Construction Firm Relies on Technology, Collaboration, and Core Values to Grow
Martines Palmeiro Construction
Martines Palmeiro Construction (MPC) is a fast-growing firm that blends high-technology methods with a collaborative style and strong Core Values. It is an effective formula that has led to massive growth for this Denver-based business. The full-service construction management and general contracting company also operates a branch in Austin, Texas.
“Our clients are located in Colorado, Texas, California, and Arizona. We have worked in Salt Lake City as well,” states Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Mike Martines.
Martines Palmeiro Construction’s specialties include high-density residential projects, senior/assisted living facilities and retail/commercial spaces. There is a focus on multi-family buildings, though the company is working to expand beyond this segment while also implementing a project integration initiative.
MPC’s preconstruction and estimating services include conceptual budgeting, value engineering, drawing constructability reviews, Building Information Modeling and bid package assembly. Project management services and field operations cover scheduling, quality control, inspections, permitting, subcontractor and vendor procurement, progress reporting, safety plans, cost reporting and billing management, and more. The company does remodel, ground-up, and tenant finish construction jobs.
There is an emphasis on technology and teamwork at MPC. The firm gets actively involved right from the early stages of a work project, coordinating design with trade partners during the design development phase, among its other tasks. MPC uses the full suite of Autodesk building information modeling (BIM) software to create digital models of construction projects before a shovel even hits the ground. The aim is to plan as carefully as possible and eliminate problems in the preconstruction phase.
“We’re a pretty young company, and we’ve got a lot of people really focused and interested in technology,” says Martines. “Our project integration initiative and BIM software allows us to effectively bring out the best in our young people’s talent.”
Scheduling support includes software-generated schedules and internal evaluations regarding schedule compliance, use of tools, and similar. During construction, project management software and other programs track daily operations, meeting agendas, inspections, subcontractor duties, communications, and more. Job costing – tracking revenue by job – functions have been integrated with Oracle software.
MPC has acquired unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – also known as drones – to give clients online aerial views of projects in progress. “We started utilizing the drones about a year ago. It just made more sense to utilize drones than traditional aerial photography. It makes it much easier to provide real-time information that way,” explains Martines.
While MPC is a fairly new company, its founders have long-standing ties. “The company was founded in 2011, by myself and Cory Palmeiro. We worked together in another partnership from 2008 to 2011 as well as at Greystar from 2003 to 2008, so we have a long working relationship,” Martines notes. Cofounder Palmeiro is currently the company president.
By 2012, MPC had eleven employees. Thanks to market developments, the firm’s job assignments and personnel exploded, with the workforce doubling by the end of 2012. Things progressed quickly from there. The company was recognized by the Denver Business Journal in 2015 and 2016 as the fastest-growing private business with revenues over $55 million in Colorado.
“The growth we experienced in ‘14, ‘15, and ‘16 was due to the multifamily boom in this market and our deep-rooted relationships in this space. We have purposely governed our growth to be less than ten percent moving forward until we have developed our younger leaders further; we are committed to providing growth opportunities to our existing stakeholders,” states Martines.
MPC has handled several major projects in its relatively short history. These include the 314-unit Elan Union Station Apartments – now called the Alara Union Station Apartments – a $50 million project in Denver for which MPC served as general contractor.
“We built this project from 2012 through to the end of 2014. It was a large, mixed-use project,” says Martines. “There were about 20,000 square feet of strip retail and a grocery store in addition to the apartments above. The whole site took about two-and-a-half acres of land and was one of the first major developments in the Union Station Redevelopment area.”
MPC also worked as general contractor for the $10 million, 135-room Aloft Denver Downtown hotel located near the Colorado Convention Center, and it is currently completing a 277-unit multifamily apartment project in Denver called Edison at RiNo, “which should be wrapping up by the end of August,” says Martines.
