Harmon was recently featured in the US Builders Review, a magazine for leading construction executives. The article, produced by Mike Armstrong and written by Camila Osorno has been included below. If you would like to view a digital copy of the magazine, please click here and choose the Summer 2011 Edition 2.
Harmon Construction, Inc.
Building Relationships Before Buildings
Produced by Mike Armstrong & Written by Camila Osorno
Tim Harmon founded Harmon Construction, Inc. (HCI) in 1987. Just five years after graduating from college, he launched the company, based in Olathe, Kan., with a vision that integrity, respect and professionalism would set him apart in a field not recognized for those qualities.
“I had been working for an international engineering contracting firm in Kansas City and they wanted to transfer me,” explains Harmon. “But, instead, I decided to stay put and start my own company.”
Today, HCI operates within a 200-mile radius of Kansas City, Kan., and has established itself as a general contracting firm that lives up to its motto of, “Building Relationships Before Buildings.” Harmon is dedicated to providing innovative design and construction solutions that exceed client expectations. He explains, “We have become known as a company that really delivers on its promises. We are the company you hire to build a structure and the same company that offers a warranty on that structure.”
The company is primarily a premier contractor in the commercial, healthcare and religious sectors, but has recently expanded. “In the last five years or so we have really grown our operations into the public sector. We have even hired staff with experience in that area, because our niche has expanded to include more government work, in addition to healthcare and regional retail clients,” explains Harmon. HCI is well versed in construction management, design-build, general contracting and integrated project delivery, allowing the company to establish a project delivery method that suits the power owner and provides a level of expertise, guidance and responsibility to set all at ease.
Growing into the Twenty-first Century
Dedicated to remaining proactive, HCI has also begun expanding its technological capabilities alongside its digital presence. Harmon comments, “We recently hired a marketing coordinator who has helped us create a social media presence, and she also encouraged us to pursue a new website design.
“Even though we had updated our existing site within the past 18 months, she convinced us that we were capable of doing much better,” continues Harmon. “Now we have a brand new website that we can update and maintain internally, and it also allows subcontractors to contact us more easily and to begin the pre-qualification process faster. We have also started releasing a new e-newsletter that has been very well received, and it’s paving the way for our sales and business development employees to become more recognizable.”
While dedicated to exploring new technological developments, Harmon does not let these efforts take away from what established the company’s success: delivering a full range of pre-construction and competitively priced building services that bring together a highly skilled team of design and trade professionals from start through final punch list. This comprehensive approach has allowed HCI to take on some showcase projects in its region.
“One of our most interesting projects was a re-adaptive use project we recently completed for Trinity Lutheran Church, in Shawnee, Kan.,” says Harmon. “The total cost of the project was roughly $2 million, but it was exciting for us because it was sustainability-inspired. The church purchased a building that was basically a barn structure that had been used to house some very expensive cars as an automobile museum. After the purchase we stripped back most of the timbers and re-used them for the staircases and some detailing on the ceiling. The bottom floor was then converted for use as a child development and daycare center, with the upper floor reserved for the worship space.”
The company also built a landmark location for a high profile gas station corporation. “We built the company’s 1,000th store in the chain,” says Harmon. “It was a very challenging job because the site had been used as a mechanical shop before being purchased, so we had to scrape the site and ensure that it was free from any remaining contamination and then build the structure in about four months.”
Thanks to the company’s expertise and experience, this high profile gas station corporation trusted HCI with what turned out to be a highly valuable test market. “The Harrisonville, Mo., location was also the first in the newly designed prototypes being built around the country and our first job for them,” states Harmon. “We are definitely building a relationship with them. Right now we have begun doing a lot of accessibility and life safety work at some of the different existing stores so we look forward to having a great and long-term relationship with this high profile gas station corporation.”
In It for the Long Haul
HCI primarily remains active through a high level of repeat customers, but every returning client begins as a new one, and these valuable opportunities can be obtained from even the most unexpected encounters. “Recently we have been very busy working for Cable-Dahmer Chevrolet, who has been a client of ours since 2003, which is a relationship that came along in a funny way,” explains Harmon. “I had been working on a job site and was looking to buy a new Suburban, so I asked one of the workers where he bought his new truck. So he referred me to Cable-Dahmer Chevrolet and on my way out to the dealership, I drove by a lot of other dealerships because it wasn’t very close.
“As I was talking to the financing employee, I mentioned that many of the other dealerships have been updated pretty recently and asked if they planned on updating their location any time soon,” continues Harmon. “He told me they were in fact looking to renovate the dealership. I ended up buying my car from them, and they hired us to take care of the renovations and addition to that location. We also switched the company cars to Chevys and Cable-Dahmer, which has since bought another dealership. We will be freshening up this property for them later this year. It’s definitely a continuing relationship and we’re hoping to do a lifetime of business with them.”
In the next few years, the company plans to continue maintaining its relationships with its clients along with a strong and positive presence in the community. “We’re building relationships with the FAA and are hoping to win a contract with the General Services Administration, in addition to doing work with some of the school districts here … we’re looking to expand, but we’re definitely not leaving. All of our employees, especially the management staff, are really involved in serving the community,” explains Harmon. “Johnson County, where our company is based, is one of the safest communities in the nation and has some of the best school districts not just in the state, but also in the nation. I’m also one of the chairmen for the local chamber of commerce so we’re very much invested in staying active in this community.”
Though the past few years of economic instability have prompted the company to diversify its business in anticipation of potential shifts, HCI is certainly optimistic about the future of the company. “The economy as a whole is coming back,” says Harmon. “The fundamentals are right and we just need to see some improvement in the private sector area to encourage business owners to risk capital investments and grow their businesses. I have been a business owner for 25 years and it is encouraging to see some companies thriving in this economy.
“I think we have built a good reputation over the past 25 years,” continues Harmon. “I am starting to look into a succession plan, but for now we’re going to stay focused on building relationships with long-term clients.”
With more than 30 years of experience, and recognition as a premier commercial contractor, Harmon will steer Harmon Construction Inc. in the right direction for continued growth.