Push Yourself

Share on facebook

“PUSH YOURSELF”

Featured article in “Business Observer”
August 2016 Edition

A construction firm born in the downturn has accomplished a unique feat: supersized annual revenue growth while remaining picky in choosing its clients and work.

Bigger isn’t always better. That’s the approach Barry Connor and Craig Gaskins took when they started their Naples-based general contracting firm, Connor & Gaskins Unlimited, in
late 2010.

Longtime veterans of the construction industry (and former partners at Boran Craig Barber Engel Construction), the pair knew how they wanted to position their business. “Having a large volume wasn’t our interest,” says Connor. “We really wanted to get back to concierge-type service, to being very involved with our clients.”

That hands-on, client-focused philosophy has led to lots of repeat business and referrals. That, in turn, has helped the company grow its business throughout Florida and the United States. Revenues, for example, have risen from $17.4 million in 2014 to $36.6 million in 2015, up 110%. “We’ve been very fortunate to have a great group of clients that has afforded us the opportunity to provide them great service,” says Connor. “As they continue to grow,
we’re going to grow shoulder to shoulder with them.”

But just like they don’t chase volume, the company co-founders won’t let any potential for growth get out of hand. “We’ve always been cautious, making sure that we’re shoring everything else up as we grow,” says Connor. “It’s important to us to have the team strength to take on another project, and we’ve turned down work because the timing of it doesn’t work or the team isn’t ready for that project.”

Nurturing their team of 38 full-time employees has been a major focus for Connor and
Gaskins. Over their years in the construction industry, they’d seen an increase in
employees’ desire for work-life balance — the importance of being able to do the job they
loved and enjoying plenty of time with their families. Making sure those employee needs
are met pays off in many ways for the business.

“We feel that being able to provide an environment that allows the team to spend time
with their families means that their effort and attitude and the nature of how our clients
are treated are so much better,” says Connor. “We’re able to provide better service to our
clients because we’re all fresh and focused on what we’re doing.”

That quality of service, which extends from conception and design to construction and completion, keeps clients coming back and has helped the firm expand both the types of projects it takes on and the geographic areas in which it works. The firm has completed projects and has others underway statewide and in places such as North Carolina and California.

“It’s a small world out there in the sense of the product type and scale of projects we’re doing,” says Connor. “Everyone discusses who’s performing and who doesn’t. Our biggest catalyst for doing the things across the U.S. that we’re doing is that we do what we say we’re going to do, and we do it well. And clients want to surround themselves with people who do that.”

‘DESIRE TO DIVERSIFY’

In addition to expanding geographically, the company also focuses on keeping a diversified
project list. The goal: avoid concentrating too much on any one construction area so it can weather industry and economic changes and keep new opportunities coming. So while it does a lot of hotel work nationwide — including renovations of 189 existing InTown Suites Extended Stay Living locations, as well as new projects for the brand — the firm also takes on everything from condo to retail projects. And it recently started a new division, CGU Homes, to handle its high-end residential work.

This desire to diversify means the executives must be open to new things. “It’s important to keep pushing yourself into environments that maybe aren’t as comfortable as others,” says Connor. “We want to make we sure don’t get complacent in one market. And it always leads
to something even better, to another relationship.” Taking a multiregional approach
also protects the firm from inevitable hiccups or slowdowns in any one geographic
area, helping to ensure there’s always another project on the horizon, even if it’s in a different city or state.

“Markets constantly f luctuate,” says Connor. “My biggest concern is being able to
provide for my team and their families.” That might mean some travel for project managers
or construction superintendents, but it keeps the work flowing.

One challenge in operating around the country is the time it takes for the firm to familiarize
itself with different regions. “You have to have boots on the ground before you even
kick the dirt,” says Connor. “It’s six months of time spent interviewing subcontractors
and materials vendors to understand who’s qualified. It’s important we spend time up
front doing that; we can see where the weakest links are on competitors’ projects very
quickly.”

But with investment in time the company is able to gain valuable experience constructing
projects in different environments with different concerns, from wind and rain in Florida to earthquakes in California. This provides insight on how materials and designs perform under different stressors. And working in a variety of regions helps Connor and Gaskins stay on top of construction and design trends, and then share those with clients.

That value it provides clients, and the connections forged as a result, has become the ultimate factor that drives the firm’s growth and success. “We’re not just looking for
work,” says Connor. “We go places where our clients want us to go. We’re following our
relationships. We do project after project with our clients. And when we’re doing a project,
we do whatever it takes to make sure that project is successful.
We truly partner with all of our clients.”

“We’re not just looking for work. We go places where our clients want us to go. We’re following our relationships.”

— Barry Connor | Connor & Gaskins Unlimited, Naples

Beth Luberecki – Contributing Writer

 

About Us

We also build strong, long-lasting relations based on mutual respect, trust and integrity. From responding to small emergency renovations to managing the largest projects, Connor & Gaskins Unlimited has the experience, people and resources to take your concept to completion with confidence and satisfaction.

