Case Studies

Professional Contractors & Engineers Inc.

A Legacy of Vision, Innovation & Value

Professional Contractors & Engineers Inc. (PCE) has been providing mid-Missouri with the commercial construction services essential to economic development for over 20 years, while drawing on a legacy of experience and hard work ethics that extend almost 100 years.

“We have been around, through various corporate iterations, since 1912 when my grandfather started a commercial contracting business,” explains W. Craig Simon, president/CEO of PCE, which emerged in 1989 from a restructuring of B.D. Simon Construction. “These days we work exclusively for commercial clients within a 60- to 90-mile radius of Columbia [Mo.].”

Now in its third generation of family ownership, the company takes pride in having played a part in the development of Columbia, having applied its understanding of expediting plans completion, permit approval and construction to projects ranging from banks, educational institutions and industrial complexes to places of worship and healthcare centers. “We don’t specialize in any one area of commercial work,” asserts Simon. “We will take on any kind of work, including smaller-scale renovations and historical restorations.”

PCE offers optimum construction solutions delivered through the design-build method, as well as more traditional construction partnering capabilities, construction management and building services.

Branching Out

Having worked in construction for the large majority of his life, Simon understands well how critical the management of a team can be to the success of the project and the company. PCE self-performs the concrete work, hardware and any specialty items, but for the most part subs out the bulk of trades, and not always to the same group of subcontractors. For this reason PCE emphasizes teamwork between owner and architect, project managers, field superintendents and construction crews.

“Hopefully they manage themselves, but it is a key part of being a general contractor that you effectively communicate your expectations and the needs of the project,” explains Simon. “At the end of the day you are responsible for their performance and so we spend a lot of time and effort making sure they will be able to keep up.”

This consummate approach has resulted in PCE being selected for some showcase projects in the communities it serves. “We are starting to see historical conservation gain more popularity in this area, and we recently completed work at the Commerce Bank here in Columbia,” says Simon.

The Commerce Bank is housed in the historic Haden Building, which has served as a home for various financial institutions since it was completed in 1921. In 2009, Commerce Bank began a lengthy process to restore the original white terra cotta exterior and refit the interior to better serve the needs of a modern bank, garnering it widespread acclaim from the Columbia Historical Preservation Society among other local organizations.

More recently the firm has been applying its strengths to construct a new regional catholic high school, with an ambitious completion schedule. “We’ve worked at the new Father Tolton Regional Catholic High School right now that they set to open in fall for the school year,” explains Simon. The new school was said to cost the diocese $14.3 million but was expected to finish 20-percent below original cost projections. The completed structure accommodates up to 250 9th and 10th grade students and incorporates 11 total classrooms, with two science classrooms, space for art and music classrooms, and, eventually, a state-of-the-art gymnasium complete with a weight room, two cross courts and locker facilities.

Essential Economic Experience

As tough as the economy has been, PCE is obviously still finding ways to keep its employees busy. This has been assisted by the company injecting projects with pride, consistency and efficiency to add value for its established customers.

“There is not nearly as much private work available, which typically accounts for a large component of our workload,” says Simon. “Instead of branching into public sector or federal work, we have instead chosen to look for ways to service our existing client base. The large projects are not really available at the moment and we really value the relationships we have with our clients so we are happy to take on more maintenance type work and smaller projects.”

In the coming years, the firm will be preparing for an eventual upturn in the economy and looking for ways to increase productivity. “I don’t think the economy can get any worse,” admits Simon. “A year ago, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who was willing to feel optimistic about the direction of the economy, but these days we are starting to see some improvements, and at least locally things seems to be getting better. When the work does start coming in again, our biggest challenge will be to find the qualified people to do the work, but for now we will be looking for more ways to increase our efficiency and continue to take care of our clients.”

Contributing landmark buildings that will stand the test of time to its communities, Professional Contractors & Engineers Inc. is primed to continue partnering with clients to offer a wide range of architectural and structural solutions.

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Spring 2018



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