Marguerite Concrete, Inc. provides solid services for any project
Established in 1989, Marguerite Concrete, Inc. is a Massachusetts-based company that delivers high-quality concrete construction and comprehensive service packages for construction managers, general contractors and developers across New England. With specialized divisions that offer comprehensive concrete flatwork, formwork, reinforcing installation and pumping services, the company is a leading one-stop shop for customers in any sector.
Marguerite Concrete’s current capacity did not appear overnight. Born into a family of cement masons and craftworkers, Founder Jim Marguerite’s love for the trade developed early on while working summers with his father and grandfather. After graduating from high school, Jim followed in his family’s footsteps by becoming a union cement mason. As his concrete business garnered success, Jim stepped away from the trade to lead his own company.
Initially, Marguerite Concrete, Inc. was a concrete flatwork company with an emphasis on small commercial and residential projects. By the early 2000s, the company became a signatory contractor with the Laborers’ International Union of North America and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Jim’s flexible business model and innovative approaches have always contributed to the company’s success.
“When I started the company, different elements of concrete services were often contracted separately,” says Jim, President and CEO. “Over time, the market transitioned, and general contractors began to rely on subcontractors to manage the entire package of services. So, we adapted our business model. The key to our success has always been our ability to adapt.”
The Influence of Digital Innovation
The digital transformation of company processes has given the Marguerite Concrete team a competitive advantage that allows them to meet clients’ evolving needs.
“One of the most exciting things about this company is our openness to experiment with new technologies,” says Senior Project Manager Asa West. “Otherwise, you find yourself behind the competition.”
As an early adopter of Procore for subcontractors—a cloud-based construction management software—the team can manage complex projects safely, on time and within budget from any location. By embracing digital tools such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), the team more efficiently plans, designs, constructs and manages their projects.
“By digging into the details earlier in the project life cycle, we are able to more quickly identify and remedy issues, allowing us to accelerate the overall building process,” Asa adds. “Consequently, it is easier to align schedules and maintain budgets throughout the course of the project.”
Marshall Felix, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Marguerite Concrete, is working to expand the company’s reach into new market segments. A recent addition to the company, Marshall hopes to increase the company’s client base by enhancing the company’s current resources.
“I started my career in concrete decades ago, so, it’s very satisfying to return to my roots,” Marshall says. “My goal is to grow the company’s ability to take on larger, more complex projects.”
The Marguerite Concrete team prides itself on its ability to handle projects of varying scales and complexity, across an array of sectors such as civil/infrastructure, commercial, industrial, institutional, multifamily residential, education and more.
“The scope of our work is impressive,” Marshall says. “Many subcontractors tend to specialize or have a niche, whereas our portfolio is very diversified. Because we have clients across many different sectors, we have to be agile to meet all those expectations and schedules.”
The team excels at devising creative solutions for high-profile, turnkey concrete construction projects across New England. For example, the team was challenged when building the new five-story Boston Arts Academy building, situated on a prominent corner across from the iconic Fenway Park. This hybrid cast-in-place concrete and steel building consists of concrete shear elements with steel-framed floors. Adding to the complexity of the concrete steel connections were the building’s massively high walls comprised of few right angles.
“This job is definitely a leap forward for us in terms of complexity and size,” Marshall says. “It’s also a very high-profile one given its location. Successfully completing this job will lead to other successful high-rise work for us.”
Reflecting on another challenging project, the Greenway Residence Halls at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, Asa describes how they designed formwork for the four-story, cast-in-place concrete dormitory buildings, all constructed concurrently.
“The ceilings were exposed concrete with radiant floor heating installed into the concrete slabs,” he says. “The tricky part was the sloped concrete roofs. Instead of having a peak at the top, the peaks were located around the perimeter of the building with a low centralized point.”
To shore, form and maintain those slopes throughout the duration of construction, the team used pre-engineered wood trusses on top of the traditional gang form system to maintain the slopes of the decking. “This was definitely the most unique project I’ve done while at Marguerite Concrete,” Asa notes.
As for Jim—while he doesn’t have a favorite project, he does particularly appreciate working at the Boston Logan International Airport.
For the past five years, the company has been working on concrete foundation and flatwork projects at the airport terminals, on the tarmac and at jet bridges. That work has led to airport projects for a range of tenant clients like UPS, JetBlue and American Airlines.
“It’s a diverse portfolio of high-profile work that’s been very interesting and challenging logistically,” he says. “I spent most of my career in building construction. When we worked at the airport, it was a whole different side of construction that I really enjoyed.”
“The key to our success has always been our ability to adapt.” Jim Marguerite, President and CEO, Marguerite Concrete, Inc.
To perform these projects successfully, Marguerite Concrete draws on a workforce of over 500 trade workers from surrounding communities to help keep its projects running smoothly.
When first opening the business in 1989, Marguerite recruited talent using an ad in the newspaper. Often new hires had little experience and skill. The company being signatory to the carpenters, laborers, cement masons, ironworkers and operating engineers unions helps fulfill their need for skilled workers who are capable of completing quality projects safely.
“These are highly trained tradespeople who have gone through training and apprenticeships,” Jim says. “Being associated with the unions enables us to control our growth, because whenever we need people, we have that valuable resource.”
Marshall says this pool of quality talent is what enables the company to capably perform across so many market segments, as well as a large geographic area.
“One thing that surprised me when I was first hired is the size of the company, because we’re spread out throughout New England,” he says. “Not only do we have a large workforce, we have over 100 vehicles on the road every day across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire. Looking at the total picture, we’re much larger than any one segment or location.”
Asa agrees noting, “The volume and breadth of our company gives you the security of a large firm, but with many of the established traditions intact. We still handle things directly with Jim, and he’s always there and available.”
With Marshall working to expand the company and already talented team, Jim’s sights are set on conquering larger urban projects, such as high-rise buildings, sewage treatment plants and new sectors like utilities.
Even after a lifetime in the business, Jim continues to do what he does best: create the future of concrete services delivery.
“I feel great about this team, and I think we’ve accomplished a lot,” he says. “Every year, I feel we’ve become a better company, and that effort will continue to place us ahead of our competition.”