GenCon provides preconstruction, construction management, design build, and consulting services to small, medium, and large commercial institutions across New England. The team’s unique construction knowledge allows the company to partner with a wide range of clients and ensure that their design is effective and construction is completed within their timeline and budgets.
Specializing in healthcare renovations and new construction, the West Bridgewater, Massachusetts based company is one of New England’s leading healthcare-focused construction firms. The team has the expertise needed to create a niche for itself in an extremely demanding sector. “We have a very experienced staff of personnel that can handle not only the pre-construction investigation, but the execution and closeout of lab and healthcare centered projects,” explains President & CEO Robert Gendron. “We are able to differentiate ourselves from the competition in healthcare by taking extreme precautions in infection control [and] in safety measures.”
This commitment to safety is central to everything the team does, regardless of the sector or project. “We have one of the industry leading safety records for our size company.” The effort starts with thorough safety training for every employee. Then, as soon as a project is launched, GenCon’s safety officers and project team members identify and evaluate potential hazards and craft a project-specific safety plan. After the project is underway, the team maintains systematic safety inspections, reviewing them regularly and making the necessary adjustments. In addition, safety is always one of the topics at GenCon’s on-site weekly construction meetings, allowing the team to voice concerns and ensuring that they continue to be aware of potential dangers and how to avoid them.
The company employs multiple safety personnel to help maintain a strong safety culture. “You will see that [the construction] industry sometimes gets behind in safety and overleverages one safety director,” Mr. Gendron points out. “In our company we have not only three safety directors, but we also have a safety committee [composed of] the project executives and the general superintendents as well as an in-house environmental health and safety officer. Due to the high volume of healthcare and lab work that we do, we found that it made more sense to have our own in-house environmental health and safety director.”
The design-build approach
GenCon boasts the knowhow to provide traditional construction management services as well as design-build services. “We offer a unique advantage in being able to create design-build capabilities that go against the standard project delivery process,” Mr. Gendron explains. “That really allows our customers to get to market faster and more cost effectively.”
Rather than acting only as professional advisors, the design-build team works together to produce a product that meets a client’s individual needs. This collaboration of designers and builders is the foundation of design-build. As a “unique approach” to project delivery, design-build is not necessarily the best method for every job, Mr. Gendron shares. But, when the approach is a good fit, design-build can simplify and streamline the entire process. “It can basically create a level of full responsibility where that single design-build entity becomes the single point of responsibility, which really limits the problems for the owner.”
Working together on one page increases efficiency, allowing GenCon to get the job done faster with fewer complications. “It creates a team approach. We are able to work with the management of the companies as well as the engineering personnel to create a set of documents that make sense from the beginning.” As a result, the owner’s administrative burden is reduced to a single point of responsibility, allowing them to focus on the project instead of the management of disparate contracts. “In addition, it allows us to cut time by 20 to 30 percent on a specific project, which ultimately allows their facilities to get up and operating and generating revenue.”
GenCon offers design-build services for façade restoration, residential developments, tenant improvements, medical facilities, new construction, and historical renovations.
Rapid growth today and tomorrow
GenCon is one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States. “We basically had a 3,000 percent jump in the last ten years.” Mr. Gendron credits several company attributes for this remarkable success. Most important is the firm’s talented workforce. “Number one is that I hire excellent people that don’t need to be micromanaged and I’ve encouraged them to actively expand their divisions with my support.”
Staying ahead of the technological curve has also been invaluable. “Number two is technology. I think, for a medium sized business, our company is right up there with the larger entities in this industry. We have utilized some major software in construction management that helps our managers and site personnel be more effective.”
Working with competent, trustworthy subcontractors has also been key. “We have an extreme confidence in our subcontractor base,” Mr. Gendron remarks. GenCon values reliable talent and does its part to maintain strong relationships with hardworking subcontractors who bring results. “We have been able to grow that subcontractor base by paying on time, treating them fairly and setting expectations correctly.”
GenCon’s superior staff, next generation technology, and trusted subcontractors have won client loyalty. “We have been able to grow as exponentially as we have because our clients believe in us. We execute what we tell them we are going to execute and they give us larger opportunities.” This has meant plenty of repeat business from big name clients. “We have multiple large customers that have been with us for over eight years.”
Repeat work—as well as an effective workforce—requires constant relationship building. “My goal is to create long lasting relationships with our clients and to keep my employees happy,” Mr. Gendron summarizes. Maintaining these relationships with clients, employees, and subcontractors is dependent on good communication, he adds. “Communication has been instrumental to our success.”
The industry in New England is “extremely competitive,” providing more growth opportunities but also creating new challenges. “The industry is extremely competitive in terms of CM firms being vetted by owners,” Mr. Gendron explains. “So what that in turn reflects is that, currently, we are having challenges in the industry finding new subcontractors that can handle large jobs.” This is where GenCon’s subcontractor relationships really come in handy. “One of our key [strengths] is having a substantial subcontracting base that has been with us a long time.”
Another industry concern is finding and retaining enough skilled workers to handle the amount of available work. “Skilled workers are at a premium, so when you see this much volume, to deliver a high quality product is challenging and something we excel at.”
GenCon’s astronomical growth rate shows that the company has managed to overcome the workforce shortage. The team is eager to keep pushing forward to expand even more over the next decade. “Our goal is to continue to grow 300 percent every three years,” Mr. Gendron laughs. “We’ve already done it three times.” The company will continue to leverage its strengths to make this goal a reality. “The basic matter of fact is we will continue to grow as long as we provide the current level of service we are [currently providing]. We expect to be able to grow to about three times the size that we are now in the near future.”