In 20 years in the construction and development business, A&T has carved an impressive reputation for itself as a leading operation in the Thompson-Okanagan Region in British Columbia. They didn’t have it easy then, and they’re certainly not sitting on their laurels now. Started in November 1992, the company began with one employee – founder and sole owner since the beginning, Jeff Arnold. In the early days, their primary source of work was sub-contracted projects – and they took on every project they could. Jeff’s wife Melissa has been one of the main forces that has kept him streamlined from the beginning, and takes care of all accounting, policy and office matters.
A&T operates in a highly seasonal and volatile market – Kamloops – where thanks to the mining community, the labor pool is being extensively downsized. The area is also a highly ‘emotional’ one, where home owners want to connect with their contractors and builders on a personal as well as professional level. Through the vision that Jeff has inculcated in – and even demands from – his team, they have climbed the ladder of success and are now a recognized name in the construction industry in BC. As with many commercial contractors the political environment surrounding their region remains something that has to be monitored and business decisions made with a view to the future as well as managing current needs.
ACCOLADES AND CERTIFICATIONS
But challenges are not new to Jeff and his team. Over time, they have built a formidable reputation testified to by the several awards that they have won for excellence. They have garnered over 20 Keystone Awards since 2005 – for their exemplary customer service and construction excellence; they have won no less than three CHBA Georgie Awards between 1997 and 2005; they have also won two Tommie awards during that time – one silver and one gold; in addition, three of their project managers – Kelly Murphy, Darren Chevalier and Jeff Arnold himself – have been awarded the Gold Seal Certification from the Canadian Construction Council.
With over 100 partnership projects every year, A&T is a force to reckon with in the commercial construction sector. Using a unique blend of non-conventional partners for stunning architectural design, and cutting-edge materials, they have worked on projects in no less than 22 cities, towns and neighborhoods spanning BC, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba. They often do this with minimal to zero impact on the daily operations of the commercial space they work in. Cases in point are the two Kamloops Airport renovation projects they have undertaken since 2003. Another showcase renovation project is Dr. Hansford’s Dental Clinic, which was given a state-of-the-art overhaul while the clinic remained operational.
RESIDENTIAL CUSTOM PROJECTS
This is another strong area of A&T’s portfolio. Through the entire process, their residential team of experts keeps clients informed of the progress. For this purpose, they use BuilderTrend, an internet-based software system that lets homeowners see almost real-time snapshots of work on their “dream under construction”. Using this effective communication tool, they can shift focus to the working relationships between the four pillars of building a home – owner, designer, contractor and supplier. This has been instrumental in their success as a builder.
Possibly the crowning achievement of A&T has been in the area of multi-housing development, where they have identified a niche in seniors housing and quickly assumed a leadership position. Their most recent venture in this specific market is the 165-unit SeniorCare Facility, where they played the role of developer in the P3 partnership model with BC Government Housing and River City Seniors Society; of these units, 65 were designed for low income senior citizens. An extended care facility was also built adjoining the property. Their next similar project is a 101-unit senior centre, which will see construction commence in Spring 2013.
COMPANY VISION AND FUTURE
Jeff’s vision for the company is crystal clear, and is embodied in his words: “I’ve got a very clear vision and understanding of our core values, and we demand that of our team. When they buy into our vision it’s the only way to keep it alive.” That vision is solidified in their mission statement: “To exceed client expectations while constantly seeking to enhance our trade through creative use of space, quality craftsmanship and attention to detail.” This extends to the sub-trades they operate with; suppliers know that when they work with A&T, they can count on being paid on time; and for this reason, they are regularly solicited by several sub-trades looking to work with them. Their policy is clear: they accept the lowest bid that brings the highest value.
A&T has been built on as strong a foundation as they come, and if the last two decades are anything to go by, they will scale even greater heights through their commitment to the community in which they live – whether it is through dedication to customer needs, their conscientious involvement in green initiatives or their utmost respect for integrity and honesty.