Case Studies

Trigon Inc.

Preserving a Position as Oklahoma's Locally Owned Construction Management Firm

Trigon Inc. (Trigon) might not be the largest construction management firm in Oklahoma, but the Tulsa-based company has managed to wage steady competition amongst construction giants up to 10 times its size for nearly 30 years. “Since 1984, we’ve been Oklahoma-owned and -operated,” shares Steve Ryan, project manager for Trigon. “We go up against very few Oklahoma-based companies; most of them are from Arkansas, Nebraska or St. Louis, but we’re homegrown and that helps set us apart.”

Trigon entered the industry as a general contractor but made the transition to construction management in early 2000. “The state of Oklahoma allows certification through five different organizations but we’re one of the few that hold the Construction Management Institute of America (CMAA) accreditation,” explains Steve. “I’m a professional engineer by trade myself, and we also have a staff of in-house professional engineers, LEED accredited professionals and certified superintendents.”

But Trigon’s expertise doesn’t stop there. The locally owned company is also backed by the Construction Manger Certification Institute (CMCI) and the Green Building Certification Institute as an LEED accredited professional.

Size Doesn’t Always Matter

Since 2000, Trigon has delivered educational, religious, financial, health care and historical restoration project management in both public and private sectors throughout the state. “We’re based in northeast Oklahoma, but we’re gearing up to open a new office in Ardmore, Okla.,” shares Steve. “We’ve drawn a 90-mile radius around our home office in Tulsa, focusing our efforts there because we strive for responsive service. If I can’t tell my owner I’ll be there in an hour, I don’t want to work there anyway because it’s not cost effective and it slows down our service.”

Trigon employs a small workforce of only about 15 professionals. “One of our biggest hurdles is getting owners to understand we can get the job done with a small staff,” notes Steve. “Some owners are confused and wonder how we compete against a company with 200 to 300 employees. We just shrug our shoulders and ask, ‘why do you need so many people’?”

Trigon proves that bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to quality service. “Some large owners doubt us by initially looking at the size of our company,” adds Steve. “Well, if they look at just our financials they’re right, but if you look at the product and service we provide and jobs we’ve done in the past they’re wrong -we can handle anything they’ve got, and we have a more personal touch than the bigger guys.”

Long-lasting Construction Management

And Steve means anything; from public schools to churches, banks to historical renovations, Trigon fits the bill. “I wouldn’t say we have a specific niche,” explains Steve. “We’re construction managers that do almost any type of work, but we’ve really focused on the education sector in recent years because that’s where the money is in this economy.”

Although Trigon is in numerous markets, Steve says the company operates from a purely managerial perspective. “We’ve done general contracting in the past and we still will occasionally, but typically we don’t self perform anything,” he reveals. “We’ve found it ends up being a conflict of interest if you do because being a representative of the owner is the first priority not what your own bottom line.”

As a result, Trigon has established longstanding relationships with property owners throughout the Tulsa area. “For us, it’s not a one-and-done kind of thing,” ensures Steve. “Some of the schools we work for we’ve been working with since 1988. Once we get to know a district and the superintendent, we’re doing all of their work, and when that superintendent transfers to another district, you can bet we’ll be doing the work at that one as well.”

By combining trusted relationships and a historic renovations background, Trigon has landed noteworthy projects many school districts and private residences as well. “We did a $6.5 million hardscape, landscape and historical exterior revamp on the famous Phillips Petroleum property in Tulsa,” shares Steve. “The sprawling residence was originally built in 1928.”

At Will Rogers High School just outside of Tulsa, the company performed an award-winning historical renovation. “The high school is on the historical registry with a classic art-deco design which is a trademark of this area,” details Steve. “We managed a complete window replacement and exterior terracotta masonry repairs. The biggest challenge was finding skilled local craftsmen to make specialty molds for the windows in order to maintain the historical architecture. We kept going back to reference old photos and paying attention to all of the angles and décor was quite tedious.” In the end, Trigon’s efforts won the renovation a National Historic Preservation Award.

Steve reveals the next big thing for Trigon is establishing itself in Ardmore where the company is working on a complete replacement of a 1950s elementary school in the town’s historical district. “Our challenge is to salvage the old masonry and incorporate it in a new design that will satisfy the community,” says Steve.

“Once I get the keys to the new office in Ardmore we’re going to work on making it more than a satellite office but a self sustaining division of the company,” continues Steve. “We have a great employee base with some superintendents who’ve been with us since the beginning, so we’re in a good position to make this transition.”

As Trigon turns 30 in 2014, Steve is gearing up to fill the shoes of current president Charlie Poindexter. “If we just keep doing what we’ve been doing for 30 years, we’ll continue to do well in this market -that’s the goal,” adds Steve. Trigon Inc. remains the Sooner State’s go-to locally owned construction management firm.

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Spring 2018



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