IMC Construction Inc.

IMC Construction Inc. has grown to become a leading general contractor and construction manager on the national building scene because it understands that construction isn’t just about building structures, it’s about building relationships and keeping them. The company was founded in 1975 by Chairman Emeritus Tom Williams and his father, Buck Williams. What started as a small contracting business with three or four employees working out of a small, residential-style office has grown to 70 employees working out of IMC’s 25,0000-square-foot, LEED Gold-certified headquarters in Malvern, Pa.

As the company celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, it looks back on its history with a great sense of pride. “The loyalty and trust that our clients have in us is what I’m most proud of,” says partner and Vice President of Pre­construction Mike Ryan, who has been with the company for 27 years. In the past, about 75 percent of IMC’s business has come from repeat clients, he remarks. In recent times, when the private market was hit by the economic downturn, IMC began pursuing more work in the public market and building relationships with new clients.

Maintaining Loyalty

IMC recently completed a $30 million expansion for the Pennsylvania College of Technology and currently is building a middle school in Phoenixville Township, Pa., and three high schools in the Harrisburg, Pa., region. It began aggressively pursuing public work to stay loyal to a promise it made to its employees. “Throughout this downturn, we’ve had no significant layoffs,” Ryan notes. “Our philosophy going into the recession was to aggressively pursue the work that was available, even at reduced margins, in order to keep our employees working.”

That’s one reason why IMC has been consistently ranked as one of the best places to work in its area. Partner and Contract Manager Ed Shields – who has been with the company for 13 years – says IMC fosters an atmosphere of collaboration, which makes it an enjoyable place to work. “Everyone’s ideas are respected and appreciated,” he states. “There is a lot of group discussion and support from upper management as well as your peers. It’s a family atmosphere, and the owners are very family oriented. They understand the need for balance between your work and personal life.”

As a result, employees at IMC are loyal in return. “We have a lot of long-term employees,” Ryan says. “That’s important in our business – having people that you trust to maintain those relationships and keep clients’ interests at heart. And although we do work with many of the same subcontractors, working in the public sector has created new relationships with subcontractors that are already comfortable working in that market. I think it will pay dividends in the future, but now it takes more time and effort to build the loyalty that’s vital to getting projects done the right way.”

IMC has high standards of quality to which its subcontractors must abide, he explains. “We have always had an excellent reputation in this market,” Ryan notes. “It has been a challenge to uphold our standards of delivery while trying to protect the bottom line. It’s become much more difficult and required many more sacrifices. We’re forced to do more with less, but have been able to achieve that by sticking to our core values on client satisfaction and delivery.”

Sustainable Structures

IMC has developed a strong reputation for building complex and sophisticated structures in a diverse range of markets, including commercial, institutional, industrial and multifamily residential. In January 2010, it began construction on the 50,000-square-foot world headquarters for a local, privately held corporation in Warminster, Pa. The $11 million project will seek LEED Platinum certification when it is completed in February. Some key green features include geothermal heating, solar electric power and a rain harvesting system. 

“It’s not your typical office building,” Shields remarks. “It’s a wood-frame, glue-laminated structure, and only a handful of companies manufacture those, especially in the sizes of the arches we used here. It’s challenging to incorporate all of the design features required for LEED with the complex architectural features. But so far, the subcontractors have done very well, and the client is thrilled with the way it’s all coming together.”

IMC considers itself an expert in green building and has been ranked among the top-100 green building contractors by Engineering News-Record. “Right from the inception of LEED, we had several employees accredited and currently have the majority of our staff Green Advantage certified,” Ryan says. “Our director of sustainability is also on the Delaware Valley Green Building Council. Over 50 percent of our work is LEED certified, including our own headquarters.” 

The company also has a full-time staff dedicated to BIM and other technologically advanced systems, which differentiate IMC from the competition, he adds.

Future Looks Promising

Looking forward, IMC intends to focus on a “new, reinvented core value,” Ryan says. “We want to focus more on our clients’ problems and the client’s business as opposed to just being focused on our own problems and our own business,” he states. “We feel like there are a lot of contractors out there that are good at focusing on what it takes to get their job done, not what it takes to help the client address their business challenges, whether it’s related to the performance of the building, the schedule of the building or the cost of the building.”

“Our goal is to continue our growth and to provide opportunities for future partners,” Shields adds. “We are going to continue to diversify into fields that we are not currently in and continue to be a leader in our profession and in the community.”

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