US Builders Review Spring 2012
Timberline Construction Corporation (TCC) is one of the Northeast’s most diverse general contracting companies. In the past 10 years TCC has managed to find significant growth despite a trying economic climate, largely due to the company’s talented and focused professionals’ ability to rise to the occasion and thrive in a challenging environment. This is thanks to the team’s diverse talents, a commitment to quality workmanship, and a desire to go beyond traditional general contracting capabilities. TCC takes pride in collaborating with clients and subcontractors to find the right approach for every challenge. The company’s dynamic team strives not solely to complete one project, but to approach every job as the first in a long-lasting relationship with the client.
TCC’s roots date back to 1999, but the company came to resemble its current form beginning in 2002 when Steven P. Kelly, TCC’s current owner and president, acquired the company and dedicated efforts to grow its Wireless Telecommunications operations throughout New England to become one of the largest general contractors within that sector and region. As TCC built its reputation for constructing some of the most challenging sites and complex systems within the telecommunications sector, the company laid the foundation to begin the sector diversification necessary to establish TCC as a premier general contracting and construction management firm. Operating with the vision of a multi-sector business platform, TCC has been able to penetrate many new sectors, which not only contributed to growth in a down economy but also has positioned the company well for exponential growth during the economic recovery. “2002 was a challenging and transitional year for us, but despite our growing pains we managed to nearly triple our revenues in that first year and really establish the foundation for the future of the company,” says Steven. Within five years the company had grown so fast that TCC expanded into its current headquarters in Canton, Mass., with 35,000 square feet of building on six acres of land and enough room to house a sizeable labor team. TCC employs a staff of RF technicians, carpenters, laborers, electricians, and civil/concrete crews, as well as safety managers, to conscientiously self-perform more work than the average general contractor, as a result TCC is able to provide the client with a better value and the assurance of tighter quality control. The company’s honest, open approach, exceptional service and competitive pricing cemented TCC’s business in telecommunications and further allowed TCC a broader presence in commercial, institutional and residential markets.
A New Era
“We really began to diversify and penetrate new sectors in 2007, which unfortunately coincided with the collapse of the American economy, but because of our range in experience and our ability to self-perform more work we have been able to establish a foothold in a few key markets that are growing,” expands Kelly. TCC has since renovated over 50 Starbucks locations across New England and began building the coffee giant’s new sustainable prototype in 2010. Additionally, TCC counts major corporations, including Stop & Shop and Hannaford supermarkets, Au Bon Pain, LA Fitness, Homewood Suites by Hilton Hotels, UMass Memorial Medical Center and The Forsyth Institute as clients. Today, TCC is still one of the major general contractors in the wireless telecommunications market with a portfolio that includes work for all major wireless providers, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro PCS, Sprint, Clearwire and Cox. Working for all major wireless carriers directly or with companies including Bechtel, Jacobs Engineering and General Dynamics, as well as many more specialized clients, TCC builds all models of sites including self-supporting towers, monopoles, flagpoles, rooftop systems, water tanks, smoke stacks and church steeples. The company has also installed specialized DAS systems with fiber backbones in a variety of applications including Boston’s Logan Airport and Central Artery tunnel system. The comprehensive grasp of projects’ needs from preconstruction through site acceptance has helped fuel much of TCC’s growth. Because of the company’s reputation in the wireless arena, TCC was invited to work in tandem with Nextel and the United States Secret Service to provide full wireless coverage and safety for the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. The project required the construction of sites in three major hotels fully equipped with electrical, HVAC, fire alarm and radio frequency systems in just a three-week timeframe. TCC installed DAS systems with crews working around the clock. It was a daunting challenge given the short timeframe, but failure was not an option. More recently, TCC’s telecommunication team has been hard at work building new communications towers, including one in a New England state park to be utilized by the State of Maine and the United States Customs and Border Patrol. The site required blasting of ledge and the construction of a small building, a solar array that will be mounted on anchors drilled 50 feet into the bedrock of the mountain to power the equipment within the building, as well as a cell tower with microwave dishes that will be disguised to resemble a park ranger station. The site is so remote that it is only accessible by helicopter for all labor, equipment and materials. “We have three different sizes of helicopters running from base camp up to the building site depending on the phase, so the proper prior planning of each phase is critical,” admits Steven. Because of the site’s location on top of a mountain, all structures will be heavily reinforced to withstand high winds. In this case TCC crews will be drilling rock anchors over 50-feet deep into solid granite to secure the cell tower and blasting ledge for the building’s foundation. Even though the team is using a variety of helicopters to account for different load sizes and weather conditions, elements are subject to change constantly and having to react quickly to changing conditions is common. “We do our best to coordinate with the team ahead of time and prepare for the task at hand, but we also need to be planning contingency measures,” says Steven.
A Targeted Approach
In the coming years TCC will continue to focus on expanding its presence in new market sectors – including healthcare, hospitality, data center, academic, corporate, residential, retail, restaurant, supermarkets, and industrial – prioritizing those that can take advantage of TCC’s diverse abilities, attention to detail and penchant for technically challenging projects. In the past two years, TCC completed major mechanical and electrical upgrade work on two data centers in Massachusetts for Verizon Wireless. Crews installed new electrical components, new HVAC systems andfire suppression systems. Given the highly sensitive and technical nature of data centers, TCC coordinated extensively with the client to devise plans to ensure seamless operation of all the building’s systems during construction. In late 2011 TCC crews were also hard at work completing the construction of a new hotel. “It has been a great opportunity for our team and it may not be the largest project in the area, but it is one of the few new construction projects and we hope it will further our presence in the hospitality sector,” says Steven. In the next few years Steven hopes to see the company expand its presence within the institutional sectors of healthcare and higher education that have remained fairly stable throughout the economic downturn. TCC’s smart, enthusiastic teams, diverse offerings, flexibility and stability, plus its big company experience with small company attention, will fuel the company’s further growth in commercial and institutional markets. Backed by a strong reputation for straightforward, open communications, quality workmanship and timely completion, as well as a commitment to the client relationship, Timberline Construction Corporation is poised to find further success across its diverse sector portfolio.