When it can, MPC engages in green building practices. The company makes efforts to conserve water, use renewable energy, and recycle materials. “Many of our project managers, engineers, and supers are LEED certified. We have built projects which had both Green Build and LEED requirements. Most multifamily projects do not strive for these standards due to budget constraints, but we strive to employ green building standards regardless,” explains Martines.
MPC places a great deal of importance on its Core Values, viewing them as essential for the company’s growth. “Core Values are our passion. They are our constitution, they enable us to achieve our Vision, and provide the basis for making decisions. We developed our Core Values in a very purposeful way, and I believe they are quite unique. The leadership of our organization took approximately four weeks of regularly scheduled meetings to develop the Core Values. We sat down and selected the individuals within our organization we most admired, then we identified the attributes that made them so exemplary. After taking the time to distill and align those qualities we admired, PLACE was created.”
The letters stand for Principled, Leadership, Allegiance, Considerate, and Earnest. “It is important to know that, as CEO, I lead the charge in living the Core Values [of the company] through an action plan. This action plan is constantly refreshed and kept at the forefront of employees’ minds,” Martines states.
Employees have embraced the concept. In 2015, MPC was listed as one of the top ten medium-sized businesses to work at by the Denver Business Journal. “We employ a culture of discipline,” Martines says of MPC’s corporate culture. “We expect disciplined stakeholders to engage in disciplined thought and take disciplined action – operating with freedom within a framework of responsibilities. We are not a micro-management organization and expect our people to leverage PLACE when making decisions.”
At present, MPC has one hundred workers, up from ninety last year at this time. Employee benefits include healthcare, dental and vision coverage, wellness reimbursement, 401(k) plans, disability and life insurance, training, tuition reimbursement, vacation time, and sick time.
While valuing skill and experience, MPC keeps other prerequisites in mind when considering job applicants. “We look to ensure alignment with our Core Values before we take the next steps with a potential candidate. Once we see alignment and excitement about our Core Values and Vision we take the next steps,” says Martines.
“We are always looking for the most qualified people and seek to create a bench of potential candidates (this is hard to do in the current climate). We try to utilize internal networks before we employ headhunters. Some of our best candidates come from internal stakeholders and trade partners,” says Martines.
Outside the workplace, MPC is quite active in charitable and community initiatives. The company has worked with Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House, as well as partnering with Brent’s Place for this year’s Colfax Marathon. Brent’s Place is a long-term home away from home for the families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses while they receive treatment at local hospitals. Last year the company raised funds and awareness for an organization called Freedom Service Dogs of America, which provides canine care for veterans and children.
When it comes to business development, the firm has a website and buys “some ads” but mostly relies on word-of-mouth from satisfied clients, according to Martines. Doing quality work is key to maintaining this positive reputation. “We have an in-depth quality control program that focuses heavily on project planning, third-party design and installation reviews, as well as self-auditing and monitoring.”
Safety is also strongly stressed in all of the company’s operations. “Each project has a specific safety plan. We fold our trade partners’ safety plans into them. We have a project specific safety officer as well as a third-party safety auditor. We have an excellent safety and injury track record,” says Martines.
As for suppliers, MPC likes to work with vendors who offer “financial capability, reliability, commitment, and follow through,” he continues.
In terms of the future, Martines cites the team’s project integration initiative as an important company focus. “The goal of project integration is to try and reduce the owner’s execution risk. We focus on more design coordination and subcontract coordination in the design phase of the project. If we’re able to be effective in integrating the subcontract trades with the design early on, we can avoid a lot of unnecessary expense that does not add much value to the project or last-minute expenses that cost more than they should.”
Beyond that, MPC is looking to enhance its existing operations while perhaps broadening its client base.
“We are not immediately intending to expand into other cities. We do plan to expand our operation in Austin in the next three years,” says Martines. “We are looking at diversifying the portfolio of work we do. We’ve got the ability to handle other types of projects besides multi-family. We want to start ramping up the business development side of things in other areas as well.”