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  Interview Bob Carpenter

Interview with Owner A West Point graduate, trained Civil Engineer at Stanford University, Bob has 25 years of military experience leading teams and completing construction projects worldwide.  As President and CEO of BCPeabody Construction Services, today he plays a pivotal role in bringing his clients' ideas and desires to project completion.  Over the last decade, BCPeabody has become an industry leader in commercial construction, governmental contracting, environmental permitting and residential home remodeling.  He credits his numerous opportunities to engage in different types of projects during his time in the military for introducing him to the entire spectrum of a construction project from entitlements to contracting adjustments.  These experiences inspired a passion for ethics, construction quality and a thorough understanding of how all the parts come together.  In 2006, after senior leadership roles in the Corps of Engineers, culminating with a final assignment as the Commander of the Jacksonville District, he founded BCPeabody Construction Services with a hand-selected group of associates.  We had a few moments with Bob to hear his unique perspectives on BCPeabody and the construction industry in general.

Questions

Q:  Why did you form BCPeabody?

A: I was fortunate enough to see, from a very high level, what it takes to be successful in the industry.  After spending my entire adult life in the military I decided, mostly for family reasons, to give the private sector a try.  I had a passion for solving problems and building teams, had access to some highly trained, skilled people with whom I had served, so combined with the massive amount of experience in construction we all had - the decision was an easy one.  I feel privileged to be part of such a great group of folks that enjoy what they do and are always trying to improve and take on challenges.

Q:  BCPeabody started in 2006, the construction industry was just starting to have tough times and many companies failed, yet BCPeabody seems to have flourished in fact even expanded into new areas, can you explain this?

A:  One of my mentors gave me some sound advice early on which I relied upon during the start-up planning stages.  His sage advice “the harder you work the luckier you get.”   I never really thought about turning back or failing, it really never was an option. I had a mission and I had to find a way to accomplish it.  I knew we had some real advantages and could bring value to our clients.  We never lost sight of that fact, having said that, we were lucky for sure.

Q:  You spoke of advantages and the value you bring to clients, can you elaborate?

A:  I think BCPeabody is truly a full service contractor.  I see opportunity and love the challenges created by this very “stove piped” construction marketplace.  Where does a person with an idea/desire to get something built go where he can get a straight answer that he can trust and act on? Most budgets cannot support the price tag of the huge construction and engineering companies.  I felt my team and I could fill this void.  In the Army I was never given the opportunity to “stove pipe” into a specific type of construction.  I learned, through my time in the field and in my education, to apply systemic methods to solve problems and establish systems so the problems don’t recur. I believe this training has allowed BCPeabody to be flexible and adaptable to meet even the most demanding requirements of our clients.  We have helped some of the biggest developers in the country with entitlement challenges.  We have consulted with some of the largest construction companies in the world on project management and contract claims, a "big box" home improvement store has chosen us to remodel their client's homes.  I credit my military background for giving me this wide range of experience and flexibility of mind to apply it.

Q:  You seem to always be ahead of your competition, what are you working on today that will give you a competitive advantage tomorrow?

A:  BCPeabody has made a name for itself by performing and solving problems that other firms shy away from.  I try to position my team for that moment when opportunity and preparedness intersect by working hard, looking for opportunities and expanding our preparedness.  I believe that the construction industry is too “stove piped”.  You have too many companies that just do residential, others commercial or still others just earthwork.  Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a place for experts, specialists and master technicians.  But I believe the world is more connected than ever and companies that can leverage ideas and lessons learned from all types of construction will be armed with a more complete suite of solutions.  For example, utilizing the lessons learned about dust control from our commercial construction projects in VA hospitals, we now provide an option for containing and evacuating dust caused from the demolition and work in kitchen and bath remodeling by using exhaust fans to create negative pressure in the room and exhausting the dust out a window. I spend a lot of my time developing systemic solutions to issues.  The construction industry is going to have to improve its communication with clients.  BCPeabody is on the cutting edge.  In the past, construction clients would be updated “periodically” about a project. In today's fast paced world that is no longer adequate.  Clients, especially homeowners, want to know in real time how the projects are going.  At BCPeabody we use the most current technology and methods to keep our clients informed and are constantly looking to improve. I don’t think we can never be too far ahead on the communication spectrum.

Q:  Now that the economy appears to be on the rebound, how is BCPeabody going to adapt?

A:  As the economy gains traction one thing that I am confident will not change is the desire for quality.  My focus will remain on building a company where quality is not only expected, but anything less will be completely unacceptable.  I expect that there will be a movement toward solutions that simply deliver results, fast and cheap.  I will not chase after that emerging market.  I will continue to perfect and grow my team of individuals who put honor and integrity above all else, are proven to have the skills and passion to understand that quality is enduring, and can communicate effectively.  I expect the economic rebound will still have a shortage of that type of construction company.