O’Malley Construction Co.

O’Malley Construction works hard to build bonds with clients and employees. The general economy is in a recession, but it is not noticeable for O’Malley Construction Co., based in the Chicago suburbs. The general contractor is staying busy catering to the needs of its clients with which it has established long-standing relationships.

Owner Tom O’Malley says, “as far as growth in the down economy, we attribute that to our dedicated employee base.” O’Malley Construction takes pride in the fact that 75 percent of its business is from repeat customers.

The company mainly serves the Chicago area in commercial projects in the industrial, manufacturing, medical, education, retail and office space market. The services it provides include preconstruction, estimating, site reviews, construction management, general contracting, value-engineering, project management and post-construction close-out. O’Malley and his brother Pat, both of whom are third-generation builders, founded the company in 1995.

“From small interior renovations to new construction, the O’Malley Construction team has experience with all facets of commercial construction,” the company says. “The level of communication and the team approach that we apply to every project is critical to the ultimate success of the client, as well as ourselves.”

The strong relationships the company establishes with its clients are based on the success of past projects. “It is [our] attention to detail,” Director of Business Development Jarrett Joyce says. “Over the years, we have established strong relationships with subcontractors, architects and engineers that understand and appreciate our approach in completing a successful project.”

Another factor that distinguishes the company is the owners’ involvement in projects. O’Malley Construction is a mid-sized firm with about 45 employees, so it can pay close attention to the needs of its clients and their projects. “Pat and I, we try not to micromanage people, but we are always involved in projects [to a certain degree],” O’Malley adds. “We are totally committed to the success of all projects, big and small.”

The company’s project staff is always heavily involved in projects, Joyce adds. “Project managers and field supervisors are involved in project meetings,” he says. “We get their opinions before [a budget is established], and opinions on day-to-day [activities]. Our staff is given the freedom to add value to the job.”

Team Approach

O’Malley acknowledges that its team is the main reason for the company’s success. It strives to hire a work force that is self-sufficient, has common sense and boasts other positive characteristics.

He is very proud of his work force. “They work with customers and find simple ways to solve problems on jobs – they try to find solutions,” O’Malley says. “Some companies will just point out a problem, we like to take on problems offering solutions.”

O’Malley Construction also strives to hold its employees accountable for their work, and it also makes them feel like a part of the firm. “I think the biggest thing is that people feel like they are a part of something as opposed to just working for someone,” he says. “They feel like they are an extension of O’Malley, and they feel like they are a part of the O’Malley reputation.”

To implement that teamwork atmosphere, the company holds social events several times a year with its employees. For example, it holds a picnic once a summer during one of the Cubs vs. White Sox games. “We have some people wearing [White Sox first baseman Paul] Konerko jerseys and others wearing [Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee] jerseys,” he says.

It also holds Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day parties. “We don’t overwhelm ourselves, but we try to get together several times a year so [employees] feel that they are a part of the group,” O’Malley says.

The company doesn’t limit this treatment to employees. “The same thing with the subs,” he says. “They have the right skills and labor, and they help make our jobs run smoothly. We’re only as good as [the team].”

“Our subcontractors are a key component of O’Malley’s success over the years,” the company says. “We value the relationships we have built with each of them and we are confident that the team approach is the most efficient way to handle a project.”

Building a Reputation

O’Malley Construction will celebrate its 15th anniversary in February 2011, and O’Malley says the company is more successful than he and his brother predicted it would be. “It has exceeded our expectations because of our people,” O’Malley says. “My brother Pat and I agreed if we were to work as hard as we did for our current employer, we would not fail as O’Malley Construction.”

O’Malley says the No. 1 piece of advice he would give to others in the industry is to “keep doing what you’re doing. Stick with what you are good at and trust your instinct and your gut.” That has helped O’Malley Construction be successful. “The reality is, we haven’t changed our course,” he notes. “[Because of that] we’re not cutting back. Some companies are cutting back because of overhead, [but O’Malley Construction isn’t in that situation].”

He also encourages contractors to get out more. “My advice is that folks should come out of the office and into the field,” he says.

Giving Back

At only 14 years old, O’Malley Construction has already established a reputation for philanthropy. “Since the staff at O’Malley are all Chicago natives, we strongly believe in investing in the community and giving back,” the company says. “There are a number of charitable organizations that O’Malley has participated in over the life of the company.”

These organizations include:

  • The Spina Bifida Association of Illinois;
  • The MONARCH Charitable Organization, which is dedicated to helping children who are afflicted by illness, disability, abuse or poverty;
  • The Special Olympics; and
  • The Big Shoulders Fund, which supports Catholic schools in inner-city Chicago neighborhoods with scholarships, faculty support and other programs.

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