It may seem hard to imagine now, but it wasn’t that long ago when the construction industry was fighting for its life. In 2008, Brian Kennedy was doing some work for clients he had worked with as a project manager for his previous employer. They asked him if he was going to start his own business. He did. It was himself, one superintendent and a part-time office administrator working out of the first floor of a three-family house. His clients fed him some projects.
Today, as BW Kennedy & Co. celebrates its 10th anniversary, it is a general contractor that does about $80 million worth of work annually, employs around 35 people, and has moved into newly constructed headquarters in Arlington this summer. Some of those original clients are still with the company.
Kennedy had a strong background doing life sciences work, and that remains the biggest sector BW Kennedy & Co. serves, but the company has branched out. It’s now a full-service company doing private school and other types of jobs. Whether it’s new construction or renovations, the firm has experienced construction professionals who can handle even the most challenging jobs.
Looking back, Kennedy says he never planned to grow so fast, but he’s managed to do it without sacrificing excellence, thanks to an unwavering focus on quality control and customer service. “We’ve built our business on repeat work and references from satisfied clients,” Kennedy says. “We don’t do a lot of bidding.”
Much of that work is design-build, completed with a team of merit-shop subcontractors with in-house engineering capability. BW Kennedy focuses on quality and efficiency, and has built a customer base that shares those priorities.
The work “team” comes up a lot in any conversation with Brian Kennedy. Whether it’s in reference to his subcontractors, or the estimators, superintendents, marketing personnel and office administrators who work with him, Kennedy knows you can’t do it alone. After talking with him, you get the distinct impression that’s one of his favorite things about the business.