Case Studies

T. H. Marsh Construction Co.

Rapid Rise to the Top

T. H. Marsh Construction Co. (THM) was recently recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the industry’s fastest growing companies, with an impressive 28 percent of growth from 2007 to 2010. One of the constants that the United States has seen during the economic downturn is that construction companies are digging in, cutting overhead and trying to not atrophy too quickly. Its impressive then to find a construction company that is not just maintaining the status quo, but is actually growing during a recession.

The third and fourth generations of the Marsh family now run the Royal Oak, Mich., based company. Barry Marsh, chairman of THM, and his son Ryan, president and CEO, are proud to continue the legacy of Barry’s father, Ted, who founded the company in 1954. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 authorized the construction of the Interstate Highway System, so the then Livonia-based company carved an early niche for itself in the construction of hundreds of gas stations.

Over the years, THM developed a reputation for honest dealings and hard workers who produce high-quality projects. Today, the company offers its clients a full range of construction services including: design-build, construction management, pre-construction general contracting and development services. The company’s clients are typically found in the health- and continuing- care industry, school districts, colleges and universities, retail, churches and municipalities. In addition, the company works with architects and developers throughout the Midwest, East and Southeast.

From Five to Fifty

Ryan’s path to presidency of THM was not an automatic pass because of his birth, although he learned many essential skills from his father. He worked as a commercial banker with PNC Bank after graduating from college, and didn’t take over THM until 2000. The company’s reputation in the industry was excellent, but growth was flat with revenues hovering around the $5 million mark at that time. In 2011, with the leadership and enthusiasm of the father and son team, the company grossed nearly $50 million.

With youthful exuberance, Ryan quickly changed the company’s direction. “Assembling a team of high-level construction professionals with a focus on customer satisfaction was the key to that growth,” he was quoted as saying. “We’re not trying to go from a $50 million company to a $500 million company. We’re focusing on quality projects for our valued clients. If we manage 10 percent to 15 percent year-over-year growth in the future, that’ll be good.”

Relationships fueled the company’s growth and THM has since established itself as one of the preferred contractors for Wal-Mart Inc., successfully completing projects as far away as Raleigh, N.C. and Watkins Glen, N.Y. In addition to Wal-Mart, the company has worked on a number of high-profile projects in the past 10 years. THM completed the challenging construction of a nearly $50 million private student housing project for University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Cooley Law School students.

Landmarks of Success

With partner Neumann Smith Architecture, THM accomplished the high-end Courtyards in Ann Arbor, Mich. The 360,000-square foot project is a series of three, four-story wooden buildings that total 300 units, ranging from one to four bedrooms, each with their own bathroom. The building also features resort-like amenities on a six-acre site. In addition, the project contains a fitness center, game lounge, movie theater, tanning domes, walking paths and underground parking.

THM has also worked on a number of projects for Landmark Healthcare Facilities, including two new $14 million buildings for Beaumont Health System. The 105,000-square foot physician’s office building contains the Wilson Cancer Center and 16 specialty suites. The state-of-the-art 95,000-square foot Beaumont Health and Wellness Center offers all the amenities of a fitness center. These features include an indoor track, gymnasium, pools, locker rooms, exercise areas, juice bar and childcare facility. These are in addition to offering the services of a medical office building such as therapy, exam and procedure rooms, pain clinic and MRI imaging suite.

Like successful healthcare facilities, THM proudly works with safety as its hallmark. The company’s entire staff is Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-30 certified and THM was recently recognized by the Michigan OSHA (MIOSHA) and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) with a CET Gold Award. According to MIOSHA, construction related injuries make up about 40 percent of all fatal job-related accidents.

The CET Gold Award recognizes an outstanding safety record of two years or more without a lost time accident. “We are honored to present this award to T.H. Marsh Construction and we are pleased to recognize your exemplary record of protecting your workers in this high-hazard industry,” LARA Deputy Director Steve Arwood was quoted as saying. “Your dedication sends the message to Michigan employers that focusing on safety up front is a sound business decision.”

THM may have been around for nearly 60 years, but the company’s growth in the past 10 years is nothing short of phenomenal. The company went from grossing $5 million a year to $50 million, and even managed to win an award for safety along the way. It will be interesting to see what T. H. Marsh Construction Co.’s leadership will accomplish in the next 10 years.

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