G. Greene Construction Co. Inc.

G Greene

 G. Greene Construction empowers millennial workers to push new technologies and develop different ways of communicating that add more value for its clients in the occupied space market.

By Tim O’Connor

Most any company will tell you that its most valuable commodity is its people. So when G. Greene Construction finds someone who shares its values and has the fortitude to put the client ahead of their own company, it is quick to add that person to its team. “We don’t wait for a need,” says Tim King, director of business development. “We make sure if there is someone good out there we talk with them, qualify them and give them an opportunity to join our team.”

Many of those good employees are skewing younger. King credits the company’s ability to remain at the forefront of new technologies and evolving construction methods to its embrace of millennial workers who are fresh out of college. “We need to have that energy, that intelligence, that technological savvy,” King says. “We need that basis to stay on top of how our clients expect us to approach and deliver a project.”G Greene info box

Young employees are encouraged to provide technological and social input on how to best run a project. G. Greene Construction has discovered that recent graduates an adept at creating workplaces where they can manage in a collaborative and commutative spirit, which translates well to project management between the contractor, client and architect. “It’s a much higher level of communication that we enjoy and learn from younger to mid professionals,” King explains.

Gabe Greene founded his namesake company in 1966 as a one-man operation. The company originally operated out of Greene’s home in Cambridge but he quickly established a list of reoccurring clients among New England’s private schools, college, corporations and hospitals throughout Boston’s Longwood Medical Community. These are clients that Greene still works with today.

The company passed from Gabe Greene to his son, Bob, in 1996. According to the company, Bob used his years of on-site experience to further grow G. Greene Construction’s standing in the New England market. The company has since grown to more than $80 million in annual revenue and 120 employees.

Today, G. Greene specializes in in sophisticated, phased, sequenced, “occupied space” type projects. Most contracts are for renovations and expansions of existing buildings, although G. Greene also thrives in of ground up construction. Clients include hospitals, medical centers,  bio/pharma R&D/labs, corporate entities and government/secure installations - that need expertise in occupied space construction for seamless ongoing operations.

Projects vary in scope from OR/ICU suites at a Boston Children’s Hospital to sub-stations for power providers. Whether it’s a $500,000 job or a $25 million project, companies and organizations turn to G. Greene because of its reputation for quality and value-added culture. “Our clients are some of the greatest and most advanced hospitals and research facilities in the world and they can’t afford any difficulties in schedule or execution of a project…none whatsoever,” King says. “That’s what we must deliver… excellence.”

Being selective about the subcontractors it works with is part of how G. Greene ensures the quality of its projects, but the company also self performs much of its own work. G. Greene is a union contractor capable of completing its own demolition and carpentry, giving it an advantage over competitors who must rely on subs for 100 percent of the project, according to King.

A New Way of Thinking

After 50 years in business, G. Greene knows the secret to success is to never stop evolving. The company marked its 50th anniversary by launching a lean initiative aimed at ensuring G. Greene remains as efficient, cutting-edge and resourceful as possible. The lean focus has been in place for less than a year, but King says its already resulted in more value for clients.

Lean implementation began at the company’s estimating department. G. Greene brought in clients to work with its estimators to retool the department, eliminate unnecessary protocols and create a more thoughtful process. King describes it as a change in philosophy to become more client focused rather than project focused. The effort has since spread to the project management and sales and marketing departments.

The shift to becoming totally client focused signals a more modern way of doing things for the more experience people at G. Greene Construction. But the inspiration and reinforcement of Bob Greene, who himself has an old-school mindset, has helped the rest of the company embrace the new manner of business thinking. “The ‘learning curve’ has been a bit steeper for our most knowledgeable and skilled veterans, just as its been a tremendous benefit and opportunity for the younger professionals,” King says.

The desired result of the lean initiative is more streamlined decision making, a condensed process and better value for the client. G. Greene has always delivered on quality, King states, but it now has an easier, less expensive and more predictable path. Those are all important elements to clients that prioritize how a contractor can help them create better processes for their own end users, whether they are patients in a hospital or engineers working at a power plant. “The more predictable we can be the safer and more ‘mission focused’ our clients are,” King says.

Continuous Process

G. Greene will continue to iterate on its lean initiatives going forward. The first year of the effort is only the initial steps. King describes it as a journey with slow but deliberate changes over time. The process will never truly end, continuously starting over from the beginning as more efficient methods are realized and implemented. “We want to make sure every component we take on we finish thoroughly before we move on the next one,” King says.

The next step is bringing that lean philosophy and value-driven culture to clients and subcontractors. G. Greene will seek on like-minded trade businesses that share its belief in lean and emphasize new ways of communicating. “We need to work with industry partners with similar advanced thinking and process because they help us add value to the whole package,” he explains.

“What we’re doing now is putting us in a position to grow,” King says of the companies focus on lean and technology. However, he adds that G. Greene will take care not to grow so quickly that it compromises the quality of its work or its relationships with existing clients. The company will likely stay within a two-hour radius of Boston and will continue serving the same industries, but G. Greene wants to dive deeper into each of those markets, providing higher value on bigger projects.

How deep that dive goes will depend largely on how well G. Greene continues to build on the repeat relationships it has fostered for the past five decades. King says it’s a great day when a salesperson wins a big project, but the true victories come when clients look to G. Greene as a reliable partner worth working with again and again. “That’s a much better reward than winning an individual job,” he says. “And our firm will continue to be dedicated our clients and being the highest level of value and excellence.”

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