Cooperation Amid Competition
Henry Ford once said, "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." Moving forward in business is one thing but in a community, it can be entirely different. Collaboration is not always easy in the face of political agendas, divisiveness and controversy. However, I take solace in knowing that our community is full of forward-thinking, progressive leaders who know that only by working together will we be successful.
As the executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, a main goal of my job is to facilitate collaboration. It’s something our members exemplify every day in everything that they do. I witness the way our members seek to strengthen relationships between trades to foster a members-working-with-members rapport and it’s a good reminder about how important it is to collaborate and forge positive relationships—even between competitors. Let me illustrate with a few examples.
On April 2, PGT Innovations and the SKY Family Venice unveiled a new 7,500-square-foot child care center. This much-needed project offers affordable, convenient child care services to PGT Innovations’ families with young children as well as parents who work in the Triple Diamond Commerce Park and surrounding area in North Venice.
Many of our members in addition to PGT Innovations worked together to bring this 25-year-old dream to fruition, including J.E. Charlotte Construction and Hall Architects. This PGT Innovations-owned facility, built right in our backyard, could be seen as a statewide model.
For our local businesses, it’s so important to have a local contractor involved every step of the way. Their presence ensures that their fees stay in the local economy. When these area contractors get paid, they dine, shop, buy homes and send their children to schools here. Out-of-town crews will take their money elsewhere.
Jason Swift, president at Jon F. Swift Construction, agrees. Finding quality local subcontractors for the Siesta Beach project was one his top priorities, he says. As a local company, we live here, invest here and raise our kids here. Engaging these subcontractors ultimately will contribute to growing our business and the local economy.
Swift’s team led the renovation and improvement project for Siesta Key Public Beach, along with seven other members, to update its existing facilities, increase parking and add new public facilities. It officially opened in February 2016.
Another example is The Mall at University Town Center, which employed a whopping total of 24 GCBX members.
Right now, at least 10 GCBX members—from Tandem Construction and Sutter Roofing to Key Glass and Mullet’s Aluminum Products—are working on the new Atlanta Braves spring training complex in North Port. Tandem Construction is seeing the benefits.
Our ability to partner with a core base of local subcontractors on the Atlanta Braves spring training facility has facilitated benefits in manpower, pricing and scheduling that wouldn’t have been achieved otherwise, says Tandem Construction’s director of Client Services, Kent Hayes.
We live in a competitive marketplace, but as our economy improves, there is work for everyone. It is only by strengthening our partnerships with each other that we will collectively move forward as a community. I commend the GCBX membership for always being a shining example of this important guiding vision.
By Mary Dougherty is executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange