Walsh Group - American Greetings headquarters

Walsh Group American Greetings picExceptional performance on projects like the American Greetings headquarters allows Walsh Group to create strong ties to clients, vendors and communities.
By Eric Slack

Headquartered in Chicago, Walsh Group is a client focused fourth generation family-owned business. Evolving from humble origins in Matthew Myles Walsh’s basement to a revitalization initiated by the Walsh children, the company now has 18 regional offices located strategically across the country. Since 1898, Walsh Group has provided general contracting, construction management and design-build services to a variety of clients nationwide.

Today, the company’s revenues are in excess of $5 billion. Ranked the 14th-largest U.S. national contractor in the Engineering News-Record Top 400 List, Walsh Group is an industry leader with the experience and resources to provide the clients with services specific to their needs at the best value. 

Full Service

The Walsh Group provides services through its Walsh Construction and Archer Western Construction primary subsidiaries. The company’s clients include a mix of private, public and federal stakeholders over a wide array of market sectors, including aviation, commercial office, correctional, data centers, education, government, healthcare, high-rise residential, hospitality, industrial, parking, parks and entertainment, retail, senior living, ware/distribution and heavy civil.

“Our market focus spans a vast range of project types,” Vice President Kevin Swain says. “Each one demands unique, client-focused solutions. We integrate the lessons learned from our diverse portfolio, applying this superior knowledge base from one project to the next. The result is a cross-market approach offering multi-faceted, highly informed solutions.” Walsh Group box

The Walsh Group’s success has allowed the company to conduct a lot of work for repeat clients across the country. The company’s focus is squarely on the clients’ needs and providing services that provide solutions. 

“It is as important to be the right partner for a client as it is for the Client to be the right partner for us,” Swain says. “Our mission statement is clear that we strive to be the ‘Builder of Choice for our Customers,’ but our approach is much more than a builder. We are a partner that offers a multifaceted service that will exceed the clients’ expectations by looking to resolve the clients’ needs that are above and beyond a new building or project.”

True Partner

Safety and community are also important to the Walsh Group. Protecting the lives of its clients, employees, subcontractors and the public is what the company says is its greatest value and guides its philosophy. The company’s leaders recognize their responsibility to establish and maintain exceptional work environments across all jobsites and offices. Their commitment is demonstrated through the company’s award-winning safety performance and guided by a core safety program that relies on training, planning, measuring and relating.

“Our methodology of achieving safety excellence relies on a simple approach and message: ‘No One Gets Hurt,’” Swain says.

Walsh is also committed to investing in the communities where it works and live. The company’s growth and development is rooted in these neighborhoods. From working with local organizations to repairing houses, the company is dedicated to giving back. It understands that its projects provide employment and training for the community during each project, opening the door of opportunity within the trades and construction management fields.

Additionally, the company facilitates minority participation on both public and private projects. It strives to surpass the MBE/WBE requirements established by the client. Recognized as a true champion of minority participation, community-based organizations, advocacy groups and trade organizations alike have honored Walsh with numerous affirmative action awards. It has also created many community relations and residency hiring programs, further weaving its work with daily lives of its constituents.

“Walsh takes pride in our influence on the people that our facilities embrace as well as the cityscapes across the country we change,” Swain says.

Coming Through

Among the projects the Walsh Group has focused on recently is the American Greetings headquarters project. The opportunity came about because an architecture and engineering partner recommended Walsh for the project.

“Our partnerships and teams go beyond clients,” Swain says. “Our partner had worked with us before and shared the same values of partnerships, collaboration and successes that we do. Because of that, they recommended us to the ownership of American Greetings as someone they should consider.”

The project is a $100 million, 660,000-square-foot project that was scheduled for construction in 21 months. It is a campus setting project that includes a 30,000-square-foot courtyard and a 40,000-square-foot plaza. MGAC serves as the owner’s representative, and a number of additional vendors and subcontractor have been critical to the process. 

“The team and all stakeholders have created an open and constant communication plan that effectively controls the project,” Swain says. “The team conducts focused meetings to review details as well as weekly owner, architect and contractor meetings to discuss status and track milestones. This open approach keeps everyone on the same page and allows the team to work together to support each other with one goal in mind.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge on the project is the fact that it always had a tight schedule. American Greetings had a strict timeline to move out of its existing facilities and into a new office building in less than two years. This would require substantial coordination and a large workforce to maintain and complete. 

“As we are now a month away from the first move-in, I am happy to say that working together as a partner with all stakeholders for this project, our mutual teams have moved mountains and we will meet the owner’s move-in dates and requirements,” Swain says.   

Having already developed a reputation for tackling many complex projects and providing well-rounded services that can surpass client expectations, Walsh’s performance on the American Greetings headquarters project should be another feather in its cap. The company is proud that this project has created another friendship and partnership that will last many years to come, and this project will be the cornerstone of that relationship.

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