The timing of when to send an e-mail may appear to be a routine decision. For the executives at PREMIER Design + Build Group, LLC, however, that seemingly innocuous choice led to a successful era of growth and profitability by sending a greater message of being bound and determined to go the extra mile for their clients.
PREMIER Executive Vice President Brian Paul remembers the e-mail story occurring just a few years ago when the effects of the recession were still causing hardships for construction companies. PREMIER was invited to bid on a project very late in the process. It wasn’t the biggest job, but opportunities were rare at that time.
Paul recalled the technicalities of PREMIER’s proposal were in place when they completed assembling it late on a Friday evening, but the team huddled up, not sure whether to send the bid then, wait for Saturday, or wait until business hours began again the following Monday. The prevailing thought emerged that if a potential client was to receive a proposal at such an unconventional time, it would foreshadow PREMIER’s dedication to go to any length to complete a project and assist a client.
The instinct turned out to be correct.
“I was told by the owner’s representative that the reason we got that project was because they received that e-mail late on a Friday night. They knew we were going to invest all of our time into their project and that we would do everything in our power to get it done on time and on budget.” Paul noted. “They knew we were the right guys for the job.”
That story still thrills Paul, who was part of PREMIER’s founding team along with brothers, Alan and Alec Zocher, who today serve as president and executive vice president respectively. The three decided to start their own venture as they had become disenchanted with the atmosphere at their previous employer. They had a collective goal of creating a friendly place to work and were determined to produce the best possible design + build solutions for their clients based on creative strategy and collaboration.
PREMIER was formed in 2004, and has established a strong presence in the Chicago marketplace with impressive growth as indicated by a 266% increase in annual revenue between 2013 and 2016. Earlier this year, PREMIER received tremendous accolades with appearances on both the 2016 list of Crain’s Chicago Business Largest Privately Held Companies and Crain’s list of fastest 50 growing companies in Chicago - coming in at #11.
Wanting to build on their local success, PREMIER has opened offices that serve the Los Angeles, Miami and New Jersey markets.
Many companies talk about going all out for their clients by getting their hands dirty. In the case of PREMIER, the company’s executives take it to the next level.
Alan Zocher – who like his brother has a civil engineering education - was in a place to demonstrate that resolve to a prospective client that was considering developing a project in the western suburbs. The client’s civil engineer thought the existing utility infrastructure may not be able to support the project, but Zocher thought that assessment was premature and showed how it could work in the most literal of terms.
Paul related that Zocher went to the site and climbed inside the sanitary manhole to measure the invert elevation and concluded on the spot that a gravity sewer could in fact be utilized, which was the key to make the whole project work. Soon after, the PREMIER team was hired to construct the project which ended up being a success both short term and long term.
“That is our biggest client today,” Paul added. “They watched him climb in and said if he is willing to do that, these are the guys we want.”
That serves as just one example of PREMIER’s willingness to go the extra mile for clients and why the company continues to succeed. Additionally, the principals and the rest of the PREMIER team encourage the exchange of ideas from start to finish with the collective goal of maximizing the use of a property, Paul notes.
“Design build by definition should be collaborative,” Paul emphasizes. “We like to bring in our mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection designers, as well as subcontractors and the project consultants, to discuss ideas for the design (or re-design) of a facility. That way we can get the most pragmatic and cost effective solutions on paper at the beginning as opposed to the traditional design, bid, build model.”
Paul remembers one such case in Elk Grove Village.
A developer was considering purchasing an antiquated building for redevelopment, but given modern zoning (setback) codes and existing infrastructure constraints a new building on this property could not yield enough squarefootage to result in a financially viable development. The PREMIER team analyzed the situation and concluded that razing a portion of the existing building in conjunction with modern upgrades was an option to consider.
“We were able to chop back the building at a certain point, created underground water detention, redesigned the truck docks to provide 13 new exterior positions and allowed for onsite truck maneuvering,” Paul said. “We reskinned the building with precast, disposed of the old exterior metal paneling, and showcased what looked like a brand new building at just a fraction of the price. The facility is probably twice the size it would have been had we razed the entire building, based on requirements for new construction.”
The end result was a building with more space and immediate stabilization.
With many projects successfully completed and with 50 employees spread over the country, PREMIER’s concentration is on its future. Paul sees his company bringing new services to clients.
“We will continue to diversify the type of work we do over the next five years. Before the recession we were very conscious about expanding our skill set,” Paul said. “We now have people with a wide variety of skill sets that work here so we can get deeper into the marketplace as we try to broaden our client base and product type.”
But whichever direction PREMIER decides to go, Paul promises the basic principle the company was founded on will remain in place. “It is making the impossible, possible - determining ways to accomplish what others won’t or can’t - and coming up with creative solutions that are affordable.”