The Maple Reinders’ story follows the classic North American history textbook template. Rapid western expansion inevitably followed eastern settlement. Founded 42 years ago, in Mississauga, Ontario, Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd., has spread as far west as British Columbia. Dan Harvey describes how the company’s versatility has enabled it to flourish, even in the toughest economic times.
Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd., a full-service design/build construction management and general contracting group, specializes in commercial and industrial facilities, municipal infrastructure and environmental projects. Considered one of the top 30 Canadian contractors as far as construction revenue, it has completed more than 1,500 projects in its home country.
One of its most recent projects is also one of its largest. Maple Reinders has taken the lead role in the $45 million expansion of the Porter Airlines’ terminal at Toronto City Center Airport. Specifically, the company is engaged in the construction of a new 150,000-square-foot passenger terminal. “We’ve had a long-standing involvement in the airport industry and helped build many terminals throughout Canada. This is yet another marquee project for us,” says Harold Reinders, vice president of the Mississauga, Ontario-headquartered company.
Further, the new construction is an economic boost for the region. The project, which should be completed by 2010, is generating 300 area construction jobs as well as 600 new jobs within Porter Airlines, as this addition will include a mix of retail, food and car rental services, among others. “Essentially, Porter is bucking the economic trend,” observes Reinders. “While many airline businesses are struggling to stay alive, Porter remains quite healthy. We’re happy to be involved with a group that is visionary and successful.”
FAMILY OWNED FULL-SERVICE OPERATION
The company was founded in 1967 by Fred Reinders (Harold’s father) and remains a family owned and operated enterprise. “My father is still actively involved as chairman, while my brother Mike is company president,” reports Harold. “We started in southern Ontario and now have five offices throughout Canada.”
Beside the Mississauga headquarters, Maple Reinders includes outposts in Cambridge, Ontario and in Calgary, Edmonton and Kelowna in Western Canada. The full-service construction company is renowned for providing the fastest project delivery at the lowest possible costs without compromising quality and value. Moreover, it accomplishes this throughout several sectors. “During our history, we’ve successfully pursued and completed projects in the industrial, commercial and institutional [ICI] sector, which comprises almost half of our business. But we’re also heavily involved in heavy civil construction, waste management and wastewater treatment projects,” says Reinders.
Commercial construction encompasses 40 percent of the company’s revenues, while waste management generates 45 percent. Building management generates 10 percent, while the remaining 5 percent comes from building services. Reinders helps explain this breakdown: “Essentially, each company office duplicates our headquarters in terms of systems, businesses and projects; but some locations, such as Kelowna and Edmonton, are more focused on civil construction and wastewater projects, while others, such as Cambridge and Calgary, lean more toward the ICI sector. The head office is strongly involved in all directions.”
Basically, each offices focus relates to the needs in its region, Reinders adds. “For instance, there’s a much smaller ICI market in Kelowna, simply because of that town’s small size. But, at the same time, there’s a large need for infrastructure work and heavy civil construction. Conversely, in the larger city markets, like the Toronto area, a strong ICI market exists.”
The company’s ICI market activities include commercial construction, with a strong focus on both public and private sectors. Maple Reinders exhibits particular expertise in projects involving distribution, storage and transport centers, as well as food processing, recreational, office, industrial, retail, healthcare and educational facilities. Within this sector, Maple Reinders is an industry leader in design/build and construction management, and it possesses both the experience and financial strength to successfully complete the largest projects.
The design/build concept, as the company describes, is a single-source approach that provides project plans, specifications and a guaranteed maximum price. This advances simplified project delivery, as clients need only deal with one entity for both the design and construction, and it eliminates up-front costs and unpleasant sticker shock. In Canada, as well as throughout the world, design/build has been a preferred method of project delivery for more than 50 years, and Maple Reinders has accomplished it for the greater part of its existence. In 2007, the coveted Design-Build Award for Excellence was presented to Maple Reinders by the Canadian Design-Build Institute.
Maple Reinders’ waste management activities also target public and private sectors and in this area, the company demonstrates singular expertise in water and wastewater treatment centers, designing and building such facilities according to increasingly stringent performance specifications and environmental standards. It has completed more than 400 water and wastewater treatment and transmission facilities; in the process becoming a national leader in the design, construction and operation of Canadian solid waste processing facilities. In 2004 and 2006, Maple Reinders was the recipient of the Environmental Achievement Award presented by the Canadian Construction Association.
As far as heavy industrial construction, Maple Reinders offers experience and expertise in projects ranging from resource recovery plants to shipyard dry docks to the largest in-ground water reservoir ever built in permafrost. Also, the organization has applied cutting edge technologies for the remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater.
The company’s construction management activities provide customers with balanced facility development service for numerous projects in plant property development and waterfront and airport facilities. Specific services include plant site development, facility development, and planning, budgeting and organization.
Maple Reinders’ building services involve facility maintenance and improvements for customers in the ICI sector. Its full-service capability includes building expansions, renovations, tenant and interior improvements, restoration of fire and flood damage and steel fabrication.
Maple Reinders is also an advocate of sustainable building construction, investing in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation training for staff. To date, five of its employees have become LEED accredited professionals.
Because of such versatility, Maple Reinders has enjoyed enormous revenue growth. Translating business activity into dollars, the company’s annual work volume increased from $50,000 in 1967 to nearly $250 million today. Currently, individual project values range from $15,000 to $65 million. “We’ve seen a particularly large growth spike in the past six years, which has placed our annual growth rate in the six-percent range,” reports Reinders.
That spike, he adds, results in large part from an increased number and size of infrastructure-related projects, which underscores why the company manages to withstand the economic storm. If one area goes down, another rises. “Because of the current global economic situation, the manufacturing and warehousing markets have been hit quite hard, and that impacted the ICI side of our business, especially in Southern Ontario,” relates Reinders. “However, we have been able to shift our resources to the heavy civil market, which is currently experiencing strong growth. Our ability to adjust has enabled us to capture a large portion of that market.”
The company also received a boost from projects with a very specific focus, such as the Porter terminal construction. In the meantime, it anticipates a turnaround in the down markets, which will only bolster future fortunes. “While it’s a wait-and-see situation, we anticipate a turnaround as far as manufacturing and warehousing. It’s going to take several years, but we feel we are well-positioned to benefit from this and experience further growth,” says Reinders.
REWARDED VIA REPUTATION
He adds that there is a less physically tangible, but no less important, element that has contributed to the company’s success. “We’re highly focused on conducting business with integrity and professionalism, and this governs how we conduct every element of our business,” he comments. “This impacts the quality of our product as well as the relationships we develop, not just with clients but with various trades and consultants. Our approach is based on strong, mutually beneficial partnerships, as we look for the common thread. This reduces the high conflict level often experienced in large projects.”
This approach, coupled with company capabilities, helped gain Maple Reinders an enviable reputation validated by an annual Canadian survey (conducted by Hewitt Associates and Queens University). The study, now in its fifth year, recognizes Canada’s top 50 small to medium-sized employers. In its first appearance on this list, Maple Reinders ranked at number 44. Significantly, the survey is based on company employee response, and this indicates that Maple Reinders goes the extra mile for both clients and employees. Assessing the ranking, Reinders comments: “It demonstrates that we not only effectively manage our technical resources, but that we value our employees.”