The current structure maintains cores of expertise, but promotes greater maneuverability among employees, an approach Maibach says leverages their skill sets and the potential to enhance them with cross-training. "We've beneficially integrated ourselves," he says. "By functioning as a single entity, we can more readily connect the dots when a business opportunity arises."
Management, meantime, has gained a bird's eye view of operations. Under Binkowski's direction, a team of 10 oversees activity in the central market, with members ranging from market managers to managers whose departments support market development and activity, including preconstruction, finance and work acquisition. By surveying the entire pipeline, the team of 10 is better able to pool resources to address the ebb and flow of markets.
The revised structure is in service of a model seeking a more selective balance of project and market mixes. "One of the hardest things in our business is saying no to an opportunity," says Ivanikiw. "Like any company, we have cash limitations, people limitations, surety limitations, so how do you best utilize those resources to support healthy and consistent growth?"
"History tells us that high growth can be followed by problems, so we've developed a model more supportive of sustained growth," says Binkowski. To ensure resources aren't overstretched, nor markets underserved, the model mandates that no single market sector account for more than 25% of revenue across the firm's three geographic markets.
"We're bumping up against that percentage in a couple of market sectors," says Ivanikiw. In sports and arenas, the firm nailed two plum regional contracts this year: a $450-million Events Center for the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings, which it will construct in a joint venture with Detroit-based White Construction and Indianapolis-based Hunt Construction Group, and University of Notre Dame's $400-million Campus Crossroads project, which includes alterations and additions to the school's iconic football stadium.
In April, a week after landing the Red Wings project, the firm was selected to build an $85-million stadium for the Orlando City Soccer Club in Florida. Weeks later, Barton Malow was one of four companies awarded contracts to construct a $622-million stadium for Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves.
"I don't want to give the impression we're no longer open for business in sports and arenas, but we're reaching a point where we may need to be more selective," says Ivanikiw. An overriding objective is that the work meet multiple strategic objectives. "We don't pursue projects for the sake of pursuing projects," says Maibach. "We pursue projects that have the potential to grow and develop staff, grow and develop our presence in a building or geographic market or further relationships with clients."
The Events Center "not only maintains our prominence in sports and arenas, but bolsters our presence in Detroit, which is home to us," says Maibach. "It also allows us to partner with builders with whom we hope to build lasting relationships."
Most importantly, the project is "impactful," he says. "At our core, we're builders and enjoy engaging in projects that are unique, challenging and make a lasting impact on their environments. That's certainly a common denominator among projects like FRIB and Broad Museum. They're projects a builder may encounter only once in a lifetime."
"If it's a simple project, we're probably not going to execute very well," says Ivanikiw. "There's nothing wrong with building a big box. We just don't get any excitement from it. Our culture has always been about improvement and trying to be better than the last time around. The best way to do that is to take on those challenging projects and learn from them."