Rabren General Contractors Inc.
Rabren General Contractors Inc. (RGC) was founded in 2000 as a small construction business in Auburn, Ala. Brothers Mike and Travis Rabren built the business on a shared vision, to provide quality construction services while emulating the values they grew up with. RGC follows the golden rule, treating customers, partners and suppliers with respect, honesty and attention, and applying hard work with attention to detail on every project.
Tragically, Travis passed away; however, Mike, president of RGC, continues the family tradition today with brother Matt Rabren, vice president of RGC. “Travis passed away in 2008,” Mike explains. “Matt joined in 2003 and now he and I own the business together.”
The business started on a small scale, providing municipal services and residential remodel work in the area. Today, RGC’s clients include a number of government agencies, schools and private businesses. By following industry trends and maintaining a focus on innovation and integrity, the business has grown exponentially over the last 13 years. Mike and Matt share decades of experience, allowing the duo to guide the RGC crew through a number of unique and complex projects.
“I have been in the industry for over 20 years,” Mike continues. “I was doing residential and light commercial work before we got started. Travis was working and living in Jackson, Miss., when I called him up and asked if he wanted to start a business together. We are a family-owned business and we try to hire locally. We self-perform our concrete work. Matt and I are very involved with day-to-day operations. We employ around 100 people and we work all throughout Alabama from our office in Auburn.”
RGC has built a strong niche in school construction across the region. Lately, Mike explains that most of his team’s work has been with regional universities. “We just finished a $62 million football stadium for Alabama State University,” he says. “We were general contractor for that project. We finished it up in November last year and they played a game that month. We worked on Alabama State’s campus from 2007 to 2012. We have been on the Auburn University campus for close to 10 years.”
The company is currently working at the University of West Alabama, renovating an old high school the administration purchased from the county school district. “The finished project will be offices and classrooms,” explains Mike. “We have been there for three or four months now and we will be finishing up next year. We also have a few projects going on at Auburn University, including a new veterinary school. The entire project is broken up into a series of construction management jobs. I think we have about six more months there.”
The company’s project in the educational sector keeps the team busy and Mike notes it is rewarding work. “Just knowing we have these projects on these campuses is something we are very proud of,” he explains. “We are involved in the construction of educational buildings that will be around for years and years. It makes it all worth the challenges. In the hard bid market, it has been difficult in the last few years or so to find subcontractors and vendors who are able to produce on our level or supply materials in a timely manner.”
A Shifting Market
While competition is tough and the market is undergoing a slow turnaround, RGC has a number of loyal subcontractors who keep projects going and share the brothers’ values. “We sub out a lot of finish and specialty trades,” Mike notes, “Like roofers and painters. Some of these people are those we have worked with for years. Our relationships with quality subs are an important part of our business.”
The company values relationships across the board, not just outside of the business. “Our sustainability as a company relies on our employees,” Mike continues. “We want to retain employees and key management. Our profit margins have been stable and we own all of our own equipment, which keeps costs under control.” As the economy recovers, RGC is headed in a direction of growth with a steady influx of work down the pipeline.
The crew maintains the advantage of experience in the business, a factor that attracts repeat clients and customers with challenging project needs. With a solid foundation of leadership and an impressive portfolio, Mike, Matt and the team are looking ahead to growth and changes in the business.
“We are trying to diversify and get into some negotiated type work,” Mike explains. “We are at an age where we have done enough projects we can grab attention and head that way.” As the gradual recovery continues and more private money opens up, Rabren General Contractors Inc. will continue to offer leading services backed up with honesty, fairness and a strong sense of responsibility.
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