Wall Works USA Inc.

A diverse set of capabilities helps Wall Works USA Inc. maintain its position as one of the eastern seaboard’s top residential renovation companies. “Wall Works USA Inc. is a unique construction company, being that we are not a typical general contractor relying solely on a distribution base for materials, nor do we rely upon the typical contractor and subcontractor relationships to perform our contracts,” President and owner Stephen Hodgins says.

“Our company is a mix of self-performing material management, manufacturing, delivery systems, sales and marketing, and professional tradesmen who in conjunction with our team of exclusive subcontractors offer a hallmark turnkey construction operation service the multifamily industry exclusively.”

The company offers turnkey demolition, renovation, rehabilitation and up-fit services including design and reconstruction. Wall Works USA’s expertise also includes work on structural, electrical, lighting, plumbing, natural gas, HVAC and mechanical systems.

In addition to its headquarters in Annapolis, Md.; the company operates regional facilities in Atlanta; Miami; Raleigh, N.C.; and Tidewater, Va. The regional locations allow the company to efficiently and effectively serve clients, it says.

Wall Works USA is also a certified historic preservation contractor experienced with and capable of historic building preservation and renovation under the guidance of Eleanor Krause of RK TECTS Architecture and Federal and State Historical Preservation Offices. The certification/accreditation allows the company to work on any house listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The company has renovated or rehabilitated more than 100 structures throughout its history.

“There are very few companies that have this certification,” Hodgins says. “This opens doors to us that may not be open to others.”

Products and Services

Wall Works USA offers clients a range of interior systems including drywall and paneling; hardwood, ceramic, vinyl composition tile, stone, linoleum and carpet flooring; and acoustical, wood, metal, luminous and decorative ceilings. Company personnel install thousands of square feet of walls, flooring and ceilings annually, the company says.

In addition, the company is experienced in installing kitchen and bathroom cabinetry and countertops from leading national manufacturers including Cartier, Armstrong and Legacy.

Wall Works USA’s tradesmen are also experienced in installing exterior components such as doors, windows and window blinds. Other capabilities include installing building structural and finish components, exterior painting, siding, masonry, balconies/patios, roofs, landscaping, concrete, and paving. The company offers high quality products from manufacturers including Anderson, Silverline and Pella.

The company is a licensed Class A contractor and employs several in-house licensed master plumbers and master electricians.

Major Projects

One of Wall Works USA’s specialties is renovating military housing including historic homes. Current military projects include renovations on two generals’ houses at West Point Military Academy, and work on admirals’ quarters at the Washington Navy Yard. The company reports $8 million in military-related sales in 2010.

Significant past projects include the $1.5 million renovation of the historic Cape Henry House at Fort Story in Newport News, Va. The project, completed in April 2010, included demolishing existing additions to the home and building a new sun porch, repairing concrete walkways, window rehabilitation and major roof repairs. 

The company in 2010 completed the renovation of 136 multifamily units at the U.S. Army’s Fort Eustis in Newport News. The nearly two year, $3.9 million project included the demolition of existing kitchen and bathroom cabinets, countertops, appliances and other fixtures, and the installation of new flooring, doors, plumbing and electrical fixtures, HVAC units and windows. 

The company also repainted all walls and ceilings in the complex. Wall Works USA’s efforts on the project earned it a rare 99 out of 100 score in a federal inspection, as well as top honors from prominent construction firm Balfour Beatty, who served as construction managers on the project.

Wall Works was awarded the firm’s Coin of Excellence, an award normally reserved for Balfour Beatty employees, Hodgins says.

One significant non-military project is the ongoing renovation of the 10-story Potomac Towers apartment complex in Arlington, Va. The $3.8 million contract includes interior kitchen renovations, an electrical service upgrade, and the reconstruction of several of the building’s 417 units to Americans With Disabilities Act specifications. 

The company prides itself on its ability to deliver on time and on-budget projects to all of its customers, both in the military and non-military sectors. This is ensured in part by Hodgins himself, who says he takes a hands-on approach to project management on all levels. “All new work is personally handled by myself for design implementation, value engineering and production scheduling,” he adds. “I furnish my team with a comprehensive turnover package to run with the job.” 

Key Investments

Wall Works USA’s diverse capabilities and experience with public and private sector projects, as well as several key investments, have helped the company navigate through the difficult construction market brought on by the national recession.

“Given our geographic placement of regional locations and a mix of products and services spread between multiple sectors, we have not been affected as dramatically as others,” Hodgins says. “This mix, as we call it, is much the same as a balanced retirement investment fund: marginalize the risks with a differed combination of a variety of stocks and bonds. We have utilized this strategy in our business models and practices.”

“We recognized early enough the downward trend in production and adjusted our inventory levels and staffing requirements to avert major impact to the corporations,” he adds.

Wall Works USA has also established two separate companies to handle investments not directly related to the renovation business. MIRBS Investments, established in 2002, has invested in areas such as trucking and cabinet making that allow Wall Works to increase its vertical integration. 

A second company, Units Inc./Dragone Realty Investments LLC, owns and manages a number of eastern seaboard multifamily residential properties.

“These investments, and our geographic territories, have helped us smooth out the peaks and valleys of the economy,” Hodgins says. 

Dragone’s holdings include the 215-unit The Verona at Silver Hill apartment complex in Suitland, Md.; The Marconi, a 198-unit complex in Temple Hills, Md.; Park Laurel apartments, a 571-unit complex in Laurel, Md.; and The Verona at Oakland Mills, a 220-unit complex in Columbia, Md. Wall Works is the exclusive construction manager on these properties.

Dragone and Wall Works in 2007 formed a strategic alliance with HSBC Bank in Manhattan, N.Y. and Potomac Capitol Advisors of Bethesda, Md., for joint venture residential community acquisitions.

“We provide institutional investors a cohesive unit with a proven track record in each of our respective disciplines,” Dragone says. “Our comprehensive process leverages expertise in every specialty to effectively analyze and efficiently acquire multifamily communities.”

Years of Experience

Hodgins established Wall Works USA Inc. in 1999 with William W. White. The company was established as a new company based on a joint venture between White, who owned Wall Works Inc., a painting contractor; and Hodgins, who previously formed Hodgins Becker Corp. Hodgins became sole owner of the company in 2010.

Many of the predecessor companies’ staff and clients remained with the new venture after it formed. One client, Grady Property Management, has worked with the company for 25 years. “Our model is to get the customers and then keep them happy,” Hodgins says. “Anyone can get a job, but keeping a customer happy for that period of time says something about your company.” 

Hodgins also credits an experienced staff and key personnel including regional operations directors Steve Wyatt and Gerald Alden, operation manager Rick Zimmerman, and Controller/General Manager Kimberly Grimes with their role in the company’s continued success. “We have a number of project managers and other key people who carry the ball here as far as day-to-day operations go,” he adds.

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