Delivering Exceptional Customer Service, Building Quality Relationships
Telligent Masonry is a leader in the masonry construction industry that makes the outside of a building look just as professional and detailed as the inside. It provides quality masonry construction, air and vapor barrier, and restoration services. It installs a variety of masonry materials including brick, stone veneer, concrete blocks, cast stone, glass fiber reinforced concrete, natural stone, and more. Telligent Masonry has experience working on apartments, condominiums, institutions, office buildings, mixed-use structures, hotels, and retail spaces.
The family-operated business was founded in 1957 by Gus Pappas in the D.C. area and eventually expanded down into the Florida market. During a recession, the company pulled back a bit and focused on the Washington D.C. metropolitan area which includes Virginia and Maryland.
Today, it works from Philadelphia through Northern Virginia and also does some bidding work down in the Carolinas. The company is growing at a steady pace, and it is prepared to get back into more markets again. Telligent Masonry is one of the largest masonry contractors in the area, with an average project size is approximately two million dollars.
“Now we’re trying to grow organically just by picking up a couple of extra markets as opposed to trying to hit this market really hard,” says Michael Pappas, vice president of Telligent Masonry. It has also acquired a lot more equipment, and its employee numbers have increased over the last five years.
Approximately five hundred people are employed by Telligent at its one facility in Rockville, Maryland. Many of its employees have been with the company for over thirty years and have grown with it throughout their careers. For instance, the general superintendent started working as an operator thirty-five years ago, and he now runs the entire field. Most of the foremen at Telligent began as laborers, and its mechanic has been with the company for over forty years. It has very little turnover because it treats its employees well.
Most of the projects completed by Telligent Masonry are for a handful of regular customers. It tried to bid on all projects of approximately twenty of its customers, and it also takes care of budgeting for them. “What we try to do is be very loyal to those regular customers and serve them as best we can. We pride ourselves on customer service,” says Michael.
The company is not attracted to random new projects; it looks for what its current customers are already working on. For instance, it would not bid on a new stadium project unless it was a project designed by one of its customers. Telligent has a large estimating department to focus on feeding its customers’ needs, which in turn benefits the company as well. It bases its success on repeat business, and every year it adds a couple more customers to the list to expand the company at the right pace.
The estimating department at Telligent Masonry is very busy as a result of all the repeat customers. It is involved with projects from the early stages and often looks at a bid over four times during the budgeting process. “We have a pretty large estimating department that is constantly looking at projects. Sometimes we could look at something over four years before it even really starts,” says Michael. All of the upfront work causes Telligent to be heavily invested in its customers’ needs and the project as a whole, and that is why its customers continue to return.
Along with its large estimating department, Telligent has a large safety department compared to most masonry companies. “We have an in-house safety director, and underneath him, he has three safety inspectors, and all of our projects get walked through by our in-house safety department once a week,” says Chris Pappas, president of Telligent Masonry. “On our larger projects, we’ll have a person on site called the site safety coordinator, and his primary job is just safety.”
The founder believed that a safe working environment produces higher quality work. The company ensures that all foremen have thirty-hour OSHA cards and that all workers wear eye protection, a hard hat, and a safety vest. Every week on a project begins with a safety meeting to remind everyone of the importance of safety, and there are a number of other safety initiatives that are a part of the system.
In 2017, Telligent Masonry was recognized for its exceptional work with the National Eagle Award in the masonry category by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The ABC consists of seventy chapters and has 21,000 commercial contractors as members in the United States. To be eligible for the National Eagle Award, Telligent had to win in its local Metro Washington chapter first; the chapter had approximately thirty-five projects submitted.
Telligent has been titled Masonry Subcontractor of the Year in its ABC chapter three out of the last four years. It is an impressive and flattering award to win since it is not one that companies submit for themselves. It is based on a survey that is sent out to the general contractor members of the ABC, and Telligent is proud to have been voted the best mason in the area three times. Recently, the company won the ABC metro Washington and Virginia chapters “2018 Masonry Sub-Contractor of the Year” award and the ABC metro Washington and Virginia chapters “2018 Excellence in Construction Award” as well.
The team at Telligent Masonry is always willing to work with the general contractor and collaborate to get the job done. “We don’t look at things on a per project basis and how much we can make on a single job; we’re always looking at satisfying the best we can, so we can get the next project too,” says Chris.
The company provides a complete service from the initial project estimating to the final masonry finishing and washing. It does not design any projects, yet it does use three-dimensional (3D) software to show models based on the customer’s design to help with the pre-construction and budgeting process. Customer service is the distinguishing factor for Telligent Masonry. Labor-intensive businesses sometimes focus so intently on the work that they lose sight of the bigger picture, which is the customer service that creates loyal working relationships and repeat business.
Recently, the president of Telligent Masonry was introduced to the vice president of a company that he has been working with for over five years. The vice president assured Chris Pappas that although it was strange that they had never met, it was also a compliment since it meant that there were never any construction problems with the projects completed by Telligent Masonry. These were large masonry projects ranging from $1.8 million to $9 million.
The most notable projects for Telligent Masonry are the Miami International Airport; the Los Olas Grand Condominiums in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C.; Walt Disney’s Contemporary Resort; the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C.; and the Carlyle Towers in Alexandria, Virginia. The Parc Meridian in Arlington, Virginia is another significant project and was the project that won Telligent Masonry the Eagle Award in 2017.
Most companies in the construction industry are experiencing a labor shortage, yet Telligent has not had to deal with that dilemma. “Our competition is having manpower issues, and we haven’t had that, and I think it’s because of the way we treat our labor force and the way our labor force is structured,” says Chris.
In the future, Telligent Masonry plans to stay focused on its customer base and its growth pattern of only expanding by a couple of new customers a year. The vision of the company is to continue building lasting relationships with its customers through honesty, integrity, and superior customer service.