2 min read February 2023 — In an interview with Invest:, Nate Marty, CEO of Auld & White Constructors LLC, discussed the company’s success during the pandemic, its emphasis on team culture and retention and his outlook for the construction market in Northeast Florida.
What were some of the significant takeaways and successes for Auld & White Constructors during the past year?
Geographically, we are locally focused in Northeast Florida and treat each of our projects with the utmost importance. Our team has demonstrated exceptional resilience and determination over the past couple of years while navigating the challenges of the pandemic, supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures. Thanks to their hard work and effectiveness, we have been able to consistently deliver outstanding results for our clients. As a result, we have seen strong profitability over the last two years. None of this would have been possible without the dedication and commitment of our team members and our strong ties to the community.
To what do you credit the culture of retention that Auld & White Constructors is known for?
We have a solid foundation, having been in business for over 35 years. Our focus has consistently remained on Northeast Florida, which has enabled us to ensure the safety of all of our team members each day. Additionally, we have made a concerted effort to implement strategies that benefit our employees, such as revising PTO policies, adjusting compensation and organizing events like BBQs and casino nights to foster camaraderie and encourage team building.
We believe in fostering a sense of community among our team members by providing opportunities for them to interact and get to know each other outside of the office. This approach has contributed to the high retention rate among our staff. We prioritize fostering a family atmosphere, which is one of the reasons for the success of our company. Additionally, we value the input of our employees and take their feedback seriously. We evaluate their suggestions and have implemented recommendations from our employees in the past. We strive to create an environment where all team members can thrive.
What are some of the strengths and challenges for the construction market in Northeast Florida?
The past five years have been positive for Northeast Florida, with an influx of new residents driving demand for both residential and commercial projects. We had one of our strongest years in 2022 and have a strong backlog for 2023. The region is expected to be somewhat insulated from inflationary corrections thanks to the continued growth in population. However, there may be some adjustments in the later part of 2023 and into 2024 but we do not anticipate a significant impact.
We anticipate some improvements in the supply chain, such as a decrease in lumber prices. However, obtaining financing at reasonable interest rates for private sector clients may continue to be a challenge, putting pressure on the proformas of new projects.
Attracting and retaining talented team members will continue to be a challenge but we believe we have a competitive advantage as we offer employees the opportunity to work close to home and maintain a good work-life balance. Our retention rate has been strong over the last three years and we are optimistic about our ability to continue growing our team with exceptional individuals.
How has your company adapted to the use of technology to improve efficiency and what specific technologies are you using in your projects?
We have a proactive approach to embracing technology. During the pandemic, we quickly adapted by moving all our information to the cloud, enabling our team to work remotely. We also use technology for MEP trade coordination and clash detection on our larger and more complex projects, especially those that include a prefabrication component, such as mechanical ductwork, fire protection and electrical rooms. We are undertaking two significant renovations Downtown and we were able to use building scans to create more accurate documents and increase efficiency during construction, ultimately saving our clients’ money. We also utilize drone footage and cameras to create “as-built” images, which we are using for our projects with Baptist Health and other local healthcare partners. Our IT manager also serves as a consultant for projects that have IT solution needs. We understand that not all of our clients have dedicated staff for this, so we offer this service as a value-add.
What factors have contributed to your company’s success in the Northeast Florida construction market?
There are a few key factors that benefit the construction industry in Northeast Florida, one of which is Gov. Ron DeSantis, who understands the crucial role of the private sector in driving the economy. Our local ABC chapter also does an outstanding job of monitoring legislation that may impact construction. For example, recent legislation on sales tax in Duval County has been a game-changer. We are fortunate to be one of the local construction firms selected to update public schools. This partnership has resulted in a significant amount of work in our pipeline.
What is your outlook for the commercial construction sector in Northeast Florida for the near term?
2023 has the potential to be our strongest year yet in terms of revenue. Our primary goal is always to maintain strong profitability and reward our team members for their effectiveness. While 2024 may present some challenges, such as a correction that could impact overall revenue and stress margins, we do not anticipate it to be as significant as it could be in other regions of the United States. We believe that Florida’s favorable demographics over the next five years will provide opportunities for our continued success by focusing on the Northeast Florida market.
In the coming years, we plan to hire additional employees in key positions, such as superintendents and project managers, to support and lead our growing workload. With 80 to 85% of our work coming from repeat clients, this will ensure we can continue to serve them effectively regardless of market conditions. Our diversification across several construction market sectors, including commercial, healthcare, and public, also positions us well to weather any market corrections.
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