Before There Was BGC …
Projects With Herman Stewart
Ben and Todd met while both worked for Herman Stewart. Todd was the 1st Superintendent who Ben worked for on his first project as an Assistant Superintendent with Herman Stewart. Together, they worked on a Marriott Townplace Suites project, as well as two other hotels.
Todd later accepted an opportunity with Boston’s Shawmut Design and Construction, while Ben stayed with Herman Stewart and worked on Urban Outfitters build outs in California.
Together Again at Shawmut
Todd worked at Shawmut for about 4 years, adeptly managing 30 traveling Superintendents as a General Superintendent. He wore many different hats over the years there managing multiple projects and employees.
Nine months after Todd started, Ben moved to Shawmut, accepting a position as a traveling Superintendent working under Todd. Ben ultimately became a Project Manager and stayed until the end of 2002.
Todd, meanwhile, worked at Shawmut for about 4 years in a variety of capacities and also left in 2002.
Builderguru Contracting, Inc.
Beginning in Colorado
Upon leaving Shawmut, Ben incorporated Builderguru Contracting, Inc. (BGC) and then moved to Boulder, CO in February 2003. Ben’s first project with BGC was a millwork installation on a large expansion of a Dave and Buster’s in Denver.
While looking for more work in Colorado, Ben began talking with Todd about partnering. Ben decided to move back to Annapolis, MD, and transitioned BGC to Maryland, where he had originally incorporated.
Final Destination: Maryland
Ben and Todd began their work with BGC in Maryland with a makeshift office out of Ben’s home. Their first project was an office tenant fit out for Gardiner Realty and Development.
Soon, Ben and Todd were reconnecting with previous contacts and got renovation jobs for both Chart House and PF Chang’s.
Growth & Expansion
In December 2003, Todd and Ben hired Neil Rains as their first Superintendent. They also moved to BGC’s first “official” office space in Crofton, MD.
By the end of ’03, BGC had completed a little more than $500,000 worth of work.
As BGC began to travel for their restaurant clients, the balance of road and local work became the company’s first big challenge.
In 2004, the company hired Corrine Ford and had an average of 4 Superintendents, helping BGC complete about $3.3 million in total volume.
By the end of 2004, the company started their first Potbelly Sandwich Works in Gaithersburg, MD, and also relocated their office to Millersville.
In 2005, BGC had sustained growth, with approximately $4.7 million in volume. During this time, Todd and Ben struggled to find a project manager who fit with the company’s core principles.
By 2006, BGC had completed $7.3 million in total value and had added administrative staff. While they already had 12 Superintendents and 2 Project Managers, Ben and Todd continued to look for the right person to fill another Project Manager position.
In 2007, BGC found the right person and hired Ben Heath as a Project Manager.
Now, nearing the end of ’07, BGC is on track to complete approximately $12.5 million.
Maintaining Key Principles of BGC
Though it had taken them a few years to identify the company’s core values, Ben and Todd had always run their work the same way: focusing on the field.
Todd was a career field builder, while Ben — whose first experience was under Todd’s guidance — also continued working in the field.
This defined the basic structure of BGC, where Superintendents have a great deal of responsibility and Project Managers act in supportive roles.
At BGC, the Supers and the PMs team up and work together to run a project, while the office supports the field.
Importance of Superintendents
Superintendents are the most important people at BGC. They are the primary line of communication with clients, architects, engineers and subcontractors.
Further, they help ensure that jobs are run safely, efficiently, and look clean and professional — ensuring that work continues to come to the company.
Keys to Success
Todd and Ben attribute BGC’s success to this commitment to safety, efficiency and professionalism.
Additionally, BGC takes care of their subcontractors.
While subcontractors sign "pay when paid" contracts, BGC commits to pay them in 30 days. This gives the company competitive pricing and responsiveness over the competition.
Plans for the Future
During BGC’s years of growth, Ben and Todd have continually refined their positions. Ben’s primary responsibility is business development and management, while Todd focuses on estimating and management of all construction.
Ben and Todd plan to continue the company’s growth over the coming years, projecting for volume between $25 and $35 million annually. To support this growth, BGC aims to have a support structure of 3 or 4 Project Managers, 12 Superintendents and 5 Project Administrators.
Focus on Main Niches
Additionally, BGC is focusing its growth in three major categories:
- Restaurant and retail
- Office tenant fit out (particularly medical space)
- Ground up construction
In support of BGC’s goals for ground up construction, the company has become a preferred builder for Portland Systems, which provides engineered building packages.