VOL. 129 | NO. 130 | Friday, July 4, 2014
SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT
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Linkous Construction Never Wavered in Face of Recession
By Amos Maki
As the real estate crash and Great Recession battered the construction industry, the leadership at Linkous Construction Co. made a strategic decision to keep its team intact and maintain the level of service the general contracting and construction management firm had become known for.
“I think it created an even stronger sense of teamwork in our office,” said Rusty Linkous, president of Linkous Construction. “Everybody understood the market we were enduring and that each and every project was vital.
“I saw people come together as a team. Recessions end at some point and we made a commitment to hold onto our team and move forward and I think we’ve benefited from that. Our clients didn’t get a different level of service because we were in a recession and our revenues were down.”
Linkous Construction Co. found a way to weather the economic storm of recent years by keeping its team intact and maintaining the level of service the company is known for.
(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)
Linkous said the company, which now has around 100 employees, learned valuable lessons as it navigated the choppy waters of the recession.
“It made everybody look into their business and make sure they were running it efficiently as possible,” he said. “That kind of wake-up call our industry experienced over the last several years I think in some ways will benefit us as move forward.”
With the dark days of the financial downturn fading into the past, Linkous Construction is now poised to ride the rebound.
“We’re not just going to give you a great building,” Linkous said. “The process is going to be great.”
Today, the company is licensed in 13 states, with much of its work now focused on Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. But as Linkous surveys the general contracting and construction management landscape he sees more opportunities for growth.
“I see more opportunities across the Southeast for Linkous,” he said. “We have the ability and the desire to work in other areas across the Southeast.”
Linkous said repeat business is a key to his company’s success and longevity.
“What we’ve been blessed with through the years and we still place our biggest emphasis on, is our relationships with our clients,” he said. “When we get the opportunity to build for you the first time, we don’t want you to call any other general contractor for your construction needs large or small.”
Linkous said his company operates by a simple credo he first learned from his father.
“It’s simple, but I think it’s applicable to any business and that is do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it,” Linkous said. “It may sound simple, but I think that’s the key to why we have so much repeat business.”
Linkous has also embraced the use of technology, such as Building Information Modeling, which can allow designers and construction firms to see every inch of a building, even items as small as a sprinkler head, before it is ever built.
“The job site in general looks a lot different than it did 20 years ago,” Linkous said. “There are a lot of new technologies and new tools within our industry that are extremely useful. We virtually build buildings now on the computer before we ever set foot on the job.
“On every job site we have a set of paper plans, but, more times than not, the projects we work on utilize these 3-D models that are created using BIM software. Any specific detail an architect or engineer would like for the contractor to look at can now be viewed in the field, on-site with a laptop computer.”
Global communications tools have also played a major role in technological advancements within the industry. For instance, when Linkous built the $72 million rice processing plant for Riviana foods in Memphis, Riviana officials based in Spain were able to watch progress on the plant from their native land because of advances in Web conferencing.
“We are communicating with people over in Spain constantly,” Linkous said. ”That kind of technology eliminated the need for multiple overseas trips by the owners that would have been required previously.”
Linkous said he’s grateful the economy appears to be improving and local activity is picking up.
“We’ve seen a definite uptick in the market locally,” he said. “It’s keeping everyone busy, not just Linkous.”