Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 51
clinics ranging from family practice clinics
or specialty doctors like dermatology, orthopedics and ENT to imaging centers with CT
scan and MRI technology.
Like an Owner
For Brown, the secret to Downing's growth
can be traced back to a core philosophy:
Always try and think like an owner. "We
really try and serve clients by looking at
projects from their perspective," Brown says.
"To that point, we focus on three key items
that make our company unique: One, we
invest in our core values. Two, we provide a
single-source solution. And three, we take
an owner's perspective. We believe it is imperative to first build a strong relationship
with our clients way before the first shovel
ever hits the ground."
Importantly, Downing does not hardbid on many of its projects. Instead, most
of Downing's projects are negotiated with
project owners. Building relationships is
a key component of Downing's success, as
many clients end up being repeat clients.
Such is the case with All-State Industries, a
family-owned and operated non-metallic
manufacturing business headquartered in
West Des Moines, Iowa.
"I think they do a really nice job of being
a one-stop shop," All-State COO Scott Pulver says. "They are very good at bringing
Downing has become a
single-source construction firm
focused on its core values.
all of the parties together, and they are
very transparent and easy to work with.
In recent years, All-State's machine
plastics division was bursting with
growth, so Pulver tapped Downing for
a 40,000-square-foot facility. Five years
later, All-State's urethane division was also
growing, so the company once again hired
Downing, this time for a 60,000-squarefoot facility. "I would say on the second
project we are about 75 percent complete,"
Pulver notes. "Downing continues to be
The recent uptick in construction
has led Downing to double in
size since 2008.
very easy to work with, and we are very
happy at this point."
Downing's relationships include its
subcontractors as well as its clients. This remains crucial, as Iowa's busy market means
competition for subcontractors is fierce.
"Our philosophies remain relationship-based," Brown says. "What we're
actually seeing is an increase of additional
layers in the food chain, with sub-subcontractors that are 1099 or self-employed
workers." Because there is significant work
to be had, oftentimes subcontractors will
hire out groups of five to ten carpenters
for jobs such as framing or drywall. "We
are seeing more and more subcontractors
utilize multiple tiers of sub-subcontractors
and this becomes much more challenging
to manage appropriately," Brown notes.
"Maintaining good, strong relationships
with our subcontractors has become even
more imperative to ensure the overall success of our projects for our clients."
The recent uptick in construction has
led Downing to double in size since 2008.
It currently has 18 projects under management, and as Brown notes, this is mostly
thanks to the way Downing has become a
single-source construction firm focusing on
its core values and always viewing projects
from the owner's perspective. "Oftentimes,
building is the easy part," Brown says. "It's
the stuff that comes before the construction.
That is where we excel."
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM