Fifty-eight years after it opened its initial office, a Minnesota planning, development, construction, and facilities management company is looking to expand its presence in the Midwest by establishing a regional office in Cedar Rapids.
McGough, a fifth generation family-owned business that traces its founding to 1956 in St. Paul, also has offices in Rochester and St. Cloud, Minn., as well as Phoenix, Ariz. Clients have been as diverse as General Mills, Graco, Mayo Clinic, 3M and the University of Minnesota.
Brad Wood, McGough executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the company has been involved with the construction of corporate offices, data centers, educational institutions, fine arts and cultural buildings. It also has constructed manufacturing plants, warehouses, municipal and government buildings, residential complexes, and science and laboratory projects.
“About 15 years ago, we consciously began an expansion by opening an office in Phoenix to serve the southwest portion of the country,” Wood said. “We also began to expand regionally with projects in North Dakota and we’ve had a lot of projects in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“For whatever reason, we never found the right opportunity south of the Minnesota border with Iowa. About a year ago, we analyzed this market and realized that the sectors that are growing and vibrant — health care, higher education and ag industrial in particular — are areas where we have a good alignment in terms of expertise.”
In the fall, McGough hired Scott Sylvester, who has experience in the market working for Abell-Howe and Knutson Construction, to supervise the Cedar Rapids regional office at 222 Third Ave. SE. Sylvester, vice president and director of business development, was exploring opportunities at the time with a desire to remain the Corridor.
“We believe the eastern part of Iowa is the right place to plant the flag,” Wood said. “We think we have a good fit in terms of how we do business. We hope to achieve the kind of success where we become a respected contractor.”
McGough is a $500 million company that is a union contractor in St. Paul, but operates in a non-union area in Phoenix. Wood said the company has strong relationships with union and non-union subcontractors.
“We want to establish relationships with the local subcontractor base, which we have done in all our markets,” he said. “We have worked with Modern Piping in the Twin Cities and we expect to continue that relationship in Iowa.”
Sylvester said Eastern Iowa has a very good base of subcontractors.
“There’s really no need to import subcontractors,” Sylvester said. “We need to let them know who McGough is and the technology they bring to a project.”
Wood said McGough as a dedicated group of virtual planning employees who model a building in a computer before the first spade enters the ground.
“We essentially build it in the computer before we build it in reality,” Wood said. “It saves a tremendous amount of rework because you are able to install material without concern for any system clashes that might occur.”
Wood said McGough project managers use iPad tablet computers throughout the construction process, eliminating the need to carry heavy blueprints. Any changes are instantaneous and shared with anyone involved in the project.