Case Studies

Todd Hackett Construction Co

Delivering more value in family-owned general contracting

There’s a certain level of care and quality that stems from small, family ownership in the construction business. In Muscatine, Iowa, the Hackett family has been building its name on this premise as a local general contracting expert, specializing in new construction and renovations in the commercial, institutional and multifamily markets. The team at family-owned Todd Hackett Construction Co. (THCC) brings leading construction management knowledge and longstanding relationships with local architects and engineers to design-build projects. Combined, the THCC crew has more than 200 years of experience in the construction industry.

THCC was established in 1981 by Todd Hackett as a small single-family homebuilder. “It was mostly residential in the beginning and then in 1983 we moved into the construction of smaller multifamily residential, typically four-plex to 12-plex, and eventually commercial and office building complexes,” says Todd, president of THCC.

Todd Hackett Construction Co

In 1987, THCC incorporated and began to take on new types of projects. Since then, the company has completed many multifamily buildings, assisted-living projects, senior housing, nursing homes, banks and branches, school renovations and additions, grocery stores, office buildings, retail strip malls, church additions and other light commercial projects.

Todd is joined by his wife, Tricia Hackett and their daughter, Jenna Hackett, who has been with the company for a year, overseeing THCC’s business development, process improvement, managerial accounting, marketing and communications.

After 35 years in business, THCC has seen its fair share of hard times and had to navigate lean construction markets. “2008 through 2010 was really tough and we scaled back; it was a slow time for everyone around us,” recounts Todd. “We reached out of our typical scope and tried to be more aggressive in getting jobs and approaching them differently.”

Finding a strong niche

Through tough times THCC was able to keep moving forward, thanks to a solid business model and low overhead. “We wanted to keep working, but we didn’t want to take a risk or a job where we could lose money,” explains Jenna. “In this industry we know we’re going to have good years and bad so it’s important not to have an extreme amount of overhead at any point. We try to not operate irresponsibly so we’re not forced to take work just for the sake of taking work that won’t be as beneficial for the company.”

Now that the market has started to recover and there are more jobs to be had, the next step for THCC is finding a strong niche to fill. “I think our ability to meet project costs and work out negotiated contracts while maintaining the budget with the desired quality and product the customer wants is a big benefit,” says Jenna. “We continue to cultivate more close relationships with developers in the multifamily market and public market for school and institutional customers.”

THCC has found a sweet spot in lower- to medium-budget projects within approximately 70 miles of Muscatine by self-performing all rough and finish carpentry and concrete work. “We like to take on multifamily apartments and townhomes and light commercial work such as banks, community centers, community colleges and public schools,” says Todd.

With a staff of 30 people, including four superintendents to lead jobs and two project managers to offer oversight, THCC is able to command a project schedule and budget effectively and efficiently. “At the moment we are under contract to complete 64 townhomes in Davenport, Iowa, two school additions and renovations, and a few lighter commercial projects,” says Todd.

“We’re increasingly working with repeat customers and developers, trying to go for negotiated work, as opposed to public bid where we don’t have as much control over what our niche will be,” adds Jenna.

A noteworthy project for THCC has been the Community Bank & Trust branch in Muscatine. “This was an existing Blockbuster building,” says Todd. “There had to be several modifications to incorporate the design with a new façade and roof structure, as well as shoring up the foundation on the existing building.”

THCC also specializes in renovations, recently completing a library renovation in North Liberty, Iowa, and a historic renovation of the West Liberty Library. “The original building was constructed in the 1920s,” details Todd. “Our job was to take the newer wing, constructed in 2001, and deal with mold and water issues. We decided to go back in and take all of the sheet rock off the outside walls and address the structural issues that needed to be attended to. While reworking all of these we had to make sure everything had the same aesthetic feel throughout as the original building because the project received a special government grant for the repairs.”

Focusing on repeat business

Todd and Jenna both emphasize the importance of relationships in everything THCC does. “We want to concentrate our efforts on getting more leads with developers interested in new projects,” says Jenna. “It’s a huge process and they want a contractor they can ask questions to and know they can trust.”

THCC has relied on customer feedback to adjust and improve over the years. “We’ve certainly learned you can’t make everyone happy, but getting customer feedback is important so we can learn what we’re doing well and what we can do better,” says Jenna. “Our goal is to have a relationship where the whole way through we can teach customers about the quality and care that’s going into the product. If we can walk them through this process, then they can be even more proud of what they own and really understand the value.”

With 35 years in the industry, THCC continues to create meaningful client relationships that make for mutual project success and value-added general contracting. “Over the years, I have worked very hard to create a solid business model,” says Todd. “We are well aligned to remain competitive in our industry and I am excited to now have my daughter on board to further develop the business as we move into the next generation.” For Todd Hackett Construction Co., family ties and trusted team members will keep the company on track for years to come.

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Spring 2018



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