Generation Next 2018: The Next Wave of Walls and Ceilings Contractors
North America's Youngest Construction Professionals
Walls & Ceilings presents Generation Next, a feature of young and upcoming companies and contractors.
Vice President | Acoustic Ceiling & Partition | Ann Arbor, Mich.
Incorporated in 1995, Acoustic Ceiling & Partition celebrated 20 years in business in October of 2015. The company roots’ began in Ann Arbor, Mich., and its estimating and project management members have a vast knowledge of both public and private construction. The company specializes in metal framing, drywall, acoustical ceilings, insulation, fluid-applied vapor barriers and more. The company claims that it benefits from a very low employee turnover rate. The company opened its second office in Columbus, Ohio, in 1995. The subcontractor has 140 field employees and 12 office workers.
ACP uses certified, trained and skilled union labor and self performs all framing, drywall and acoustic ceiling work. The company was named an ENR 600 Specialty Contractor. In addition, ACP has been named to the 10 fastest growing companies in Central Ohio for the last two years.
“Upon inception, ACP Ohio slowly grew until 2008 when there was a downward turn,” says Vice President Kyle Young, adding that business is better than it has ever been. The company continues to grow at a rapid pace and is pursuing the possibility opening additional offices in other locations. “The company continued to see a steady decline until 2014. In 2014 the office of ACP Ohio was restructured and has seen more than 700 percent growth since that time.”
According to Young, Central Ohio is one of the fastest growing areas in the United States. There is a large diversity of companies and plenty of work.
“We have an incredible amount of work lined up, which means that finding labor to do the work may be an issue,” he says.
Young says there isn’t much to the job that bothers him. But if anything does, it’s sitting on his hands. “What’s fascinating is seeing a project five years down the line, when it is completed, and being able to think back and remember the beginning stages before there was even a structure in place.
“There is constant pressure in order to be competitive to get the job done quicker and cheaper.”
He says as of press time—in late 2017—that ACP has an incredible amount of work lined up, which means that finding labor to do the work may be an issue.
“Our long-term goals are to open offices in other locations and expand the types of work that we are doing to include painting and flooring,” Young says.
Recently, ACP worked on an important project in Columbus, Ohio. LeVeque Tower was a 10-story historical building that we renovated into a five-star Marriott hotel.
The renovation project, completed in 2017, saw extensive work to repair the building’s terracotta facade and modernize its interior. LeVeque Tower was redesigned as a mixed use development, with floors 5 to 10 of the building converted into a 150-room boutique hotel, the Hotel LeVeque under Marriott International’s Autograph Collection brand, and with some event space. Floors 3, 4, and 11-18 were renovated as 160,000 square feet of office space, while the remaining 19 floors were converted into upscale residential units, a mix of 68 apartments and 12 condominiums, with two penthouse units on the top floors. A restaurant, The Keep, was opened by Illinois-based First Hospitality Group Inc. on the second floor.
For its contract, ACP installed metal studs, drywall, acoustical ceilings, insulation and plaster. The contractor used ClarkDietrich Building Systems, National Gypsum and USG products.
The 41 story building was built in 1924 and is on the National Historic Registry, so all the original ornamental plaster on the first three floors were preserved along with ceiling details throughout the 10 story hotel.
Matt and Mark Lyster
President and VP | Lyster Exteriors | Kalamazoo, MI
Although they may be young contractors, Matt Lyster, the president of an exterior residential remodeling company titled Lyster Exteriors and his brother Mark, vice president of the company, already have 20 years in the business. They both got their start in the industry working for their friend’s uncle in high school. Their company, now with 75 employees, has seen a lot of growth since the beginning.
Mark says the hardest aspect of his job is finding good employees but the company is doing well overall. Matt’s hardest aspect would be keeping the team on the same page.
“Even great employee’s need guidance,” says Matt. “Sometimes people have different opinions on things and I have to mediate the opinions and come up with the best solution for our company as a whole.”
W&C asked Mark what it means to him to be a young contractor.
“I think being a young contractor is a big responsibility. We have to learn the correct ways of construction so we can teach and pass them down as we get older,” says Mark. “Everything takes time, so starting the business early in life lets us grow bigger than if we started later. The growing is due to having a great team of people working together and treating customers with the respect that they deserve.”
Matt gave his own thoughts on being a young contractor and the growth of the company.
“I’ve been able to spend my entire adult life self-employed, running my business the way I see fit,” said Matt. “Being able to do things my way and seeing the results has been great. As far as growing, I do think being younger has helped because early on I was willing to risk it all. I didn’t have a huge mortgage or a family to worry about. So I was very aggressive with our growth plan knowing that if it didn’t work I was still young enough to rebound.”
The company, which specializes in roofing, siding, windows and decks, is doing well in its region along with other companies in
“We take pride in what we do. A new roof or siding project should be an exciting and pleasant experience for a homeowner,” says Mark. “It doesn’t need to be a hassle. We have developed a great team of people that produce excellent results for both our customers and the company.”
With the company having many plans for growth, the company wants to keep growing its gross sales, open more offices and expand its services.
Mark says the greatest achievement of the company is keeping a great reputation while providing a fun and energizing place to work.
“With our growth rate it creates a lot of opportunity for our employees to advance within the company and better their lives,” says Mark.
