Full Service with a Collaborative Approach

The Pentacon Group

The Pentacon Group, a full-service interior construction management firm, serves the Greater Toronto Area commercial sector from its Vaughan, Ontario headquarters. The group possesses a broad spectrum of in-house skills, allowing it to offer an ever-growing range of construction and project management services, depending on the client’s needs.

We spoke with a Director of The Pentacon Group, Anthony Loumankis, P. Eng., who explained the diversity of skills available. “We have always been in the commercial interiors section of the industry,” he explains. “Generally speaking, that means that we construct corporate offices of varying size, quality and detail. Most of our work is in the Toronto downtown core, and our portfolio includes retail work and some residential construction as well.”

New beginnings
The end of one business can lead to the birth of fresh opportunities, and The Pentacon Group understands this better than most. Three colleagues with a healthy dose of industry insight founded The Pentacon Group, using the skills and knowledge they had gathered throughout their years of experience in the commercial construction industry.

Sam Tucci, also a Director at The Pentacon Group, explains how the team grew from the ashes of the initial venture. “The company was set up just over seven years ago,” he says. “The three founders, I, Anthony L. and Anthony M. have worked together for many years; creating relationships and the shared values are the basis of our growth at The Pentacon Group.” The three founders pooled their skills to create a depth and quality of service that surpassed their clients’ expectations. Tom Antonopoulos, Senior Project Manager, also joined the team.

Sam acknowledges that the number of minds involved in the running of the company differs from industry norms and sets it apart in a very competitive field. “Our philosophy is that there is no one leader,” he says. “We all lead; we all do our own sales; we all do our own business development. One of our successes is that we are all out there fostering our relationships with clients.”

Service from start to finish
The Pentacon Group offers total service from start to finish, backed up by the wealth of experience provided by its estimating department. “Alan Weeks, our chief estimator, manages most of our tendering,” Tom explains. “From there, we get into project implementation. The Pentacon Directors also work as project directors and managers, and have found that this approach to be very successful because clients can see that there is full ownership responsibility with any project we take on.”

Tucci explains that, “Our industry is very fast-paced; there is a lot of pressure, and deadlines are always there. We are fortunate in that we have been very selective about who we hire, and when we do hire, we give them support and training so that they can flourish and be successful,” he shares. “Our whole team has a lot of training and experience, at all levels of the organization. Our clients and project partners recognize the benefits that the aforementioned brings to the project.”

The team sees this method as an opportunity to ensure that the client always receives the best service possible. With extensive knowledge in all aspects of construction and a keen attention to detail, The Pentacon Group is able to deliver consistent results every time, to the benefit of the client. “We find that by being involved from start to finish with a project, our clients are provided with the full service expected from The Pentacon Group,” says Loumankis.

“Since our involvement starts at project inception, there is a seamless transition from our pre-construction to construction and finally post-construction. This approach eliminates gaps in information and potential information loss. The designated Pentacon team is involved on the project from the very beginning and continues to project total completion. The team is also there for the time after project completion to assist in any and all matters for our clients.”

Committed to safety
Another key point of difference at the company is its commitment to safety and ongoing training. Anthony Maddalena, Director, is keen to stress the widespread nature of this training. “From a safety perspective, all of our employees – whether they are out in the field or in the office – are all trained with the most current safety standards that exist today, and [this training] is updated on a regular basis.”

This is not merely a sales pitch. “At the Pentacon Group, from senior management down to our site personnel, we ensure the highest safety standards are met and kept.” Maddalena sees this as an integral and necessary aspect in all the company’s projects. “Once we commence a project, we set up safety orientation meetings where we run through the project and identify the potential hazards,” he explains. “This happens onsite with all involved with the project, including anyone accessing the site. The site managers have weekly meetings where they will discuss specific items that are coming up, and furthermore, we retain a third-party consultant that comes in and inspects our site on a weekly to biweekly basis. They complete a full safety audit and discuss concerns with the site managers and all personnel on site.”

Certainly, this continuous health and safety training has advantages for the company. Maddalena explains that the commitment to safety stems from a practical necessity. “Our rationale – why we train absolutely everybody – is that our office staff frequents the site quite a bit since we are so hands-on. We are proactive in all our projects through all aspects including design, engineering, budget, schedule, and especially safety. With our experience, we at times can foresee situations and then can correct the matter during the course of construction so as not to compromise the safety of the project.”

Giving back
The Pentacon Group’s commitment to the highest levels of service and quality, as well as its dedication to the project and to its health and safety standards, has led to a growing reputation for the company. While the team’s project portfolio is expanding, there are also burgeoning opportunities to give something back to the local community. Every year, the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO) chooses an organization or charity and assists in improving their interior service environment. ARIDO calls this the ROI Initiative, standing for Renew-Originate-Implement, and Pentacon was part of the 2016 efforts.

Loumankis explains how the partnership came about and how the project was of mutual benefit to stakeholders. “We are invited by ARIDO to meet each February for a group discussion on various industry issues including the ROI. We were very excited about ARIDO’s commitment to assist the community and wanted to be part of the next ROI. That particular year, SKETCH had been chosen by ARIDO for the industry return back to our great community – it was an office refresh for SKETCH. Their existing offices were a little antiquated and we worked with interior designers, engineers, suppliers and sub-contractors as well as the end users at SKETCH to create an exciting, vibrant office.”

Toronto-based community arts initiative SKETCH’s purpose is to “create opportunities for young people to experience the transformative power of the arts; to build leadership and economic self-sufficiency in the arts; and to cultivate social and environmental change through the arts.”

While SKETCH has given the company a chance to showcase its talents publicly, The Pentacon Group is no stranger to working with local groups and giving back to the broader community. “Here locally, we participate with many organizations. We mostly contribute financially to purchase sports equipment, provide coaching, et cetera, to help get kids off the street and have them participating in a sport for some fun.”

Facing challenges
There are, however, challenges that the company faces. The Pentacon Group is no different from its competitors in seeing shortages of young experienced tradespeople to replace the older team members that are retiring. Tucci expands on how this is both a benefit and a challenge. “You are getting a lot of guys with great experience that are at the tail end of their careers, and they are eventually looking to retire. We can see that, certainly in the next few years, becoming more of an issue in our industry.”

The company uses the experienced employees it has to build a rich knowledge base in-house. The result of this, hopefully, will ease the impact when staff retire. “We try to foster and use our senior guys’ experience with our younger staff, so that they are learning the proper way to do things. It is like our own in-house apprenticeship program. We would pair some of the more junior supervisors with the more seasoned, knowledgeable ones.”

While the company experiences the same challenges as any other, overcoming these challenges has been an essential driver of its growth and its ability to attract and satisfy clients. At The Pentacon Group, it is all about meeting client needs to the highest levels of satisfaction. The wealth of expertise brought to the table by this experienced and dedicated team brings client visions to life – safely, consistently, and on budget and schedule.

Building the Next Generation

As thousands of experienced workers retire across North America every day, it is small wonder many industries are concerned about the future. It has been a decade since the oldest members of the baby boom generation started leaving their jobs, removing from the workplace decades of experience and skills that are tough to replace. The situation is so dire that, when younger workers are not available or knowledgeable enough to take over, retired staffers are often called back to work on a part-time basis.

November 18, 2019, 3:20 AM EST

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