Where the Best is Built In

Written by Pauline Müller

True collaboration in construction – as in life – is worth utilizing. It often takes extra care and effort to bring a diverse group of people together to fulfill a dream. However, for organizations looking for a construction company that aims to fulfill dreams through true collaboration, Straticon is the company to contact.

Straticon is a construction firm that thrives in working directly with clients, starting initially at the design assist phase and collaborating through to construction. Straticon’s current portfolio of projects ranges from historic city building renovations to baseball stadiums, to the ultimate dream of an entire resort island. With a wide selection of construction services available and operations throughout Florida, Straticon can bring any project to life.

Starting right out of college, co-owners Jeff and Chris Hardin based their business model on recruiting and training college students in the mid-west, who would establish an exterior paint internship in their hometowns during summer break. In the days before the internet and social media, this took an enormous amount of creativity on their part. One method was sourcing out dormitory phone books and calling each student directly.

“Since we were on a tight budget, Jeff and I would sit for hours calling students and meeting with them on campus,” laughs Chris. Each year, a new group of students would be trained for several months on the basics of how to establish a name using marketing materials such as putting up lawn signs and canvasing a neighborhood with brochures to find homeowners who needed the exterior of their home painted.

As the business name started growing so did the opportunities; painting entire apartment complexes and home developments became the norm. The timeframe that the summer college internships allowed was phased out into a year-round construction company. Their small regional painting firm transformed into the multi-million-dollar general contractor company Straticon is today.

One of the opportunities that changed the company’s future was a condominium conversion project Straticon was awarded in Hollywood Beach, Florida in 2003. The deal was closed on a mere ‘gentleman’s agreement’ topped with a handshake. The rest is history. “Today, we are proud to have over half of our original employees still working alongside us, including a handful of the original college interns. True collaboration was necessary to establish working and training college students,” says Jeff.

Straticon’s collaborative approach allows clients the ability to adapt and create processes according to the nature of each project. To do this, employees often work with clients at the beginning design phase, which might include napkin sketches, through construction until clients see those big dreams come to life. Another contributor to the process is the fact that Straticon embraces change through technology, employing a full team of information technology experts to optimize its efficiency by customizing its internal technology suites.

Known for its general contractor and construction management services, Straticon works in a multitude of markets, including hospitality, multi-family, condominium, retail, mixed-use, commercial, stadium, and even historic renovations. Moreover, it recently added a Marine Construction and Interior Design division to its service portfolio. Since the inception of the Marine division a year ago, the company has secured two of the largest and most anticipated marina construction projects for the firm, the Las Olas Marina, located in the “Yachting Capital of the World,” and the uber-famous Walkers Cay “Reborn 2020.”

A new approach to construction this year for Straticon is the addition of modular building, a method of construction whereby modules, or repeated units, are fabricated off-site. Once complete, these elements are shipped to their destination, installed, and finished. “We have found that the modular building process is becoming not only more prevalent but also necessary. With our project in Walkers Cay, we are utilizing this due to the logistics of building on a remote island,” says Jeff.

Certainly, there have been many great projects over the years. The firm was part of the transformative FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches project worth $135 million, which was achieved in a mere fifteen months, with the help of over 650 workers putting in twenty-hour days. This was no ordinary ground-up project, either. It turned an old, 160-acre rubbish dump into a breathtaking 6,500 seat stadium that included practice facilities, VIP suites, concessions, stores, and offices. This project was also certified as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver.

One of the company’s current projects is the highly-publicized Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Residences in Boca Raton, Florida. This hotel is set to be only one of seven of its kind in the country. Attention to detail drives this concept, with 164 well-appointed rooms and suites with fantastic ocean, golf course, and city views. Ample luxurious features like rooftop swimming pools and a unique collection of ninety-two private homes will complete this landmark property.

Straticon is also in the midst of its Walker’s Cay ‘Reborn 2020’ project. The island is the furthest north in the Bahamas and forms part of the North Abaco district. Here, Straticon is responsible for a complex set of functions that include pre-construction planning and design, adding renewable energy sources plus installing new utilities like power generation. The Reborn 2020 project promises to breathe new life into the island’s infrastructure with a state-of-the-art, eighty-four-slip, hurricane-resistant floating dock system complete with a surrounding boardwalk to accommodate mega-yachts, a new fuel system, marina utilities, jetties, and breakwaters. It will also include resort restaurants and bars, villas, multiple pools, world-class spa and fitness center, welcome center, tournament green, staff housing, and a lot more.

This is by no means its only new project, either. The company is also working on the Hotel Maren, Curio by Hilton in Fort Lauderdale, the AC by Marriott hotel at the Dadeland Mall in Miami, and the Boynton Beach High School, part of the $200 million redevelopment of the Boynton Beach downtown. Then there is Tamarac Village in Broward County, Florida where 401 rental apartments, a two-story clubhouse for residents, and ample green space will form part of a new luxury development – just to note a few.

With so many dedicated, talented people, making huge projects and iconic construction happen is easy. Straticon has had no shortage of awards and acknowledgment. It has been ranked twelfth by the South Florida Business Journal’s list of top general contractors. Naturally, its $2 billion in completed projects was a huge contributing factor. This work included 40,000 multi-family units, 10,000 condominiums, and 8,000 hospitality units. The company is especially proud that seventy percent of this business came from repeat customers. In addition, it currently has work to the value of $450 million on its plate.

These accolades are by no means a new trend. In 2007, Straticon won the Developers and Builders Alliance’s condominium conversion of the year award for work it performed on the Tides of Hollywood Beach in Hollywood, Florida. This was followed by the InterContinental Hotels Group’s renovation award for its contribution to the Sian Crowne Plaza of Hollywood and another Developers and Builders Alliance award for renovation of the year in 2008.

In the same year, Gold Coast Builders Association awarded the company a ‘Gold Prism’ award for Mariners Key on the Intracoastal in Lake Park, Florida. Safety is an increasing priority across the industry, and Straticon is also proud to announce its USF Sunshine State safety award earlier this year.

For Straticon, awards and designations bring new opportunities to work with clients to make their dream projects a reality. Using true collaboration, clients work with a diverse group of employees – and women play a large role throughout the company. “We are a woman-owned firm with about thirty percent of our employees, including site personnel, being female,” says Chris Hardin. Another opportunity is working with clients to make housing conditions better and create developments for families to enjoy together.

The company’s generosity expands beyond employees, and it has a constant goal to reach out and support local and international charities along with creating some of its own. To this end, Straticon has established programs that support families and communities.

Today, the co-founders have their eyes squarely on the future of construction. Having Straticon’s services, from design through construction, under one roof, gives clients, employees, subcontractors, vendors, and future generations the ability to be successful working together. True collaboration is used in making dream projects become reality. The company is well on its way to achieving this with great excitement.



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