Case Studies

Russell Construction Inc.

Taking a Creative Approach to Customer Service

Norman Russell started Russell Construction Inc. (RCI) in 1988 to change the way the construction industry approached customer service. “Our attitude has always been to approach customers that have challenging requests with an open mind, so we can actually help work through the process and accommodate those needs,” asserts Russell, president of RCI. Today, the company serves clients across commercial, institutional and industrial market sectors with extensive experience in high-end tenant improvements. RCI operates from a head office in Tualatin, Ore., and a satellite office in Moses Lake, Wash., providing clients with creative solutions and responsive service on every project.

Tenant improvements account for much of RCI’s volume, but the company is capable of contributing its design-build services and construction management expertise to projects of any size or scope, living up to its motto of ‘building dreams’. RCI even supports clients around the clock with an emergency response team through its subsidiary, Russell Restoration LLC (RRLLC). In the event of a disaster, RCI can send an experienced crew complete with state-of-the-art equipment to stop damage from spreading and help get the facility back in shape as soon as possible.

No matter the project requirements, RCI professionals get the ball rolling with pre-construction services to plan ahead, avoid delays and address logistical challenges head on that enable clients to achieve their goals. As a result, RCI’s value-added approach turns customers into long-term clients and the company continues to rank among the top 100 contractors in the Pacific Northwest, according to Northwest Construction magazine.

Making Dreams Reality

In 2008, RCI was selected to expand and renovate the Royal Oaks Country Club in Vancouver, Wash. “Our competition insisted that the club would have to shut down for at least four months, but we worked with the customer to make sure that the club not only stayed open, but didn’t miss a single event or even a single meal,” beams Russell. The projects entirety included a brand new Pro Shop, an additional golf equipment storage space and RCI even renovated approximately 20,000 square feet of clubhouse space.

In total, the project lasted 11 months, but RCI went the extra mile to coordinate logistics and schedule work around clubhouse operations. “It was challenging because we weren’t just trying to please one client. We were trying to please all 540 club members,” admits Russell. Once work wrapped up though, club members agreed that the club experience was transformed. The building’s original flat roof was replaced with a peaked gabled roof and the outdoor patio was revamped with stamped concrete.

In summer 2011, RCI crews wrapped up work on a 12,000-square foot retail space in Moses Lake, Wash., for repeat client ASPI Group. This is the fourth location that RCI has completed for ASPI and the team successfully designed a facility that could accommodate the utility needs of just about any business, even a laundromat. Once the retail building was completed, ASPI signed a contract with RCI to build a 50,000-square foot warehouse, which RCI is in the process of racing winter to complete.

In 2010, the RCI team played an integral role in challenging the economic status quo. Oregon Iron Works (OIW) has been a client of RCI for numerous projects and most recently the company completed a new streetcar maintenance facility. The building itself is innocuous enough, but it symbolizes the strides the OIW has made in reestablishing a virile manufacturing operation in the United States. OIW has typically been recognized as a leading manufacturer of complex steel and metal parts for industries across all market sectors from aerospace to renewable energy.

In 2006, though OIW stuck its neck out and formed United Streetcar, it subsequently became the first domestic company to manufacture a streetcar since 1952. In the years following, United Streetcar landed contracts to supply its streetcars to numerous departments of transportation across the country. “It’s not a particularly large facility, but it is a complex one. There are a lot of light rail projects in development across the country and we knew from day one this building would have to hold up for years to come,” asserts Russell.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Along its journey, RCI has helped set an example for responsible building practices. Twenty years ago the Oregon Metro Council featured RCI in its promotional video about recycling for its building material recycling initiative. “We have always taken great care to carefully strip buildings of unwanted materials during demolition to be reused or recycled, whether it’s metal, drywall or wood,” explains Russell. In addition, the RCI team now has a number of LEED Accredited Professionals on staff to assist clients in achieving sustainability goals.

In 2013, RCI will celebrate its 25-year anniversary. However in 2011, RCI celebrated one of its employee’s 20-year tenure, which Russell considers to be the ultimate measure of the company’s success. “It’s the most meaningful measure of success to be able to take care of your employees in a way that enables them to take the best care of your clients,” explains Russell.

In response to the economic slowdown, RCI slimmed down and reoriented itself to focus on its strengths. “They say flat is the new up,” jokes Russell. The team doesn’t expect to see any major improvements in its local markets any time soon, but the RCI team will continue to keep an eye out for new market opportunities and directions for diversification while providing its loyal client base with the high level of service RCI is known for.

Together the RCI team will help strengthen the company to become even more nimble once the markets recover. As the company’s 25-year anniversary draws near, the team at Russell Construction Inc. can rely on its loyal clients to stay busy and create occasions to celebrate with its customers and employees alike.

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Spring 2018



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