Creating The Client’s Vision

By: Lyle Smith

Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems just awarded its prestigious Supplier of the Year Award to Mead Construction Inc. of Melbourne, Florida in the non-production category. Based on what is now a two-year relationship, Mead is in the process of completing a complex lab build-out for the global defense and security company.

It is a highly complex construction project involving some of the most sophisticated technologies in use anywhere that enables Mead to team up with a diverse group of partners to showcase every one of its unique capabilities as a company.

“This award really is a feather we proudly wear on our hat,” CEO Doug Mead said. “I think winning this amongst all the vendors that do business with Northrop Grumman is an acknowledgement of our attention to detail.”

Northrop Grumman calls Mead a “key advisor” and cites a focus on customer satisfaction, effective communication, problem solving and expertise in defense security as some of the most valuable tools Mead brings to the table.

“We really are out of the box thinkers,” he says. “Everything we build is a prototype. We never look at a project and think we should just do it the way it was done before.”

More Than A Building                                                                                                                  

The project site is busy yet incredibly clean, a result of working in a negative-pressure environment that keeps air, dust and other particles from flowing out of the work area.

A brief tour of the site clarifies the extent to which Mead is personally involved in every facet of the project. It’s clear that while some construction projects treat a building as a sort of container, a project like this one, with so many interconnected systems, needs to be treated as a living thing where each component must communicate in concert with the others. And that is perhaps where Mead adds the greatest value –
translating ideas into execution. His team turns renderings into free-standing reality that services its intended purpose.

“We meet with teams once or more every week and consult on project planning, design and the way each system needs to interconnect,” Mead says.

Mead explains the process they’ve borrowed from some of their hospital construction jobs that keeps dust and other pollutants out of the interior of the building. It’s a technique that isn’t utilized on most construction sites. Workers wear booties in some areas that will eventually house highly sensitive electronics, all to keep the air and surfaces clean.

These are just some of the approaches that have impressed Mead’s new project partners enough to invite him to bid on additional work in places as far off as California. The company is enjoying an expanding reputation as one of the most respected general contractors in the Southeastern United States, and is operating in the Southeast, Northeast, Midwest and recently California.

“We self-perform a large part of our work which gives us direct control over when, what and how things get done.”

– CEO Doug Mead

It’s this system engineering approach that Mead Construction brings to bear that a large, international corporation like Northrop Grumman understands
and appreciates.

But Where Did It All Begin?

When Mead’s fledgling construction business completed one of its first projects – a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and State Highway 192 – the scale of today’s Mead Construction Inc. was just a dream.

One of Mead’s first hires was Randy Sklenar as the company’s lead project manager in whom he found a kindred construction spirit. Both men have worked virtually every job on the site, making them uniquely qualified and almost immediately respected among the tradesmen they have on staff.

“Randy is the key to making it possible for us to ‘self-perform’ most of the work,” Mead says. “He manages the day–to-day resources, understands the vision, can anticipate what’s coming around the corner and execute actions to avoid schedule slips and cost overruns.”

“Self-performing” is a key part of the Mead strategy and one of the components that enables customized construction to occur on a very detailed level. “That’s where we truly excel,” Mead says. “We self-perform a large part of our work which gives us direct control over when, what and how things get done.”

As an illustration, Mead describes some of the “fast track” jobs they’ve had great success with over the years. The company holds “National Records” on work performed with Radio Shack, Blockbuster Video and Perkins, to name a few, and reduced the time to operation significantly. At one time, they touched more than 1,300 Radio Shack stores in less than 90 days. They could complete a build-out of one store in about 16 hours – an impressive track record by
any measurement.

Is It In The DNA?

So where does the business passion and entrepreneurial spirit come from? Mead’s family moved to the Brevard area in 1960. He speaks of his father, Hansel, with great pride and what might be described as a sense of inspiration.

Hansel Mead was an engineer for Radiation, a precursor to the Harris Corporation before founding Q-Bit Corporation. He is published in the technical literature of electrical engineering and holds numerous patents, taking several products of his own design to market successfully, more than most entrepreneurs
can say.

“Dad’s a genius,” Mead says, shrugging his shoulders modestly. “His partnership with Mom over the past 60 years has proven to be steadfast and rock solid.”

The older Mead drives a Ford Model-A truck, a suitably unique birthday gift from his son.

As the Chairman of the Board for the Melbourne/Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Better Business Council and other influential seats, Doug Mead is a visible, active and passionate member of the Brevard County community. Doug was appointed by Jeb Bush for the “Workforce Florida Board of Directors” as well.

But when you ask Doug Mead what it is that separates his company from the field, he talks about his people. “We are very proud of our dedicated employees and the high standards they apply to their work,” Mead said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about helping people create the vision they foresee. Our employees are always proud to say ‘hey, we built that!’”

Back at the Northrop Grumman project, it’s clear that Mead, too, feels that way and is particularly proud of the impressive lobby area and entry vestibule. He won’t say it himself, but his Northrop Grumman partners point out that the look and feel of this entryway from the color and style to the video wall is “all Mead.”

It is a reputation that Mead has earned over the years he’s been in business; a reputation for making sure the work promised is the work
that’s delivered, and the quality delivered is the quality he, himself, would expect to see in a finished project.

“I often say to clients that when you hire me, you get me,” Mead says, “which just means we personally care about creating exactly what our client originally envisioned!”

(321) 255-3920  |  1-800-488-3920

License FL CGC1514610