Looking through Shawmut Design and Construction's portfolio is like browsing a list of who's who in the industry. Headquartered in Boston, the firm has strategically placed its other offices to focus on clients in New York; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; North Haven, Conn.; Providence, R.I.; and West Springfield, Mass.
The 33-year-old, $968-million national construction management firm is known for completing complex and logistically challenging projects for retail stores such as Louis Vuitton, Polo Ralph Lauren and Christian Dior; high-end hotels; celebrity-chef restaurants; Ivy League universities; and other clients with a need for heightened detail and a touch of class.
Shawmut meets the special needs of its A-list clientele with a customer-service model that makes it feel like a much smaller contractor. Specialized groups—called project teams—focus their expertise within one of Shawmut's eight divisions: academic, tenant interiors, cultural and historic, health care and life sciences, hotel, restaurant, retail and sports venues.
Each team is designed to operate like a $30-million to $60-million business. A project executive leads a Shawmut team that stays with a client from project to project on a nationwide basis and provides continuity and a single point of contact. The project executive serves as the team's account manager, determines staffing needs and directs all budgeting, scheduling and procurement.
"We're a large company and we're proud of that. We're also proud of our highly personal service—the kind you'd expect from a smaller company," says Les Hiscoe, Shawmut president and incoming CEO. Hiscoe will succeed current CEO Tom Goemaat, who is retiring July 1.
"Our project executives handle one or two customers," Hiscoe adds. "These feel like small business owners running a small segment. We want the customer to feel that personal attention of a small company but with absolute confidence in the resources of a large company."
"The result is the best of both worlds—the horsepower of a billion-dollar company with focused service from these individual smaller groups," adds Randy Shelly, Shawmut vice president. "The fact that we do work nationally appeals to many clients. They know what they're going to get from one project to the next, and it eliminates risk for them. Instead of finding a contractor in each city, they know we will deliver. It's a luxury for them to have someone they know anywhere in the country."
"When you think of luxury [builders], the first thing you think of in this industry is Shawmut," says Loretta Turk, senior director of construction for Ralph Lauren. "Shawmut has the experience, knowledge and longevity of doing high-end retail stores. You're dealing with your [Shawmut] rep, but there's a team behind them supporting you from the back of the house."
Shawmut completed Polo Ralph Lauren's new 35,000-sq-ft flagship store in New York City last summer. Located on Fifth Avenue in the Coca-Cola Building, the high-end site includes four working fireplaces, custom carved wood, stone and river rock and the Polo Ralph Lauren restaurant.