Fifteen years ago, Select Demo Services, LLC (“Select Demo”) began as a small demolition contracting company with just one guy in the office and a small crew in the field earning approximately $1.5 million in annual sales. In the infancy of Select Demo’s existence the company had a vision and they turned that vision into the now $130 million specialty contracting firm it is today with various service lines and divisions.
Capable of complete deconstruction services, as well as structural and selective interior demolition, the company’s service lines now also include asbestos abatement, hazardous waste remediation, final cleaning, floor polishing, industrial and commercial painting, sandblasting, fireproofing, spray insulation and disposal services.
“Our customers benefit from working with us because we offer a wide variety of many skill sets that overlap. It is much more convenient for them to make one call rather than four or five to varying subcontractors. Select Demo is a true turnkey contracting company and our clients appreciate this. It makes their lives easier.” says Select Demo President Ryan Denver.
One reason the company chose to expand its services was to ensure that it did not have to depend on others, since it was regularly dissatisfied with the level of work it received when outside support was required. The dumpster companies were not able to keep up with its demand, shot blasters were difficult to find, and when a high-reach excavator was needed for demolition, it would take away precious time that the schedule did not have to spare. Select Demo chose to eliminate this tedious process by establishing itself as the one point of contact for all related services – a true turnkey contracting company.
Another motivating factor for expansion at the time was that Select Demo’s customers were looking to continue partnering with the company on additional projects after the demolition scope was completed. “Our clients wanted us to offer additional service lines on top of just demolition. They saw how great we were at demolition and how responsive we were, and it was just natural for us to get involved with these related services to tend to our clients’ needs,” says Select Demo’s Director of Business Development Sarah Marcone.
The company strives to make the entire process easier on clients who can call one company that offers a multitude of services rather than reaching out to multiple subcontractors. Having one point of accountability is also much more convenient for the client if any unplanned problems arise during the progress of the project.
Select Demo is based in Salem, New Hampshire and has offices in Hartford, Connecticut and Everett, Massachusetts. It has been serving the entire New England market with the majority of its work being in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The company’s reach now goes as far north as Maine and as far as south as New York City.
The six hundred employees are a diverse group of people, and each gets the opportunity to develop their skillset through in-house training. “The staff is definitely the key to the business. It’s not the tools or the equipment or the trucks; it’s the personnel,” says Denver. To show the employees its appreciation, the company treats its employees as family and offers a benefits package that is unmatched in the industry.
The owners have established a democracy style management in the workplace and set up a board committee to help make decisions that are best for the entire company. Open and honest communication is an important part of the company culture, and this leads to innovative collaboration.
In September of 2018, Select Demo was one of the subcontractors working on the recovery and restoration efforts caused by a massive gas explosion that damaged over fifty homes in the Merrimack Valley area of Massachusetts. The area included the cities of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. Select Demo was brought in to assist with the recovery efforts, and although Select Demo was originally only hired to do a small scope of work, the ownership was impressed by its skill sets and quickly increased its workload.
“We had two hundred people on the project from sunup until sundown performing a wide array of work: asbestos abatement, taking appliances out of houses, doing roadwork – anything to get these displaced families back in their homes,” says Select Demo Vice President Joe Baker. Select Demo was instrumental in this effort, and it stayed on the project until the residents had heat, hot water, and all the other basic necessities of a household.
As a strong union company, Select Demo is well aware that it is only capable of completing such complex projects as a result of its relationship with the unions and in turn, a strong workforce. “I have a tremendous relationship with the union leadership in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and it all started when I was a laborer in Local 223 out of Dorchester, MA. Jon Marquis (owner of all affiliated Select Demo companies) also mentored me from the very start of my career here. Without guidance and leadership from both Jon and the Union, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” says Denver.
Unlike the bulk of construction companies in the United States, Select Demo does not need to struggle to find qualified, skilled labor. “Due to our great relationship with the union affiliations, they have provided us with an endless supply of skilled laborers as we request them,” explains Vice President of Select Demo Randy Scott. “And on our end, we have created an internal training center offering hands-on training for field applications and educational training on computers.” The in-house training programs enable it to train its employees above the industry standard.
Within the buildings of Select Demo’s commercial projects, the company often finds quality furniture left to be discarded. It partners with the Massachusetts and New Hampshire State Police Departments, the City of Salem, NH and the New Hampshire Public School System to donate all of the reusable furniture to schools, public buildings, and other organizations in the community. Select Demo aims to not only repurpose quality furniture to those in need, but also reduce landfill waste and save taxpayers’ money. Another recycling effort is being made by K-Town Disposal, Select’s waste hauling division, that removes leftover material after a building is renovated. To reduce landfill waste, the material is sorted and sent where it can be reused or disposed of properly.
Proceeding with its environmentally aware approach, Select Demo has made significant changes on the home front. The newest office in Salem, NH has been solar powered since November of 2017, and it has been certified as a Class II Renewable Energy Certificate (REC). It is currently switching to geothermal building designs and expects to have every one of its facilities converted by 2022. Additional green initiatives include the hydraulic fluid in its trucks being biodegradable in the case of a spill or a blown line, and it has charging stations at its corporate offices for people with electric cars. K-Town has also committed to running paperless. Dumpsters and routes are tracked on tablets installed in every truck on a custom app designed to monitor waste and tonnages.
Attention to detail is a priority because the level of service to its clients is what leads to repeat business, and most of Select Demo’s work is for repeat clients who appreciate and require this high quality of service. Aside from its client-oriented attitude, other differentiators are its layers of supervision, its tenured project management, estimating and operations staff, and its commitment to safety.
The firm’s experience modification rate (EMR) – the number used by insurance companies to calculate risk – is impressive. “Our safety record is the best I’ve seen in the demolition industry; our EMR has dropped down to 0.70; our total recordable incident rate is 0.49, and the industry standard is 3. This allows us to bid on high-profile projects for universities, biotech and lab facilities and power companies,” says Marcone.
Select Demo has a full health and safety department and a safety director with five advisors who are on job sites daily performing inspections to ensure the staff, the subcontractors, the clients and the public are all safe. As a result of its safety culture, the company has received numerous safety awards from some of the nation’s leading general contractors and engineering firms.
The company recently worked on a major renovation project for a prestigious ivy league university located in the Greater Boston Area, where it partnered with Consigli Construction Co., Inc. as the construction manager. The safety and environmental standards at this university and with Consigli required much attention to detail, for which Select Demo is known. To overcome the many challenges of construction within the heavily congested area, the company had up to 150 men and women at a time on site for the renovation project, and there were zero injuries. The $13 million project was very successful and was completed ahead of schedule and within budget.
Select Demo has been ranked the seventeenth-largest demolition contractor in the world according to Demolition and Recycling International Magazine, the leading international demolition publication. It is also the seventh largest in the United States and number one in New England. In the future, the growing company aspires to continue serving repeat clients while welcoming new clients to its portfolio.
“We have a great team here both in the office and the field, and we just want to continue to perform great work, not forget our roots and keep exceeding our clients’ expectations,” says Denver.