OMI again when they need more work done.
Thriving in a Changing Market
Even throughout the downturn, OMI has remained in a pattern of growth. “Throughout the last seven or so years, we have added new equipment and personnel,” Paul elaborates. “Being able to adapt has given us an advantage. We have done quite a bit of public work and some of the more cookie cutter projects just to get through. We do not typically do much work with schools, but when that is all there is, then that is what we will do.”
OMI is still in the green, which is where Paul says his team will likely stay. “I think we will stay on the same track we are on for the next few years,” he says. “The economy and politics play their part, but we do what we can with what we have control over.”
Even in the rougher economy, OMI delivers award-worthy work. In the last 10 years, the company has been the recipient of several recognitions for quality performance on challenging projects. Recent awards include the 2007 Merit Design Award for residential project, Captain’s Watch, from the Tri-State Masonry Institute, the 2006 Merit Award for commercial design work on the Stratford Center, from the Ohio Concrete Masonry Association and the 2005 Merit Design Award for multifamily residential project, Stratford Heights, also from the Tri-State Masonry Institute.
Paul and his team appreciate the recognition, but he says the work itself is rewarding on its own. “The people on the street see what you do for many years,” he explains. “Our work stands the test of time. There is a huge satisfaction in that.” As the years go by, Paul and his crew will continue to contribute to the region’s architectural context as Ollier Masonry Inc. grows steadily amongst regional commercial clients.
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