“When we were first starting out, we used to invite our friends over and make them add up spreadsheets with calculators at the dining room table,” said Jason L. Bugbee, owner and vice president of Nutmeg Companies, Inc.
Since its start in May 1988, Nutmeg Companies, Inc. has changed significantly. The fully licensed general contractor now has a corporate office in Norwich, Connecticut, as well as satellite offices in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, a substantial upgrade from the company’s beginnings in the home basements of Bugbee and co-owner and vice president Evert L. Gawendo more than 27 years ago.
Focusing primarily throughout the northeast, the company is proficient in design-build and bid-build projects, with the ability to perform all general trade, carpentry, plumbing, and fire protection duties in-house.
In a recent interview, both vice presidents along with Director of New Development Robert Godiksen discussed how the company has been able to find success due to its hardworking team, one that exemplifies quality workmanship, reliable service and commitment to excellence.
It’s a team effort
“We maintain a very strong relationship with our employees, subcontractors and vendors,” said Bugbee. “We strive to be a company that everyone wants to work with.”
Since the very beginning, this has been Nutmeg’s goal. The company offers a family-oriented environment and prides itself on having a close relationship with its employees.
“We have an extremely low employee turnover rate,” said Gawendo. “Most of our employees are long-term employees.”
With team-building events like bowling parties and season tickets to local sporting events, it’s no secret that Nutmeg’s employees feel close to the company and its executives, which Bugbee believes has helped to set them apart from others in the industry.
Working with a range of clients in the local, state and federal government agencies, as well as private sectors, Nutmeg involves each of its team members in all aspects of the trade.
“Our employees are cross-trained in all facets of the business, from finance to project management to estimating and engineering,” noted Bugbee. “Even our field employees get the opportunity to handle multiple disciplines, working with owners, architects and other design professionals. “
Furthermore, all of Nutmeg’s field employees are OSHA 10- or 30-hour trained, as safety is one of the company’s top priorities.
A variety of projects
Nutmeg is currently working on the Camp Edwards build, a two-part project consisting of one 25,900-square foot educational building plus an additional 32,000-square foot billeting facility. With steel frames, masonry exterior and metal siding, Camp Edwards will be a training center for the Massachusetts National Guard.
The project was awarded to Nutmeg after the company’s technical and price proposal provided the best value to the government. Camp Edwards is currently on-track to be completed in April of 2016.
The build hasn’t been without its challenges; in fact, there was a rather large issue early on that Nutmeg had to address.
“One of the buildings was going to be located within eight feet of existing high voltage power lines, making it impossible to proceed,” Bugbee said.
Nutmeg was able to successfully work with the government to come up with a no cost solution that had the electrical wires placed underground, allowing the project to stay on schedule and within budget.
Nutmeg is currently involved in quite a few other programs with the government, working with Navy MATOC—Multi Area Task Order Contract—for northeast responsibility. The company has a total of four different projects in the Newport naval station area, two projects with its GSA IDIQ contract (Indefinite Delivery and Indefinite Quality) and is involved with an on-call program with the University of Connecticut that prequalifies Nutmeg to handle ongoing construction needs.
One project that Nutmeg is particularly proud of is the Marine reserve center in Brunswick, Maine. For this build, the company needed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council LEED requirements for a silver certification. The entire project team worked together to help Nutmeg secure a gold certification from the council.
Going – and staying – green
Nutmeg knows the importance of going – and staying – green. When it comes to recycling, the company is proactive: a high percentage of all contents get recycled including demolition materials, steel, sheet rock, block, brick and concrete.
“We recycle as much as we can,” said Godiksen. “We even install and use energy efficient equipment.”
The company has made sure that its new office building promotes a greener environment, adding LEED lights to reduce energy consumption, occupancy censors in all rooms and high efficiency water heaters.
Strategies for success
Keeping shares in each market that includes local, state, federal, private and healthcare, Bugbee noted that it’s hard to predict when one particularly industry is going to stop spending money.
“It’s our philosophy to keep as much of balance in as many different markets as possible,” he said. “We don’t want to be caught with no markets to work in.”
Bugbee believes that just having good construction skills isn’t enough to stay relevant in this industry.
“You must be able to contribute positively to the client’s business goals,” he said. “A business must be able to enhance during our construction process.”
It is through communication with the client that Nutmeg ensures construction doesn’t interrupt a business’ day-to-day activities. Whether that entails working late nights or weekends, it’s imperative to have no surprises.
Bugbee gives credit to their highly experienced team for being able to accomplish this essential goal.
“Without our employees, numerous subcontractors and vendors, our success wouldn’t be possible,” said Bugbee.
As for the future of the company and the construction industry as a whole, Nutmeg Companies, Inc. is very hopeful, believing that the outlook is promising.
“We believe that the private market will start coming back in the northeast,” Bugbee, Gawendo and Godiksen all agreed, from looking at population and business growth in the area as indicators.
With its quality workmanship, reliable service and commitment to excellence, Nutmeg is set to tackle whatever challenges and victories the future holds.