If there was one way to sum up the past year, while looking ahead to the next, it’s thankfulness, Mike Marchal says.
“It’s gratitude and pride in our team. Our team has really stepped up to take care of our clients during another turbulent year,” the president of Swansea-based Holland Construction Services Inc. says.
Time and again, Holland’s workforce overcame pandemic-related challenges with commodity pricing, labor shortages and material availability issues to meet the growing needs of area businesses, school districts, and developers.
“We entrusted our team to navigate their way through these challenges,” he said. “We’re working around it
through solid management. People are thoughtful, planning ahead, and being organized. They know what they
need, sometimes a year in advance.”
The effort is driving revenue for the company. Holland now has a backlog of some $350 million in projects that
will be worked on during 2022-23.
“That’s a record for us,” Marchal said. Most of that is driven through longtime customer relationships, split almost equally between Illinois and Missouri.
Among its projects are one for Holland itself, a new, secondary office in St. Louis, where it hopes to build on recruitment of talent. The 6,000-square-foot building is located at Macklind and Oakland avenues, between the St. Louis Science Center and St. Louis Community College.
“We’ve talked to so many (potential employees) over the years who wanted to be at Holland but didn’t want the extra half-hour drive from their St. Louis home. This will be more convenient for them,” he said.
This past year, Holland hired eight people, reflecting positions across the board.
On the construction side, Covid-19 prompted some out-of-the-box thinking and provided an opportunity for Holland’s team to be “very collaborative” with clients. The team has been creative, working together to find alternate products, suppliers and resources.
“Ultimately, the budgets can’t increase, the schedules can’t push. You have to create parallel plans. We’re in
regular contact with economists and material suppliers, trying to understand where the market will be 6 months to a year from now. Despite some commodities’ pricing going up three or four times their pre-Covid value, we’ve been able to work with our clients to adjust the scope of work to meet the budget.”
Among Holland’s largest projects completed in Illinois in 2021 were the new 11 South office building in Columbia; the Wolf Branch Middle School addition in Swansea; a major renovation of the old Meredith Home for the new Lofts on the Square in Belleville; and the new Metro East Dermatology in O’Fallon; as well as substantial remodels at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon and at Father McGivney Catholic High School in Glen Carbon.
There are at least 15 other current active jobs, among them the expanded passenger terminal at St. Louis MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah; and a second Keystone Senior Living project near Illinois Route 157 and Magnolia Drive in Glen Carbon (like the one Holland recently completed in O’Fallon).
In addition, six apartment projects are in the works in the St. Louis market. Marchal described them as market rate, luxury, multifamily projects valued at anywhere from $25 million to $70 million.
Among them are Moda Apartments on The Hill; Sunnen Station Apartments, phase 2 in Maplewood; Mill Creek Flats and the Flats at Dorsett Ridge with developer Pier Properties; Heartland View Apartments in Wentzville; and mixed-used projects called The Edwin on Grand Avenue and Bemiston Place in Clayton.
Missouri work also includes grading and infrastructure at Interstate 170 and Olive Street Road in University City for a 50-acre retail site anchored by a new Costco.
Holland is also the contractor for a car dealership for Auto Centers Nissan in Herculaneum, Mo.
On the preconstruction side, the company has a new gym addition planned at a school in Sparta; elementary and intermediate schools in Collinsville (one is a replacement of the Caseyville Elementary School, the other is an expansion and remodel at Dorris Intermediate School); an addition for Red Bud Elementary School; and a new police department building in Mount Vernon.
“These are all expected to break ground in 2022,” he said.
Written by Dennis Grubaugh as printed in the Illinois Business Journal, January 2022 edition