Take Drywall, add Metal Frames and the Ambition to Be Great – and You’ve Built a Business

Optiline Enterprises

It’s refreshing to find real achievement behind a humble, down-to-earth mindset. In the case of Optiline Enterprises, the results of this winning combination are superb projects and service without the din of egos getting in the way. This team treats every client as if they are its one-and-only, delivering more than expected on every project.

As a major player in Northern New England’s engineering and construction services industry, there’s no denying that this leader in commercial drywalling and metal frames does things differently.

Its two owner-operators, Tommy and Michael Bolduc – cousins who have a reputation of getting down-and-dirty in the field alongside their men – treat each employee as part of the company family. With their tremendous vigor igniting the team’s spirit, this Nashua, New Hampshire-based company is known – for about a 90-mile radius from its office – for its ambition to elevate the art of drywalling.

Its philosophy is simple and effective. Optiline’s leaders believe that the company’s excellence originates in the field. With a high-energy approach rippling through the organization, working ahead of schedule is the pace which makes its teams most comfortable. In testimony to this, Optiline Enterprises reached #2182 on Inc. 5000’s list of the fastest expanding privately-owned companies in America, this year.

Suiting the client
The industry leader offers a number of great construction and facade solutions. Its metal-frame systems are used for both indoor and outdoor construction and are erected by qualified craftsmen. Steel framing is particularly popular where the intention is to enhance the acoustic, thermal, and ventilation qualities of a building. The drywall systems that accompany the steel frames are incredibly versatile, with practically any layout, shape, or application required by client made possible.

In addition, Optiline can bring advice on two vital – and linked – aspects of a new building: on energy and its applications, significantly improving most buildings’ energy efficiency; and on the most advanced sound-reduction methods and materials. When these systems are expertly implemented in tandem, it enables relatively easy addition or adaptation of spaces, with very little impact on the surroundings. The company’s resources also include great expertise in aesthetic finishes, such as Optiline Enterprises’ stone applications used mainly for building facades.

A running start
Originally from Quebec, Tommy and Michael worked for different companies until Michael entered the drywall and steel frame industry and invited Tommy to join him. The cousins decided that opportunity trumped the personal risk, selling up everything they could and remortgaging their properties.

They started Optiline Enterprises from scratch and established the partnership in 2012. In the early days, things were tough and getting tougher, until they met Lori Piper of Enterprise Bank, who believed in their company, became their banker, and gave them a chance.

From its beginnings in Tommy’s garage, the company moved to a small warehouse along the street, about a year later. The next two years it trebled in size. But nothing could have prepared the Bolducs for the success lying in wait. Having pretty-well filled the premises it purchased in 2015, Optiline Enterprises is eyeing a 250 000 square foot building in Nashua, set to become its new headquarters.

Many of us will be aware of the demands of building a new business, and the challenges facing partners and families too. Both men speak of their wives and families with the greatest gratitude and regard. Without their generous support, say Tommy and Michael, the dream of creating this company would not have come to pass.

Anyway, after long days, late nights, and solid teamwork at home and at work, good fortune smiled on the company and its people. Optiline Enterprises was on the road. Today, the two leaders believe that, a good part of their success has also been their dedication to their team’s well-being and prosperity from the start.

“There’s great satisfaction in seeing our employees buying new houses and cars,” says Michael. Of course, the industry has had its ups and downs over the years, but after a good start for everyone involved, the two leaders intend to continue giving every day their best shot for many years to come.

“We still feel like we work from our pick-up truck like back in the day,” Michael adds.

Solid team spirit
One of the results of a hands-on leadership style is Optiline Enterprises’ commitment to the health and happiness of its group dynamic. “The business is very owner-driven,” says Tommy. “Mick and I had to compete a lot, so we had to step things up all the time. So, our energy and positivity flow through the business.”

Contrary to what so often happens, growing the business from nearly nothing into a company worth over $16 million has kept the team’s feet firmly on the ground.

With nearly 400 of Optiline’s people working in the field, this tightly knit group prefers to promote from within its own ranks. Its current chief operating officer is a great example of how well this approach works. Starting out as a safety and project manager, the COO leads with firsthand knowledge and understanding of the field.

Attentive listening always forms a major part of keeping a team motivated. Like when Tommy and Michael set out to increase health benefits but discovered that their staff preferred having their vacation time increased. “We are only as good as our team and listening to their feedback goes a long way. [With us] they really feel heard. We all want to make each other the hero,” says Tommy.

Quality in, quality out
To maintain their typically great results, the Bolducs insist on hiring only the best. People who do what they say they’ll do and who do more than is expected. When compared, like with like, the teams at Optiline operate extremely efficiently, typically accomplishing the work of a much larger team elsewhere in the industry.

“Here, nobody wants to be the one who delegates work or says they can’t do it. We all push toward the same end goal of making things efficient,” says Tommy. As such, trust is a big deal in this team, and everyone makes a real effort to have their colleagues’ – and their clients’ – backs.

To ensure that standards remain up there as the company grows, Optiline Enterprises joined the Associated Builders & Contractors of New Hampshire & Vermont as well as of Massachusetts (ABC MA). Awards for its achievements have been plenty. Last year, ABC MA, in association with the Gould Construction Institute, ABC’s training affiliate, presented the company with a Gold Award for its dedication to protocols in its Safety, Training, and Evaluation Process (S.T.E.P.) during 2018.

Optiline also won Enterprise Bank’s 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year Award. While diligently chasing its own dreams, Optiline Enterprises contributes to those of others, as paying it forward is a large part of this company’s ethos. Instead of just donating money to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the company grants a full wish annually, becoming part of the whole experience.

Proud projects
There have been a great many successful projects with Optiline Enterprises’ name on them. Like multi-family units in Moose Club Park in Goffstown, New Hampshire, and educational facilities like the New England Academy.

Optiline is particularly well-known for its commercial and retail spaces. In Massachusetts, these include the Mercedes building in Burlington; and the Lowell Credit Union building in Lowell. New Hampshire is home to the Monkey Sports building in Derry and Optiline also worked on O’Neal Cinemas in Epping, Planet Fitness in Manchester, and many more.

On the industrial side, Optiline Enterprises completed the Prologis/UPS distribution center, a 600 00 square-foot facility in Londonderry, New Hampshire, which attracted considerable praise.

With so many notable projects to its credit, Optiline Enterprises is set on maintaining its surging rate of growth. That being said, the company’s quality and solid family values remain non-negotiable.

With New Hampshire’s retail construction market in great shape, expect the company’s reputation and repeat custom to secure it a top spot in the region’s construction industry yet again this year.

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 17, 2019, 12:14 AM EST