Professional Drywall Plays Ball with Umass Athletics
Located in southern Massachusetts near the Connecticut border, Professional Drywall Construction has been ripping and roaring its New England region with quality gypsum board, insulation and steel framing skills since the mid-’90s. Owned by John Kendzierski—who also acts as the subcontractor’s president—PDC is a member of the Massachusetts Subcontractors Association, and the Connecticut Subcontractors Association.
PDC’s focus is primarily large, commercial and institutional projects such as schools, hospitals and other projects that involve a trade organization and ADD subcontractors that must deliver on time and within budget.
After graduating from UMass Amherst, Kendzierski needed a job and started drywalling houses with his brother who was a carpenter. After a short time, he had the opportunity to become a subcontractor for a housing contractor and launched a small business, growing to approximately 25 workers in a few years.
Kendzierski has been the sole owner of PDC since 1995, though he has been an owner of drywall businesses since 1979.
The owner has seen a great deal of growth over the years. He started with 20 employees, and now employs an average of 180 to 250 employees annually.
“Business is very good right now—the New England region has recovered well from the last recession, and offers plenty of work,” Kendzierski says. “Many educational institutions in New England are expanding, and we get a significant portion of that work. Neighboring Springfield, Mass., is currently enjoying an important infrastructure boom in the city. MGM is building a new $900 million casino downtown and PDC will play a role in that work as well.”
PDC is already getting jobs for 2017 and the backlog looks positive for the beginning of 2018.
The Importance of Niche Services
The subcontractor knows how important it is finding an edge to businesses benefits the growth of the company. For the past few years, “Origami by PDC,” the company’s pre-manufactured drywall assemblies, which utilizes Grabber's PanelMax milling machine, have taken center stage in the local industry, enabling customers to lower their cost, while enjoying custom built drywall corners and assemblies.
Kendzierski says certain shapes just can’t be made in the field with the consistent quality of its product. Even for simple corners that you may be able to keep straight, the paint can show the joints in the cornerbeads.
“Our product solves this finish issue. Installation of Origami by PDC profiles is 25 to 35 percent more efficient on site, and we are able to reduce worksite waste and dust, while creating the cleanest, straightest lines imaginable on a consistent basis.”
PDC has also ramped up its share of the spray insulation business, as well as acoustical plaster in the past couple of years.
“At PDC, we enjoy the challenge of competitive, ever-growing design elements that architects build into New England infrastructure,” Kendzierski says. “It’s always a challenge when we have to blend parts of old New England buildings with modern designs, and it’s exciting to see this marriage of old and new work well together.”
Education is Key
From his own personal standpoint, the owner says that probably the most difficult aspect of this job is satisfying the complicated institutional and governmental requirements that the company is required to abide by as a union contractor.
Kendzierski says that the company’s long-term goal focuses its energy on continuing to be the leading contractor in Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut, while the subcontractor expands its markets and product lines. He says one of the company’s strengths is its stability—he is very proud of the fact that it provides consistent, rewarding and long-term employment to the best tradespeople in New England.
“Our employees have been with us for a very long time, we have second generations of workers, and we are able to make significant contributions to local charities, both in dollars and in on-site work,” he says.
One important customer to PDC is Kendzierski’s alma mater University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The subcontractor is a big supporter of UMass athletics. PDC does a lot of work at the university, such as the UMass basketball training facility, the Champions Center. Completed in 2015, the Champions Center is a bold, two-story tribute to training future basketball champions.
“It epitomizes the class and glory that is UMass tradition, and what is possible with imagination and skilled craftspeople,” says Kendzierski.
The focal point of the second floor lobby at the Champions Center is an architect’s dream, he says: A two-story dome above a circular staircase, both built by PDC. It resembles half of a basketball, upon which video displays are projected. The constant movement of these videos captures your attention, and transports one’s imagination to the UMass basketball court, where dreams are achieved, and memories are made.
PDC takes great pride in proactively making its customers’ lives as easy as possible, he says. The company works hard to ease the burden on general contractors, and to foster a team environment so its relationships with builders can be as effective as possible.
“The quality and services that we provide to our customers have earned us our very significant market share, and the family environment keeps our employees happy, focused and loyal,” Kendzierski says. “Our union employees can work anywhere, but they choose to stay with us long-term. We’re the best because we have the best people working with us.”