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Generations of Success

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“Every story has a place, let us build the place in your story.” In every interaction, product or project, this is the goal that Haren Companies sets out to achieve for its customers. A family run business since 1932, the company has evidently been part of too many stories to count at this stage. However, the desire to work with clients to produce work that stands the test of time is still the target. In addition to that, the general contracting company based in Kansas City are working for their clients, not only with a rich and engrained legacy to fall back on, but also with their sights firmly set on the present day. While this history bears witness to the success and perseverance of everyone associated with the company, those at Haren Companies are fully aware that it counts for little if you don’t continue to raise the bar on every level, from services to skills to execution.

“Haren Companies comes together to provide a diverse and wide range of services that can take a client from preconstruction right through to aftercare and support.”

Made up of a number of bespoke, dedicated companies, Haren Companies comes together to provide a diverse and wide range of services that can take a client from preconstruction right through to aftercare and support. The company has a high level of in-house expertise in both project management and restoration, working to ensure the same standard of service on a project, regardless of scale. Chuck Haren, Manager, is quick to explain how the model of skilled staff in the business enables them to work on virtually any project required. “Today we have several companies. Our largest markets are commercial building, senior living, multi-family and Municipal construction but we also have a restoration company and a commercial concrete company. This means that we can put a really large emphasis on self-perform work. We have about thirty-five tradespeople, and we really specialize in the carpentry trades, you know like rough and finished carpentry. In addition to that, We have some skilled interior finish workers, we have staff that can do paint and drywall and a little bit of tile and things like that. I like to tell people there really is no smallest project, you know. For the right client we can come in and install some cabinets or we could build a two hundred unit Senior Living Building.”

Managing to stay in existence, let alone a competitive force in the construction world for almost ninety years is a massive achievement. While the company now enjoys a group of owners, rather than the completely family-owned enterprise that was set up in 1932, many of the core values that have been relied upon since those early days are still in focus today. These values, coupled with a desire to move with the times, has ensured the company remains competitive. “I think we can attribute our longevity to a combination of staying true to what we do well, but always looking for opportunities to improve. I think every generation has done things differently. If you look at the way the company is today, it operates a lot different than when my grandfather was running it.”

Haren Companies employees working in shop

Mike Mannino, Director of Operations at the company, recognizes that, while the construction landscape may have shifted over time, there are certain aspects of business that Haren Companies have brought along with them. “In the earlier days of the company, there was a great deal of self-perform work because that was the environment. At that time, many general contractors performed much of the work with their employees. Now, many general contractors have moved away from that and there are some that don’t have any skilled trade workers on their staff to do the work on the jobsite. Instead, they employ trade partners to do that on a contract basis. We do as well to some extent, and we value those relationships. However, we also have skilled trade workers on our Haren Companies team that work for us. We can handle a lot of the work internally.”

This focus and ability to self-perform many aspects of a job sets the company apart in some ways. It allows for a level of flexibility that isn’t readily available in modern construction and it is something that Mike is rightly proud of. “We have the ability to be pretty nimble. It helps us be more competitive and have a little more control over the project schedule and the quality. We also have the ability to prefabricate certain products in a warehouse setting. Many of those components and assemblies are customized. We see that as an advantage, to be able to perform work in advance of it being required on a project. It takes less time on the project and that has been a benefit for us.”

“It’s just having the right type of character and the right type of employees that fit within the company and that’s one thing that the Haren family has done very well, they focused on employing people that fit in with the culture and mission and values of the company.”

While the ability to self-perform many aspects of a job is a huge benefit, the company is not immune to the shortage of skilled workers that effects all aspects of the industry. To rectify this, the company utilizes its in-house skills to enable a training program that combines youth and experience. “We have a large range of skill sets and we strategically place the younger, less experienced workers with the right mentors. We have a great team who are willing to learn, and others that are willing to teach. A lot of their learning is from others every day, being on the jobs. It’s just having the right type of character and the right type of employees that fit within the company and that’s one thing that the Haren family has done very well, they focused on employing people that fit in with the culture and mission and values of the company.”

What really allows this company to stand above its competitors, however, is its ability to listen to the client, to find out exactly what is needed. Through extensive experience in many sub-categories of construction such as retail, commercial and multi-family, Haren Companies have built up a reputation of designing and producing projects that meet the needs of the customer for today but also into the future. The focus is on producing a building that will meet these needs continuously, will be adaptable and intuitive so that it will stand the test of time. Chuck explains that by putting in the work at the planning stage, the end result is a much higher quality product. “The only residential work that we do is senior living, or multi-unit developments. Everything else is commercial in nature. We have worked on a lot of religious buildings of churches and municipal buildings such as fire stations. What is unique is that, on those larger projects, we can we can do pre-construction, we understand the programming behind the facility. For example, if it’s senior living we know what the assisted living administrator needs. With nursing stations, we will know what code requirements will be. Also, we can take that level of sophistication to a small project too. Our clients will have the support of a project team that really understands the bigger picture.”

Clearly, as it is the case across all industries, COVID and its additional requirements have made things more difficult for everyone at Haren Companies. Chuck feels that the option of working from home simply doesn’t exist in construction as, by its nature, construction is a hands-on type of work environment. Adaptations have had to be made, particularly as the company is often working in occupied spaces. However, he feels that there will always be challenges in the industry and that this year, due to investors and companies gaining a little more clarity, there will more positive developments in construction. “We have adapted, as has everyone. You know, there’s always new challenges in this industry. Obviously we’re doing everything that the CDC recommends at minimum. However, most of our projects have to be much more stringent on workers coming in and temperature checks, social distancing. I think another aspect is how much it clogged up private development. A lot of people’s projects got put on hold because their investors weren’t really sure what the market was going to do. Everyone in Kansas City thought 2020 was the year that we were going to add a huge amount of office space. Nobody did these office projects because no one was really sure what the office was going to look like. Yeah. And you know, now though I think we’re really starting to see a change. Take senior living for example, they did everything to keep the residents safe. Now their staff is vaccinated, all the residents that want to be vaccinated have been. Having spent the past year keeping residents safe, they are now looking for 2021 to be the year that they work through the backlog of projects.”

Haren Companies has been in business for almost ninety years. Evidently, it has seen and adapted to huge changes in construction and the pandemic has been a seismic shock to the industry. However, the company has been around long enough to know that there will be a recovery and that it is well placed to capitalize on this recovery by doing the things it has always done, using a well-trained and highly skilled staff to listen to the needs of its clients. With this outlook, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if this company was still around in another ninety years. By utilizing the wealth of expertise the company has in-house, Mike believes the company will be set up well for any future developments. “If we can have a good workforce of skilled tradespeople that are part of the company and part of the team, it makes us stronger as a company and there will continue to be other opportunities. We have talented tradesmen, but we also have talent throughout the company. Our superintendents that run the job sites are a huge factor, our project managers, our administration and accounting staff. It takes a whole team. Everybody works together which is what makes it really work.”

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