Building Trust

Galaxy Builders
Written by Robert Hoshowsky

A business success for over 30 years, San Antonio-headquartered Galaxy Builders is still clearly anything but complacent. Under the leadership of CEO Neilesh Verma, this prestigious general contractor is active in affordable housing, luxury construction, multifamily and commercial projects, adaptive reuse, renovation, and more.

And no matter the type of work, Galaxy commits itself to building trust by adhering to the highest standards while making the entire process seamless and successful for its many clients.

The reasons for Galaxy’s award-winning successes are many, says Verma, including a seasoned executive team and an experienced staff of about 140. Even with these advantages, Verma points out, there’s always room for improvement, which saw the company embrace the Entrepreneurial Operating System® about two years ago.

Streamlining business through EOS®
“Think about it as a playbook for your business,” says Verma of the system, better known in the industry simply as EOS®.

Described as “a complete set of simple concepts and practical tools that has helped thousands of entrepreneurs around the world get what they want from their businesses,” EOS is enabling leadership teams in three areas: Vision, Traction, and Healthy. Through EOS, all staff get on the same page, increase focus and accountability, improve functionality, and become more cohesive.

Although the company grew during COVID, the pandemic impacted Galaxy in other ways. As with many companies, there were challenges with suppliers and subcontractors. However, one of the biggest obstacles was that employees working at home became ‘siloed’. Operating in isolation, staff were inclined to lose contact with their direct teams and members.

“Every decision we make has an overall impact on someone else’s ability to get something done,” observes Verma. “When I saw silos were being created, I looked for a platform that would help bring our teams back together and make us more focused so we’re constantly keeping on track.”

Through EOS, Galaxy has implemented a three-year plan to define exactly where it wants to be in that time. This is further broken down into one-year plans and 90-day blocks.

Behind the plan and its effectiveness are studies that show that the human mind can focus efficiently on five to eight things for around 90 days. If tasks aren’t completed in that time, fatigue sets in and overall output decreases. The simple act of breaking tasks down into blocks and making employees responsible for some of the metrics sees everyone moving in the same direction.

“It helps us to be proactive, get to a problem, and solve it before it’s too late to solve,” says Verma.

Elevating the experience
Working on projects all over Texas, Galaxy Builders is especially active along the I-35 corridor from Dallas to San Antonio, a stretch of about 300 miles (482 km). Involved in many areas of construction, the company is seeing greater demand for luxury works. “Texas is such a great market to be in, there are going to be ways to get these deals built,” says Verma.

Some of Galaxy’s recent works include Kallison Ranch Apartments, nearing completion, and Westover Hills, which started last year. In recent years, the company has noticed a big demand for more amenities in these community-type settings and has responded quickly to client requests. In years past, complexes had fairly basic clubhouses, but this is no longer the case, a trend that only accelerated during the pandemic. With more people working at home from their apartments, the need for more ambitious clubhouse amenities close by increased.

“On the market-rate side, we’ve noticed a big shift in how clubhouses are being built. Now there is what’s called an ‘amenity war’ from project to project, with what they can do to draw their tenants to the property,” says Verma. “We used to build clubhouses on an average of 5,000 to 6,000 square feet; now they’re 10,000 to 15,000 square feet.” The clubhouse at Westover Hills is about 13,000 square feet, with 30-foot ceilings, and features a daycare as part of its amenities.

Along with daycares, many clubhouses now boast gyms, lounge areas, pool tables, wine bars, ping-pong tables, and more, drawing people out of their units where they can meet their neighbors and feel a sense of belonging.

Similarly, grounds are also offering much more, like pickleball courts, dog parks, improved landscaping, pools, and bocce ball courts. Some clubhouses even feature special rooms to handle Amazon deliveries, and valet services that will take delivered parcels directly to residents’ units.

In addition, tenants are willing to pay for on-site amenities like gyms, wine bars, and daycares if it means they don’t have to leave the property.

“These are three-story garden walk-up projects,” says Verma, “anywhere from 10 to 15 buildings on a project. Each building will house roughly 24 units. You have stair access to get up to your unit, but the clubhouse is a standalone and the focus point of the project. So the buildings are all centered on the clubhouse itself.”

Finishes, too, are being elevated. In years past, basic finishes like laminate countertops were the norm. That’s no longer the case, as Galaxy sees the demand for thick granite counters rise. “Everything is about touch and feel, and everyone is looking at how to differentiate between themselves and the project down the street,” says Verma.

Excellence wins awards
Galaxy was founded in 1991 by Arun Verma. With Neilesh Verma building on his late father’s legacy, the company now is not only growing but thriving, thanks to its dedicated clients and staff. Core values like loyalty, trust, and integrity have never dimmed, even through COVID.

“Pre-COVID, our revenues were anywhere from $100 million to $150 million. Coming out of COVID, we were at $240 million. This year, we are projected for $275 to $300 million,” shares Verma. “We’ve stayed strong through it all, not just in terms of revenue and profitability, but in the value and trust our partners in the industry have for us,” he says.

“They’ve all stood behind Galaxy—clients, subcontractors, architects, and vendors. We see [those relationships] as the greatest priority to manage. And if the dollar is there at the end of the day, that’s also great.”

Praised by customers and respected by industry peers, Galaxy Builders has received dozens of awards over the decades. One of the Top 50 Privately Owned Companies in San Antonio, the company has been consistently recognized as among the Top 10 Largest San Antonio Building Contractors, according to the San Antonio Business Journal.

In addition, just some of the recent awards presented to the company by Associated General Contractors (AGC) include Outstanding Construction Awards for the Village at Roosevelt (2022), Aspire at Live Oak, and The Tobin Estate Apartments (2021). In 2021, Galaxy received Excellence in Construction for Edge & Stone Apartments from the Associated Builders (ABC), and the San Antonio Business Journal ranked the business Number 12 among the Fastest Growing Private Companies.

Prioritizing culture
While some builders like to see themselves as progressive, Galaxy has been ahead of the curve for 32 years. With a focus on recruitment, talent management, and growth within, the business has a team culture of respect and equality.

“We have female project managers,” says Verma. “Our Chief Operating Officer, Cara DeAnda, is female, and the majority of our back office, accounting, and support staff are women. At the end of the day, we look at each person regardless of race or gender. If they are qualified, they are qualified, and if they fit in with our core values and that family-type feel, then those are the people we want.”

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