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Sign up for our Newsletter

LE JARDIN

Naples, FL

Connor & Gaskins completed cnstruction improvements to the main entrance at Le Jardin. Scope of work included new planters, decorative walls, brick pavers and signage.

NAPLES STONE WORKS

Naples, FL

Connor & Gaskins completed an interior tenant renovation for Naples StoneWorks located in Naples, FL. Naples StoneWorks is a premier countertop manufacturer and installer of floors and walls, specializing in granite, marble, quartz, glass and tile.

RITZ CARLTON

Sarasota, FL

Connor & Gaskins renovated the entire building, including 266 suites, club lounge, ballrooms and common areas.

ARTECITY

South Beach, FL

Scope of work includes completion of residential towers, villas, town homes, retail, hardscape and water features.

Tower North = 55 Units

Tower South = 58 Units

Park Villas East & West = 18 Townhouses

Park Plaza Corner = 10 Junior Suites & Retail

DOUBLETREE HOTEL

Gainesville, FL

Connor & Gaskins renovated the entire hotel, including 206 guestrooms, corridors, lobby, bar, restaurant, kitchen, swimming pool and hardscape common areas.

6840 Hunters Road

Naples, FL

Connor & Gaskins designed and built a new ground up 12,964 GSF custom residence located in Naples FL. Construction included guest house, swimming pool with elevated spa, multiple garages, exercise room, and many other custom features throughout

WINDSOR PENTHOUSE

Connor & Gaskins renovated the complete interior of a Windsor Penthouse (10,000 sq. ft.) located in Bay Colony of Naples, FL.

TARPON ROAD

Connor & Gaskins built a custom home located in Royal Harbor in Naples, FL.

2265 TROUT COURT

Connor & Gaskins built a custom home located in Royal Harbor in Naples, FL.

RAW DELICIOUS II

Naples, FL

Connor & Gaskins designed and constructed a new juice bar in Naples, FL.

UMI GALLERY

1661 Trade Way, Naples, FL

Connor & Gaskins constructed a new exotic stone sales center in Naples, FL.

RITZ CARLTON BEACH CLUB

Naples, FL

Connor & Gaskins provided extensive renovations to the Ritz Carlton Beach Club.

LAKE TOWN WHARF

Panama City, FL

Connor & Gaskins completed an entire renovation that included 760 units, the addition of large hardscape pools, spas, golfing and putting greens, bars, garage top pools, meeting rooms, hotel resort dining and shopping areas.

VINOY GOLF CLUBHOUSE

St. Petersburg, FL

Connor & Gaskins provided extensive renovations to the Vinoy Golf Clubhouse from the bar to dining and relaxation areas.

NAPLES MEDI SPA

Naples, FL

Connor & Gaskins renovated the Naples Medi Spa interior from the lobby and waiting room areas to the hallway and display cabinetry.

HILTON HOTEL

Tampa, FL

Connor & Gaskins are currently renovating the Hilton Hotel located in downtown Tampa, FL.

MARILYN’S CLOTHING STORE

Naples, FL

Connor & Gaskins renovated Marilyn’s Clothing Store in Naples, FL. Marilyn’s Clothing Store is a refined luxury boutique located in the heart of Old Naples on 5th Avenue South know for its highly personalized service.

850 Central Avenue

Naples, FL

The 850 Central Avenue project consists of a three-story mixed-use commercial / residential project including 22 condominium units located over approximately 10,000 sf of retail space in the downtown Naples area.  The total combined building area is 80,500 gross square feet and construction includes a post tension and masonry block structure.  The building has a sleek urban design with private amenities including 2nd floor private pool and lawn as well as a roof deck terrace with fire pit, outdoor seating, kitchen and dining spaces.  The condominium units range in size from 1,587 to 1,943 square feet.

UPTOWN SUITES FL

Homestead, FL

Connor & Gaskins Unlimited turns over another completed ground up hotel in Southeast Florida.  CGU oversaw the project from initial entitlements all the way through Construction working with Miami-Dade County and the City of Homestead.  The building was designed with 127 rooms to deliver to each guest the comforts of home for longer stays, including kitchenettes, class-leading Wi-Fi, fitness center, guest laundry…. all while being walking distance to retail and restaurants.

FAIRFIELD INN SUITES

Marathon, FL

Marathon Hotel Renovation – Expansion of 27 new suites for Fairfield Inn on an existing property with a 135 room hotel .

 

UPTOWN SUITES TN

Smyrna, TN

Connor & Gaskins completed the entire construction of a new 127 key, 4-story hotel from the ground up, located in Smyrna, TN.

HYATT ROSEVILLE

Roseville, CA

Connor & Gaskins renovated the Hyatt Place hotel with 151 rooms located in Roseville, CA.

Altura Bayshore Tampa

ALTURA BAYSHORE

Tampa, FL

Bold design. Stunning interiors. Breathtaking views.

22-story luxury condominium tower including 73 residences and 6 penthouses.
2,403 to 3,848 total sq. ft.