It’s in the Name
The Moliar Group ‘endeavors’ to evolve
For too many businesses, the economic recession of a decade ago was the end. But for some, it was the beginning.
For Hemanth Reddy and Thom Smith, the partners behind the Moliar Group, it was the opportunity to build something new. That inspiration is even reflected in the company’s name; in Latin, “moliar” means “to endeavor.”
“I worked for Thom as an operations manager, before the recession,” says Hemanth, who currently oversees management, finance, information technology and operations for the Moliar Group. Thom oversees estimation, planning and field operations.
Hemanth continues, “Moliar Group came out of the ashes of the economic recession. When we started out in 2009, we were strictly a Class A general contractor, and we operated that way through 2015. That year, we purchased a 7,000-square-foot facility to house our office space, along with storage and metal fabrication, and we added plumbing and mechanical divisions headed by Dave Christie and Paul Harmon, respectively. These additions gave us the advantage of agility in execution and the ability to customize [solutions to meet] our clients’ needs, which in turn enhances our capability as both a design-build and bid-build firm in the food service and commercial tenant build-out arenas.”
Starting with a Vision
Starting a construction business in 2009 was no easy feat. When Moliar opened for business, it operated out of Hemanth’s house. Most of the work available at that time was in the federal space, and the partners had to keep their belts tight while they got their fledgling business off the ground.
“Thom and I came from different backgrounds and have different strengths, but the same temperament and vision,” Hemanth says. “We want to do our best. We want to build a company that is focused on delivering value to our customers. Our strengths are founded on 25 years of combined, but varied, experience in the industry, and our plan from the beginning was to increase our capability and capacity with the sole goal of providing value.”
“The first two years were really rough,” he adds. “We just had three people in the company. Over time, Thom and I diversified our investment portfolio, enabling Moliar Group to achieve economies of scale and financial stability.”
Growth and Prosperity
Based in Virginia, Moliar Group is a SWaM-certified (Small, Women-owned and Minority-owned) business and a self-certified small business. These business certifications have opened some doors for the growing company to work with larger contractors. “However, we attribute our continued progress to our open-minded, creative and passionate team,” Hemanth says.
“We’ve built a good reputation in the industry,” he adds. “It is a matter of trust and integrity. Looking back, we are proud of the success rate of our projects. We are also mindful of our few failures. We are thankful for the trust the clients have put in us. We believe we are entering the next phase of our company, which requires us to adapt and evolve without compromising our commitment to employee well-being, our creative process, project delivery and, above all, our clients’ trust.”
“In our first year, we did about $180,000 in revenue,” Hemanth says. “We have been growing about 80 percent, year after year, for the past four years. Last year we did close to 35 projects, which was a record for us. This year we’re taking on our first ground-up project. We only worked one federal project last year; this year, we’re actively bidding on federal projects for our mechanical division.”
Along the way, the organization has also grown to 21 employees and a fleet of 15 vehicles.
“We believe we are entering the next phase of our company, which requires us to adapt and evolve without compromising our commitment to employee well-being, our creative process, project delivery and, above all, our clients’ trust.” Hemanth Reddy
Reputation Is Key
A few federal and public projects constituted Moliar Group’s business when the organization first opened its doors, but private construction was the majority of the work, with repeat business coming due to the strength of the company’s reputation. In 2012, for example, the Moliar Group did a single Subway restaurant. The owner spread the word about their work to other franchise owners and, in the next few years, they did an additional 18 Subway renovations for different franchisees.
“We are relatively unique in our experience in various aspects of the commercial industry, which enables us to anticipate and adapt to the dynamic conditions on projects without compromising the quality, time and value to the client,” Hemanth says. “Our adoption of technology and internal systems to improve communications, collaboration and control is a distinguishable attribute.”
Word-of-mouth and a record of success have kept the Moliar Group busy. At any given time, multiple small projects are underway. In the past few months, Hemanth, Thom and their team have been busy bidding on projects that are pivotal for their next growth phase.
“Recently, we completed an HVAC reinstall project on a roof for TST Roofing,” Hemanth says. “It was a large medical building, without any room around it to bring in a crane system. Thom came in with an idea to create a gantry system around the building that would allow us to lift each HVAC unit and put it back. We’re in a position to do that because we have multiple trades in-house that we can collaborate with and come up with alternatives to satisfy a client’s needs. We do have an extensive vendor and subcontractor network that we rely on for larger projects and specialty demands.”
That collaborative and cooperative atmosphere is an element of Moliar Group that Hemanth and Thom have fostered from the first days of the company. Hemanth describes the culture as open and supportive, and they take pride in knowing they have recruited a core team of dedicated and proactive professionals.
“We have a simple motto—try to remain humble and open,” Hemanth says. “Our open culture enables all of us to listen [and to] discuss. At the end of the day, Thom and I make decisions within our zones of responsibility and delegate to the team with all the required resources to execute their tasks. Of course, nothing goes smoothly all the time and that is when a good team [like ours] adapts.”
“Without our team,” he emphasizes, “we wouldn’t be where we are, and we wouldn’t be able to serve our clients as we do. We believe that lasting client relationships are built by being honest and fair, and by genuinely caring about our clients’ needs. Our diverse and dynamic team has 75 years of combined experience in the construction industry. Moliar Group’s objective is to be ‘Efficient, Effective and Evolving.’ ”