Walls & Ceilings magazine has selected its Contractor of 2022, Washington-based Alliance Partition Systems.
This year’s winner was chosen by a panel consisting of W&C’s publisher, editorial staff and editorial advisory board. The goal of the award is to honor a contractor that employs the best industry practices, provides a good working atmosphere for employees and excels at both quality workmanship and customer service.
“Alliance Partition Systems’ consistent production of top-quality projects and commitment to teamwork have earned the company a stellar reputation in the construction industry,” says Tiina Freeman, CAE | Director of Communications & Events at the NWCB. “The Northwest Wall and Ceiling Bureau is proud to have Alliance Partitions as a member, and its visionary owner, Mike Powers, on the board of directors.”
The magazine congratulates Alliance Partition Systems for this award. We believe the company is as progressive and quality-minded as any.
From the Beginning
Alliance Partition Systems, of Arlington, Wash., promotes a culture of family and diversity, focusing on the quality of life for its workers and the quality of work produced for its customers and community. The company’s mission is to provide highly trained and specifically skilled individuals with high morale and strong regard for their safety. With these values, this Contractor of 2022 delivers projects on time that are cooperative and well-planned, with a priority on schedule and budget.
The company’s President, Mike Powers, certainly has a tale to tell. A once-convicted felon, the young man has certainly turned his life around in a big and successful way. But the road to success is never easy.
“I was an apprentice in the union in the ’90s and transitioned into the office in 2004 due to an on-the-job injury resulting in an amputation,” Powers says, referring to one of his fingers. “I branched off from [a drywall contractor] in 2007 and started this company.”
Alliance Partition Systems’ President Mike Powers
In the words of Powers, public works projects are the company’s bread and butter. Historically, 44 percent of APS’s work has been commercial. Powers also says APS does a significant amount of work in health care, education and hospitality projects. The company has recently moved into performing large-scale private work.
Alliance Partition Systems has about 25 managers who run office operations and anywhere from 100 to 300 union field personnel, depending on the season and project load.
Since the business was started, has the company seen a lot of growth?
“Absolutely,” Powers says. “We have been blessed with a substantial amount of growth over the last few years. As an example, our very first contract was a $900 drywall repair job for a bathroom remodel. Now, 15 years later, we currently have two active contracts valued at more than $10 million each.”
Since Powers started the business, he says the growth has been very strong. And to share the rewards of this growth, the company regularly holds company/holiday outings, fishing exhibitions and more.
“Over the last year, we have been intentionally carving out our growth path by weaving our freshly defined core values into everything we do,” Powers says. “Authentic Relationships, Passionate Pursuit and Servant Leadership. That is the APS Way. We want to capitalize on what makes our humble, yet passionate and hard-working people both unique and successful. Our core purpose is to enhance the quality of life for our employees and improve the industry. Overall, we continue to grow, though we are faced with the same uncertainty that everyone else is faced with in a post-COVID world.”
In the words of Powers, the Pacific Northwest has been a construction climate that has proven strong. Seattle and Portland have both been “on fire” for the last several years. He says there was a slight blip when COVID hit and owners pulled projects, but it seems to have come back with a vengeance.
There are facets to every career within a job that some prefer vs. those duties which are less desirable. To Powers, it’s face time that really intrigues him.
“The most interesting thing to me are the people,” he says. “The perspectives of our customers (external-facing) and our employees (internal-facing) continue to be our area of focus. We are a relationship-based company. We hold true to the firm belief that our number one reason for safety, high quality of life, production, retention, employee morale—and even good prices—is all because of our authentic relationships.”
“The hardest aspect for me is to see untapped or wasted potential,” he says. “Everyone we hire is brought on board with tons of skills and potential. It’s disappointing to see people use failure as an excuse, instead of as a learning opportunity to grow from. Unfortunately, the construction industry still has high rates of depression and suicide. To witness people give up opportunities due to addictions or other struggles is heartbreaking.”
Overall, the company is optimistic regarding its future outlook. Powers says APS has some exciting community projects that will ramp up job opportunities in the field. The subcontractor also currently has openings for key roles and positions, as its growth outpaces its ability to internally raise talent. Powers emphasizes that anyone interested in joining its team should apply at the company’s website.
“Our main long-term objective is to be the biggest drywall company in three different states,” Powers says. “We have a vision for how our culture will evolve to help us achieve that objective, including a generous list of employee perks that promote a healthy working environment.”
Project: 555 TI
Location: Bellevue, Wash.
Subcontractor: Alliance Partition Systems
Manufacturers: CertainTeed, InsulPro, ClarkDietrich Northwest, Steeler Inc.
The project, known as 555 TI, is one of those projects you can see from the interstate and can say to your kids, “See that building? Our company built that,” Powers says. “It’s exciting to be part of changing the skyline of a major city in your state. We brought on an excellent project manager to lead that job and field teams towards a successful completion.”
Alliance Partition Systems is performing steel stud framing, insulation, sound caulking, door frames and drywall. This job is a full design-build project.
“I am really intrigued with the new 360-degree camera production tracking software programs that are out there,” Powers says. “We are also following Canvas’ new robotic methods for taping.”
The Project Manager for this project is Nicole Linscott-Kirkwood of APS.
The company utilizes the Plexxis Cloud Construction Management Software system on its projects.
- Preconstruction Budgeting
- Constructability Reviews
- Cold Formed Metal Framing
- Door Frame Installation
- Exterior Sheathing
- Fire Protection Systems
- FRP & Tile Backer Panels
- Gypsum Wallboard
- Rough Carpentry
- Shaftwall Construction
- Wall Finish & Texture
Design & Engineering
- Value Engineering
- Shop Drawings
- Deferred Design & Engineering
Collaboration with Trade Partners
- Acoustical Ceilings
- Expansion Joints
- Portland Cement Plaster
- Veneer Plaster
- Weather Barriers