Founded by drywall craftsman Steve Sharpe in 1976, Sharpe Interior Systems is celebrating its 40th year as a drywall contractor in the Los Angeles region. Priding itself on quality, service and a unique relationship-focused style, Sharpe has delivered innovative solutions across a broad spectrum of projects ranging from commercial tenant improvement, healthcare, retail, hospitality, and commercial high-rise.
"We are the best working for the best,” says Sharpe routinely as he now shifts his focus to mentoring his namesake company for its next generations of style and success.
Day-to-day operations are now shifting into the hands of a talented and dedicated management team consisting of Keith Costanzo, president and CFO, Jeff M. Bernards, executive vice president, Fayez Zorob, vice president, and Kenney Asmus, director of field operations. Collectively, they share Steve’s vision and passion for addressing the challenges of the future, establishing and utilizing relationships, and developing individuals within the company for a quality career experience that all result in a style of service and quality for their clients.
“We do not overstretch the company, and we cannot be everything to everyone,” says Costanzo. “Quality and communication are keys in everything we do, across the board.” This approach has repeatedly proven itself, as more than 90 percent of Sharpe’s business is with repeat clients and the company is fortunate to have never turned to the legal system to resolve differences with its clients.
There are many distinguishing characteristics that separate Sharpe from its competition. Jeff M. Bernards, who recently joined Sharpe after a 23-year career with a family-owned general contracting firm, has a unique perspective. “I have worked with hundreds of different trade contractors during my tenure as a general contractor, many terrific companies, but none as unique, skilled, and enjoyable to work with as Sharpe. Sharpe focuses on their craft, and exudes a passion, an enthusiasm, for doing it intelligently, productively, and collaboratively, and not only with their direct clients, but with the other trade contractors as well. Their approach has always inspired me. It’s how our industry should [act]."
“We concentrate our resources on metal stud framing and drywall, and bring in third party partners for related trades like plaster, fireproofing, and insulation,” says Zorob, citing that many of Sharpe’s competitors provide a consortium of services. “This is the strength of our company. It allows us to focus our training and skills so we are the very best at what we do.”
Sharpe’s focus on relationships extends far beyond the traditional “client relations”. Relationships with every level of employee, unions, trade associations, suppliers, and banking and bonding partners are at the forefront of the company’s culture.
“Sharpe is more of a family than an employer. We encourage each other, challenge each other, and most importantly put no limits on communication, this results in an internal camaraderie that is very evident to our external associates,” says 20-year company veteran Kenney Asmus.
Sixty percent of Sharpe’s field foremen have been with the company for more than 10 years. The average tenure for office-based staff is 17 years.
One manufacturer who has worked with Sharpe for more than 25 years calls the company “industry leaders, willing to do whatever it takes. Everyone talks about thinking outside of the box, Sharpe commits itself to perfecting what is in the box. We like that kind of commitment to our industry.”
“We have worked together for more than 30 years and Sharpe has remained a committed partner through good times and bad,” says another long-time supplier, “Sharpe’s style is a refreshing anomaly in an industry that is growingly concerned with low price.”
Sharpe has been signatory with the Carpenters and Drywall Finishers unions since inception and is an active member of many trade associations, including AWCI and WWCCA.
Sharpe forecasts 2016 revenues in the $50 million range with 10 to 20 percent growth potential in the upcoming years. The workforce is expected to grow from its current level of approximately 200 to upwards of 350.
Projects currently under construction include the new five-star Beverly Hills Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Circa Los Angeles (twin 33-story residential towers), Kaiser Woodland Hills, and a large portfolio of high-end commercial tenant improvement projects.
Sharpe still stands firmly with its four-decade old mission statement: By consistently providing the highest levels of product quality and customer service, it is the mission of Sharpe Interior Systems to become widely recognized by general contractors, architects, and developers as the best choice for drywall contracting in Southern California.