JRM Construction Management

JRMPhoto Credit: Studios Architecture

Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, JRM Construction Management has carved a niche for itself with a client-first mentality. 
By Bianca Herron

David G. McWilliams, Joseph Romano and James Connolly launched JRM Construction Management in 2007 as a general contracting firm specializing in commercial interiors in various industries, including high-end corporate, retail and private schools.

Prior to starting the company the trio had worked together in some capacity over the past 20 years, Partner and President Romano says. Ten years later, the New York-based company has had significant growth, and now has 300 employees and additional offices in California and New Jersey.

With its annual average volume of $500 million, JRM’s clients are comprised of Fortune 500 companies, retailers, financial investment and law firms, and prestigious schools. The company strives to consistently provide high-quality work.

One of the keys to JRM’s success has been the involvement of ownership and senior level management, according to Romano. “No one sits at a desk and does nothing,” he says. “We all roll up our sleeves and are available 24/7.”

Celebrating a Decade

JRM celebrated its 10-year anniversary in April at New York City’s Hudson Yards. JRM had recently completed Coach’s headquarters at 10 Hudson Yards and held its celebration party in the building’s amenity space. “There was about 400 people in attendance and it was a great affair,” Romano says.

He adds that the party was a great reflection on the landmark projects JRM has completed throughout its decade in the industry, including the Discovery Center Times Square, Etsy’s headquarters, Sony and Squarespace, as well as the build-out of Smythson of Bond Street’s flagship retail location, which was completed in only nine weeks. JRM box

“As JRM moves forward, we want to continue finding good talent and adapting our operations to our clients’ needs,” Romano says. “I’m not too sure about how big we want to build the company, but we want to have great people on board who can handle the work and do a good job.”

Romano notes that strategic growth is key because JRM not only wants to maintain its long-term clients, but also work with new ones it can grow with. “We don’t like to only work with a client once,” he says. “We want to work with them on multiple occasions. That is why we strategically try to find clients that are growing, and are dynamic so that we can build long-term relationships with them.”

Maintaining long-term client relationships consists of not only completing exemplary work, but also taking note of the lessons that can be learned after a project is completed, he adds. “We can learn from our mistakes, which ensures we expand our service for the client furthermore,” Romano says.

Valuing Relationships

Just as it does its clients, JRM has longstanding relationships with many of its subcontractors. “We have worked with many for at least five years,” Romano explains.

He notes that subcontractors’ access to project leaders, including himself, has been a key factor in retaining trades. “Any subcontractor can pick up the phone and call me, Dave or Jimmy,” Romano says. “If they can’t reach us immediately, we’ll give them a call back within 24 hours. We understand that we are only as good as our subcontractors. So without them we are nothing.”

Romano says JRM is “always looking for new subcontractors because it keeps us competitive. However, we also find them through our client partnerships, so we’re not just soliciting anyone. We’re soliciting quality subcontractors that people know and have excellent relationships with.”

JRM’s 300 employees, many of whom have been with the company long-term, have also played a critical role in its success. “They are stellar, very good at what they do, hardworking and represent the company very well,” Romano says. “They are not only dedicated to JRM, but also to our clients.”

Many of the company’s employees are millennials who joined the company after graduation or through school fairs. JRM prides itself on promoting from within and providing employees with opportunities to grow, Romano notes. “We don’t want our employees to have the desire to seek employment elsewhere,” he says. “We want them to aspire to be whatever they want at JRM.”

To keep its employees engaged, JRM strives to provide them with the necessary resources and tools to get their jobs done. “We believe they need the space and necessary tools to be effective,” Romano says. “We have a very strong training program. We’re dedicating a lot of time, money and energy into training the younger generation to ensure JRM is still here for many years to come.”

Technology Impact

Technology plays a critical role in ensuring JRM’s operational efficiency. Recently the company spent more than $1 million to upgrade its software.

“We wanted to ensure our superintendents and projects managers could work more effectively in the field,” Romano explains. “We didn’t want them to log into our systems and get boggled down with delays. We want everything to be instantaneous for them.”

JRM uses some of the top programs in the industry including PlanGrid, which is a construction app that helps to reduce rework and keep blueprints up to date. PlanGrid can be downloaded on an iPhone, iPad, Android, laptops and tablets. 

“Instead of carrying around a roll of drawings, employees only need their laptop or tablet,” Romano says. “They can also mark up drawings, ask questions and provide feedback to the architects, or who ever they need, at a moment’s notice.

“It’s very important for our processes and systems to remain up-to-date with the latest technological innovations so to that we can remain nimble and adapt when necessary,” he adds.

Looking Ahead

JRM was launched during the economic downturn in 2007, and Romano notes that he is most proud that it has grown into a successful company with the right people.

“We built the company with integrity and by doing the right thing not only for our clients, but also for our employees,” he says proudly. “We have a great camaraderie here. I think people love coming to work at JRM and feel good about participating in our day-to-day activities.

“We have great people and clients,” Romano concludes. “From day one up until now, we’ve been growing and will only get better.”

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