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Growth Through Planning

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Metcon is a general contractor that performs construction management risk, design-build and general contracting services for a variety of clients across both North and South Carolina. Primarily focusing on municipalities, and local and state government, the company also engage in private work for a range of clients. While the company has vast experience across numerous sectors and services, Metcon has developed a specialty in the education market. Angela Carter, Vice President of Business Development, Marketing, & Community Partnerships at Metcon explains that the company has done “a huge amount of work in the industry.” Carter goes on to describe how 85 percent of the work currently being done at Metcon is for the UNC System and K – 12 public schools.

From humble beginnings twenty-two years ago, the company has experienced enormous success. For Carter, this is, in part, due to the foresight and investment that the company founder made and also due to the meticulous internal planning and strategizing that formed the company’s solid growth plan. “The company founder always believed in investing in the company and investing in good talent for the company. In addition to that, our plan has always been to grow in a very steady and well-grounded way so that we can continue to be successful and not have to have layoffs or anything like that.”

This steady growth has also had the added benefit of creating a culture of sustainability and positive relationships. As Carter explains, relationships and serving clients does not happen by accident and it does not happen overnight either. “We put a lot of time and effort into our culture and into making sure that we are evolving with the times. We put a lot of emphasis on serving our clients and building relationships. We have spent the last ten years really working and focusing on that.”

NCCU residence hall project by Metcon

Some of the company’s standout projects include work on the North Carolina Central University residence halls, which, impressively consisted of three separate buildings. The designer on this project was Victor Vines of Vines Architecture, a 100 percent African American-owned design firm. This detail may be irrelevant for some people, but, as a 100 percent Native American company itself, it lies at the heart of everything that Metcon does. The project was all design built and featured a 100 percent minority design-build team. According to Carter, this is “the first time that this has ever been done in the state of North Carolina.”

Alongside this, the company was able to provide 50 percent minority participation, and HUB participation (Historically Underutilized Business) which was important to the University as it is a “historical black college and HBCU.” In addition to these positive and inclusive details, the project itself also showcased Metcon’s ability to work under intense demands. Carter describes it as a “very complex project” with a total of five construction projects ongoing on the campus at the same time. “Our team had to co-ordinate around other construction managers for deliveries and for all of the workers that were coming in. Logistically, it was incredibly challenging, but we were hugely successful, and we are very proud of the project.”

“The UNC Pembroke School of Business project gave Metcon the opportunity to show its technical skills and work to highly exacting standards.”

UNC Pembroke project by Metcon

Another standout project for the company was The UNC Pembroke School of Business. This project gave Metcon the opportunity to show its technical skills and work to highly exacting standards. According to Carter, the school contained very unique classroom spaces that included state-of-the-art technology and modern tiered classrooms. The project itself involved working on many “high-end finishes” such as acoustical ceilings and “beautiful wood panels” along with polished terrazzo floors. For Carter, the design aspect of the job was “absolutely beautiful.” While the work was aesthetically joyful for the company, the project itself was somewhat challenging due to external forces. It was a public bid project, which Metcon had to bid on and construct during the pandemic.
As any business that has tried to navigate recent global events can attest to, this led to disruption and concerns. Despite issues such as supply chain delays and public health limitations, the project finished on time and has been nominated for several awards. In fact, the company is about to accept the Eagle Award, the ABC Excellence in Construction Award, on November 10th for this project.

With experience and skill working on projects from the design phase onwards, Metcon has the ability to lower costs and work quickly for clients. Take for example the work that Metcon recently completed on the Concord Electrical Operations Centre. This unique building comprised of office space, learning space, training space, fleet management, a data center and a response center for the electrical operations for the entire city of Concord. As a hugely successful project, it is an example of the multifaceted benefits that comes from working with Metcon. According to Carter, Metcon saved over $1 million of the budget and six months off the schedule by being involved early on with the design team. “We were able to mitigate and navigate through some of the challenges at the design phase. This meant that we could design the building in accordance with the materials that were available.”

In a post-pandemic world, the unfortunate truth is that the construction industry needs to maintain a balance between savings and sustainable practices. The difficulty being that these two ideals can occasionally be at either ends of the spectrum. To assist with this, Metcon has become involved in what Carter refers to as “energy positive” work. Through a combination of public-private partnership and grants, along with energy positive initiatives, Metcon can build its clients an affordable building that benefits from energy savings and sustainable technologies. Carter explains how the approach combines both cost effective and sustainability practices. “Not only is it financed affordably and has a lot of grant money and federal funding involved in it, on the back end there are not a lot of operational costs due to electricity.” The buildings are designed and constructed to deliver over 70 percent more energy than they consume through solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling systems, reduced ceiling height and the building envelope. “We use hollow metal, hollow core concrete planking systems to move the air as a thermal conductor. This keeps both the heat and the cool air in for the building. We also have an incredible clean air system that’s installed to make sure that the air is recycled and clean and offers a very clean environment.” Metcon has successfully constructed twelve of these buildings, with many being schools. As Carter explains, this method is something that those at Metcon are striving to build on. “It is something that we are very proud of. Our Native American culture is about protecting Mother Earth, so we are very proud to have that.”

With all this in mind, it is unsurprising to know that Metcon is likely to experience huge growth, with many new projects on the horizon. Excitingly, Carter notes that the upcoming projects are “really unique.” For example, Metcon is working on the Cleveland County Courthouse in Shelby, North Carolina, and The Two Kings Casino and Resort in Kings Mountain. The company is also working on the Hope County Aquatic Center, and several schools for Guilford County in Harnett County, new schools in Washington, North Carolina and Pamlico County, North Carolina.

Outside of this, the outlook for the rest of 2022 is positive, with Carter acknowledging that the company’s books are close to full for the foreseeable future. “We do a lot of design-build work which is already under contract. That means that our pre-construction department and estimators are very busy working and finalizing the total budgets, and prequalifying subcontractors, and trade partners for the bidding process.” While this is certainly reason to be thankful, Carter believes that the company is now in a place where it needs to consolidate, take stock and excel with its existing projects before it sets its sights on further growth. “In 2023 and 2024, we have little room for new opportunities. Most of the projects that we are going to focus on are the projects and opportunities that we’ve already counted in our pipeline.” With a growing track record of excellent services and projects, it is only a matter of time before Metcon grows ever further, proving that doing the little things well is always the best option.

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