J. Calnan & Associates: Construction Managers Doing Business with an Open Mind

By June 24, 2013News

6/24/2013, Quincy, MA — Jay Calnan, President of J. Calnan & Associates has built his own successful organization from the ground up while never losing sight of who he is and the importance of always giving back. His contributions to the industry as a mentor and educator can only be matched by his unwavering commitment to the community, helping others and always doing the right thing.

16 years ago, Jay Calnan cased in his 401K and set out to create the industry’s best construction management firm built on integrity and superior client service. Through hard work and by surrounding himself with exceptional partners and employees, J. Calnan & Associates has grown into the he company that it is today – a world class construction management firm that employs talented professionals who are honest, knowledgeable and likeable.

Jay got his first break with Bank Boston. The project was a small renovation to a kitchen cafeteria and repairs to the first floor of the building. Jay and his first employee, Barry Ledin, took tremendous pride in their work and quickly built a solid relationship with the Bank Boston team. Having that household name as a satisfied client opened the doors to other names such as Liberty Mutual, which paved the way to work with Philips then to Reebok, Talbots, The TJX Companies, The MathWorks and many more.

Sixteen years later, the mantra has remained the same – always deliver world class service and do not take any client, employee or person for granted. Jay Calnan has built a team of extremely hardworking professionals who truly enjoy coming into work each day and who genuinely care about the needs of our clients. These employees have all been recruited based on their level of professionalism and history of hard work, integrity and unselfish teamwork.

J. Calnan & Associates is a leader in providing construction management and preconstruction services in the Academic, Corporate, Healthcare and Science & Technology markets in the New England region and beyond. For over 16 years, our strategic thinking, proactive approach and commitment to clients and the communities in which we live has made us a leader in the industry and attracted high-profile clients including Boston Properties, Biogen IDEC, Atlantic Management, Children’s Hospital, PTC Inc, Reebok, Shire Pharmaceuticals, The Park School, New England Sports Network (NESN), Philips, Constant Contact, The MathWorks and General Electric to name a few. Among recent awards, JCA has received a Boston Business Journal Citizenship award for its philanthropic efforts six years in a row and Corenet recognized JC&A as “Regional Service Provider of the Year.”

Three partners join Calnan in making JC & A successful. Tim Kelly, CFO of JC & A, handles the firm’s financial, accounting and administrative functions. Mike Crowther, COO of JC & A, is responsible for internal organization processes and infrastructure to help the business realize continued growth. Meanwhile Jim Cahill, president of JC & A, focuses on strategic planning, as well as client relationships and development.

Cahill joined JC & A shortly after the firm was founded. He met Calnan through mutual friends, but the two later realized they both graduated from Tufts only nine years apart with degrees in civil engineering. Additionally, both were members of the same fraternity during their years at Tufts.

Aside from the firm’s executives, the team at JC & A boasts a multitude of well-informed and eager employees. According to Cahill, the majority of the firm’s 85 employees are in their 30s and 40s, and he feels the relative youth of the company’s employees is what sets JC & A apart from its competitors.

“We’re one of the more entrepreneurial, nimble and dynamic companies,” says Cahill. “We want young, aggressive and smart people. We look at the industry a little differently than a lot of companies who are second or third generation, family-operated businesses. We’re not stuck on having project managers that offer more than 25 years of experience. And we’re not stuck in the way we deliver and execute projects.”

High-profile Projects

After a difficult period of business in 2009, JC & A has adapted to the economic climate. Cahill explains the company now takes a more targeted approach in hiring staff and finding projects. This includes efforts to build a broader management team and work on challenging projects that prove profitable.

With a more directed client base, a large portion of JC & A’s work is within the science and technology field. The company recently completed managing a $10 million project for a biotechnical facility in Boston. This project included upgrading two existing data centers and the construction of a brand new facility. The project was complete in a short time frame with crews working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Cahill is proud to report JC & A was also involved in the recent Corporate Headquarters project for the Massachusetts-based software company, Pegasystems located at One Rogers Street in Cambridge, MA.

Working collaboratively, with Visnick & Caulfield Architects, WB Engineers and Officeworks the project team transformed the existing 162,000 SF space into a flexible corporate headquarters that would accommodate future growth and also tell the story of Pega. Highlights include new private offices that were constructed to double as small meeting rooms; flexible conference rooms with extensive audio visual equipment as well as various workstations and public open space that promote collaboration. A combination of both solid and glass demountable architectural walls were utilized extensively throughout the space to provide maximum flexibility and allow for various reconfigurations. Overall, the space was designed for change with the anticipation of rapid future growth.

Dan Ryan, Vice President, Real Estate and Facilities said: “After working together for 5 years on various projects, my team was very positive about their past experiences and felt confident working with J. Calnan & Associates for this signature project. From the start, they offered whatever support they could by joining us on tours to talk about potential concerns with various sites; working closely with the Architect on design costing for various scenarios and supporting us throughout the lease negotiation process as well. During this time, never once was there a discussion that it was expected that we award a construction contract to them. From my perspective, it’s all about the relationship with the crew at JC&A. Once you have that, the rest just falls into place and we were not disappointed!”

One even higher profile client for JC & A is Reebok International Ltd. (Reebok). JC & A has worked with Reebok on a number of projects, including The Rockport Showroom, OnField Showroom, ChaseHouse, Crossfit and the Child Care Center.

Company with Heart Creates a Safety Zone

As JC & A continues to have success within the business, the company is dedicated to volunteering time and offering financial support to many organizations. The company’s website lists nearly 20 groups that JC & A has either donated to, or for which company employees have volunteered.

“Our philanthropic work is something we take very seriously and are very proud of,” says Cahill. “We were ranked No. 1 in 2012 for employee hours donated. Each of our employees donated about 20 hours.”

One organization JC & A is proud to support is the non-profit organization Team IMPACT, which helps improve quality of life for children facing threatening illnesses through matching each child with a college athletic team of which they become a member. Calnan helped found the organization and is a member of its board of directors. A recent fundraising event held by JC & A raised more than $600,000 for Team IMPACT. These funds will help bring more children into the program and add more collegiate teams to the organization.

JC & A manages construction projects and oversees a number of subcontractors involved on a given work site. With the number of people involved on a given job, safety is a priority for JC & A. The company takes pride in an Experience Modification Rating (EMR) of .86 when the industry average is closer to an EMR of 1.0, according to Cahill. “We’re a hard hat and safety glasses company for each jobsite” he says. “We like to keep subcontractors and our employees accountable for safety.”

The company has a set standard of safety that goes beyond OSHA requirements. In addition to those standards, each jobsite has tailored safety protocols and is recognized by JC & A’s Safety Sticker Program.

“Our sticker program ensures all subcontractors assigned to a project have been certified with our safety officer for that specific project,” Cahill says. “You’ll see subcontractors walking around with different JC & A stickers on their hard hats.”

The full-time safety officer helps create the site-specific protocol and implements training for subcontractors and staff. JC & A requires all field professional complete a 30-hour OSHA course and be certified in CPR and first aid. It is the company’s care and attention to even the smallest detail that will keep J. Calnan & Associates on growth path for years to come.

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