Owner and President | Prime Wall Systems, LLC | Hutto, Texas
With Kevin Maxwell’s career beginning in the plastering trade, he was taught each aspect of stucco, was amazed at the process, and quickly became passionate about a future in the plastering trade.
Now the president and owner of Prime Wall Systems, LLC in Hutto, Texas, a small community Northeast of Austin, he also created and owns Prime Wall Systems Home & Commercial Services in 2016, which provides stucco and EIFS repair and remediation services.
Prime Wall Systems began in the summer of 2009 and provided stucco, EIFS and thin veneers. The company now provides services in construction, residential, multifamily, light commercial, commercial, industrial, hospitality, educational, religious, Medical, etc.
His company has around 150 field technicians and 9 office staff. “As time carried on I advanced my position into a supervisory role and it was clear there was real opportunity in our market,” says Maxwell. “My employer is responsible for where I’m at today. I was introduced to many leading industry professionals such as Bill Nichols and Albert Carrillo who were instrumental in my apprenticeship. Unfortunately, the owner suffered a major stroke and was forced to shut down his operation.”
Taking on a superintendent position with a large stucco contractor led him to aiding in sales with the Texas regions. Four years later, he took on the general manager position of the Austin division of the company. Due to the recession in 2009, his employment with the stucco contractor ended.
“I am extremely grateful for what I was taught at those two companies,” says Maxwell. “I remain passionate about my business and trade, staying optimistic that hard work, integrity and quality will keep us in business for the long haul.”
Three days after losing his job, he received a Formation letter from the Texas Secretary of State and that’s when his company began.
Due to personal relationships, getting and maintaining labor was easy. Working in the industry before opening his own business let Maxwell already have the trust of other general contractors in the area.
“As the Central Texas Economy grew so has my business, we’ve nearly doubled every year for nine years,” says Maxwell. “We have acquired our own building a plethora of scaffold and all equipment necessary for successful, on time, on budget and safe installation of Stucco, EIFS and thin veneer.”
Maxwell also sits on the Board of Directors at Texas Lathing & Plastering Contractor’s Association, although he would like to be more active in the association. He will be assisting with the annual convention being held in Austin and was asked to participate on an ASTM review committee (ASTM C11 Stucco Work Group).
Scott Kirkpatrick and Jeff Pierce
Owners | Superior Wall Systems | Fort Collins, CO
Starting as laborers and working their way up the ranks, Scott Kirkpatrick and Jeff Pierce hold 40 years of experience between them. Now owners of stucco, EIFS and stone company Superior Wall Systems LLC in Fort Collins, Colo., the need for Pierce to find a job led him to Kirkpatrick, who taught him the ways of plastering.
Their company, which started with just the two of them, has grown to more than 30 employees. They are now in a comfortable spot with 20 employees.
“With the population of Colorado and front range booming, the construction climate is great for business, but maybe not great for the quality of living,” says Pierce.
Last year was their best sales year so the company is looking to keep growing.
Kirkpatrick and Pierce agree that the hardest aspect of the job is building and sustaining a good base of employees that are quality.
Both have had their share of challenges getting to where they are now.
“We were young, dumb, single and broke, working for another local stucco company in 1998,” says Kirkpatrick. “Starting a stucco/masonry business in the middle of winter in Colorado probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do but the opportunity was there. Being young certainly helped us overcome the hardships that presented themselves over the first few lean years, but being motivated to always do better and a lot of hard work helped us pull through.”
Pierce agrees. “I was 20 when we went out on our own, and not everyone took us seriously. If you do quality work and answer your phone, customers will come back.”
Western Region Vice President | FCA International | Gilbert, AZ
As the vice president for North American contractor association, FCA International, Nick Carrillo acts as a resource to the association members.
Along with the resource role, Carrillo also is in charge of labor-management relations, supporting local contractor associations, building supportive relationships and sharing FCA products and services with contractor members and affiliated associations.
Carrillo grew up in the industry due to his constant visiting of jobsites with his father and uncles. He began as a second-generation, blue-collar professional in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a plasterer.
“Since working in the field as a plasterer, I have sold building materials as a salesman, completed jobsite evaluations and contractor trainings as a technical sales representative, and I am now the western region vice president for FCA International,” says Carrillo.
Recently, Carrillo has been working to share information to help contractors learn to make subtle generation gap changes to their business, as well as, attract and build the next generation workforce.
As for the construction climate, Carrillo spoke with contractors who said the future looks bright due to contractors having work to fill 2018 and bidding more work than before.
His love for travel is the hardest aspect of his career due to being away from home. Carrillo and his wife, Lorena, just welcome their first child. The people in the industry make his work the most interesting. Carrillo says he is fortunate to have learning opportunities and to build relationships with other successful individuals in the industry. He also likes to share his information and practices he has gathered that are valuable to the association contractor members.
“Being able to connect two people that may not have otherwise met and both find value from the relationship is incredible,” says Carrillo.
Carrillo’s long-term goals include changing the public’s perception of construction to show construction is a legitimate career. His career goals are to become a CEO of a contractor association and to become a construction-specific public speaker.
W&C asked Carrillo if being young in the industry presents any challenges. His response affirmed that he is wise beyond his years.
“We all know respect is earned, not given. When I was starting out, it was hard to slow down and learn that it takes time,” says Carrillo.