In 1987, a new construction company with high-rise dreams landed its first gig in Omaha - building an enclosure over an air conditioner at St. Gerald’s Church. It wasn’t a big project, but it was arguably the “coolest” MCL Construction has ever done.
MCL Construction is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and has landed numerous multimillion dollar projects over the decades, including the nine-figure Methodist Women’s Hospital and a massive religious retreat called the Cloisters on the Platte.
However, the company has never strayed from its cool, albeit humble, beginnings. Sure, the company loves the big-crane projects, but MCL Construction is just as fond of remodeling lunchrooms and replacing doors. Yes, we’re talking tiny one-man projects, like “Help, MCL! Our-pipes-have-broken-and-we-need-them-fixed-before-the-doors-open-tomorrow projects.”
“There is no job too small. There is no job too big and there is no job we’re afraid of,” says Paul Beller, a project manager for MCL Construction and a blunt talker.
MCL Construction is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, with a series of articles about its past, its present, and its future, and the people who helped to build the company one remodel job at a time. Beller is the man who oversees the company’s smaller projects. These include everything from fixing a broken window for a couple of hundred dollars to building a new data center for $6 million.
“We’re probably the only construction company in Omaha with the ability to do this kind of small project work and still be able to do a (multimillion-dollar) dental school,” he said.
Over the years, Beller has learned that every project has its rewards. And, he says, smaller projects often pave the way to bigger projects after MCL Construction has earned a company’s trust.
Businesses that rely upon MCL to do their year-in and year-out remodels and construction work grow to trust the company. They develop a relationship where they come to understand MCL’s commitment to customer service and to doing a job affordably and efficiently. When the time comes that a company has a bigger project on the drawing board, MCL is often in line to land the business.
“Little things lead to the big things,” said Beller.
For the clients, MCL’s relationship-building work through doing all jobs – big or small – means they don’t have to waste time and energy to bid out every project because they know that MCL will do the work to the highest standards. They have the years of experience of working with MCL to make this call.
“We know the company, and the company knows us. They’ve done work in every building,” Malik said. “They understand our expectations and their expectations are just as high.”
Josh Dinsmore is on the front line when it comes to MCL and the company’s day-to-day engagement with companies for the smaller, emergency projects. Dinsmore, who started in construction as a carpenter, is often the guy whom property managers call for help. He is – and this is not an overstatement – the face of MCL for many companies such as Union Pacific and First National.
“You develop a relationship with these people and these companies,” said Dinsmore. “You know who their wives are and where their kids are going to school.”
Dinsmore is the guy who will get the telephone call in the wee hours of the night when a pipe has frozen and burst open, and a company needs it cleaned and repaired before the start of the next business day.
“Someone may call because a car drove through the front of their glass, and you’ll get the call at 2 a.m.,” said Dinsmore.
Dinsmore and Beller may never have the thrill of toiling away for three years at a mega-project, but that’s fine by both men. Because they also are rarely bored. They never know what they’ll be asked to do when they pick up the phone, but they know they don’t have to commit years and years to a project.
“I don’t know what’s coming from one day to the next,” said Dinsmore.
Beller said he also finds the smaller project to be more rewarding because he doesn’t have to wait for years to see a result. Progress can be measured in hours and days, rather than months upon months.
“I like to see progress, and you can see progress if it takes only 35 days,” said Beller.
And, these smaller projects can be done under some tight time restrictions. MCL was once asked to build a small data center and the job needed to be done in 90 days. Beller and company delivered.
“Everybody thought it couldn’t be done,” Beller smiled. “That was exciting to me.”
Of course, Beller was also thrilled it was only a 90-day gig, and he could soon hit the road knowing that a conference room remodel was in his future.
Part 1-Jim Meyers
Part 2-First In The Field
Part 3-Nancy Benson
Part 4-Building Relationships
Part 5-Gary Leapley
Part 6-Building For The Future
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