The Congress Companies: Focusing on Collaboration and Experience to Demonstrate Quality
Produced by Tom Venturo
Since its establishment over 60 years ago, The Congress Companies has been providing exceptional construction projects that are customized and designed to meet every client’s individual needs and specifications. The company was created by its two founders, brothers Paul and Peter Nicholson, who had a vision to start a construction company that would demonstrate the simplicity of building quality buildings while developing strong client relationships.
It was when Howard Johnson Corp. took notice of the firm that The Congress Companies really began to experience success. Building 80 Howard Johnson Hotels and over 200 Howard Johnson, Ground Round, and Red Coach Grille restaurants, the company was able to obtain the experience and build a reputation within the industry that was needed to move them forward.
Primarily working in New England, New York, and New Jersey, the company is known today as a merit shop construction firm that specializes in Senior Living/Health Care and Multi-Family Residential market sectors.
The company is now in its second generation of ownership and is currently led by CEO, Bill Nicholson, who has been with the company since he was in high school and has since moved his way up through the ranks.
In his years with the company, Nicholson has seen how the company has evolved with the times and he believes the company’s experience and knowledge in the industry has enabled it to thrive.
He explains, “We see how the industry is evolving and we’re able to respond to those evolutions.”
Commitment to Quality
The Congress Companies is a specialized company that is constantly increasing its knowledge and expertise with every new project it takes on within its sector. Nicholson explains that customers can trust that the staff working on their project will be experienced construction managers and consequently deliver an excellent project.
The company uses its experience to follow trends and evolve with the industry to ensure that they are always delivering quality products that clients are proud of. Because each project has its own unique factors, there is a commitment to quality that must be taken to meet the expectations and standards of the client.
The Congress Companies goes above and beyond to provide finished buildings that are marketable and meet the particular business, operational and economic objectives of each client. To ensure this, senior managers meet weekly to review continuous improvement strategies and development processes that the company stays very disciplined to.
To Nicholson, quality is more important than quantity so the company is careful not to spread itself too thin and compromise the excellence of the final product.
“The company is pretty boutique in its nature, so while we view growth as a good thing, we’re not focused on growth, we’re really focused more on quality. We’re focused on serving a select number of clients at any one time who value a collaborative approach to construction,” states Nicholson.
When asked how the company ensures that projects will be completed on time and in budget, Nicholson answers that it is the collaborative model that has contributed to countless successful projects.
He explains, “We’re interested in a collaborative model —What that means to us is that before we put our shovel in the ground, we’re collaborating with our customer and the design team to make sure that the building meets the customer’s needs and that we have the best possible approach to building it in terms of construction and design.”
This pre-construction strategy and constant communication throughout projects allows The Congress Companies to perform to the highest ability and produce a well thought-out finished product.
Additionally, while it is important to collaborate with the clients, collaborating with sub-contractors is just as important. Sub-contractors play a huge role in the delivery of projects and Nicholson explains that there are very stringent requirements for trade subcontractors to be considered by The Congress Companies.
Just as the company succeeds by selling best value, not lowest price, that is what they look for in sub-contractors as well. Nicholson discusses how the company has built strong relationships with the experienced subs that they constantly use time after time for their quality work and willing to collaborate to complete a project.
He believes, “At all levels in the company, if you have the experience, you do the right collaboration up front, and you don’t spread yourself too thin, then, to me, that’s a recipe for success.”