The year 1969 was a particularly interesting and exciting time for America. The counter-culture challenged traditional values and ideologies, music became surreal and small businesses bloomed as the Cold War was in full throttle. In New England, one family had its own endeavors of opening a contracting company with the interest of strong, quality and decorative ceiling applications. In the last year of the 1960s, Richard Lamy started a company out of his basement. Twenty years later, his daughter Jennifer Wyman began working with the family business.
Recently, GSA worked on a new 135,000 square-foot project for the Freshmen Academy building on the grounds of Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H. Marninace Architects designed the project and Eckman Construction served as the general contractor.
“We furnished and installed the acoustical ceilings throughout the three-story building, fabric wall panels above the lockers, in the lecture hall, and in the atrium, and the linear wood ceiling in the atrium and three corridors,” says Wyman.
Armstrong ceiling products and Conwed fabric wall panels were used on this project.
Granite State Acoustics Inc. is a Bedford, N.H.-based subcontractor that installs and furnishes acoustical and specialty ceilings, as well as acoustical wall panels. Wyman, who serves as the company’s president, loves her job. And it shows in the company’s finished product on job sites.
Relationships Are Key
As we often profile business conditions in this magazine, not every year can be the best for a company. Thankfully, this New England ceiling contractor is currently doing well. Yet, to be the best in terms of quality, service and reputation matters just as much to GSA.
“We want to grow at a good healthy rate, maintain a sharp edge by keeping current with new products and their installation methods, and continue to be a great resource for our GCs and architects,” says Wyman.
She says in order for the company to be healthy in these economic times, GSA has tightened all of its expenses, is diligent in collections, maintained its financial strength, and expanded the company’s market base in hopes that when the economy turns around it will be strategically positioned.
“The business is doing great right now,” she says. “We all work hard and it not only shows in our sales but ultimately in our profits.”
“The current construction climate is certainly not nearly where it should be to sustain the sales for all the GCs and therefore keep people employed,” Wyman continues. “I see GCs doubling up on supervisors so they don’t lose valuable employees. We like to maintain the same amount of employees and have started doing work for new GCs in order to keep sales where we need them to be.”
Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
The most enjoyable aspect of the business for Wyman is her interest—and ability—to work with the trades and help create something innovative. In her words, the harder the work, the more rewarding.
“I really enjoy working on a difficult project, helping the GC and architect design a unique ceiling, making sure our crew is ready for the install with everything they may need: from marked up drawings to lifts and harnesses to then seeing the finished project. It’s important that when the project is completed we all can sit back as a team and share in another job well done,” she says.
Time management is something Wyman values and respects the discipline it takes to do this well. Because GSA is usually one of the last trades on the site, scheduling can be difficult.
“I have to always strategically move my employees around to accommodate the general contractor yet be mindful of costs,” Wyman says. “I equate scheduling to playing chess: always thinking ahead, strategizing my moves. If I think ahead and play correctly, I win and can sleep at night.”