PWI Construction Inc.

PWI Construction picPWI Construction Inc.’s commitment to employees, clients and state-of-the-art building methods ensures the success of its luxury commercial projects.

By Jim Harris, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

A large part of PWI Construction Inc.’s central business philosophy is contained right in its name – an acronym for “people with integrity.”

“That pretty much says it all,” says Jeff Price, president and founder of the Las Vegas-headquartered commercial builder.

Integrity is one of the company’s three core values, along with “people” and “excellence.” Collectively, these values guide the company’s work with clients, subcontractors and key partners and form the basis of what it calls “the PWI promise.” 

“Our value system is what distinguishes us from our competitors,” Price says. “The ‘PWI promise’ is our commitment to our clients to ensure success well after the project is completed.”

 

The company’s promise has three pillars. The first of these is trust, which PWI builds by putting its clients’ needs and goals first. The second pillar is to build value well before the company begins construction, which PWI does by leveraging its 30 years of experience. PWI’s third pillar is to “build together,” which means holding each of its employees to high standards. “We value our employees more than anything – they are the core of our success,” he adds.  

In addition to its core values and company promise, PWI is also known amongst clients and project partners for the preferred indulgence of its employees and management – pie. PWI gives pies in custom wooden boxes to its clients as gifts, and management and staff will have pie in the afternoon a few times a week during meetings. “Pie is much better than just doing a sales pitch meeting,” Price says. 

A Successful Formula

Price founded PWI in 1985 in Mesa, Ariz., as a custom homebuilder. Previously, he worked as a commodity purchasing agent, a position that gave him experience in finance and management.

The company’s custom homebuilding business sharply declined in 1987 amid the national savings and loan crisis. Seeing the need to diversify the company’s project base, Price in 1988 teamed with Marc Ferguson, the company’s other principal owner and executive vice president. Ferguson’s experience includes working as an estimator and project manager for a large commercial contracting company. 

“We decided that we would not be locked into one geographic area or one type of product,” Price says. PWI box

In the 30 years since Ferguson joined the company, PWI has expanded from a four-person staff to having more than 100 employees. In addition to its headquarters in Las Vegas, the company operates regional offices in Austin, Texas; Miami and Phoenix. 

Price and Ferguson each bring individual strengths and styles to the company’s management. “[Ferguson] is detailed and has a mind for construction management, while I think outside of the box and believe in being creative and innovative,” Price says. “Our differences have added up to a successful formula.”

Keeping Up

PWI excels in luxury hospitality, restaurant, retail and specialty construction. The company applies state-of-the-art construction methods to all of its projects. “We are always employing innovative techniques as we move forward,” Ferguson says. “Obviously, a lot has changed in the 30 years we’ve been doing this, so we need to keep up with the times or get left behind.”

The company’s information technology department ensures that its project management and field teams are equipped with the latest technology. “We need connectivity and good access to all of our operating software while we are in the field and have done a good job maintaining that through the years,” he adds. 

PWI utilizes industry-leading software including Procore, Primavera, Sage and Office 365, to name a few. The company recently added iPlan AEC Touchscreen workstations to its operations. The workstations feature 55-inch touchscreens displaying full sized prints for onscreen takeoffs and project management meetings. 

At the Palazzo

In January, the company completed a $30 million renovation of the 3,000 room, 45 floor Palazzo Tower at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas – the second largest hotel in the world. All of the rooms renovated were suites with high-end furnishings. The company laid enough carpet to cover 32 football fields and installed more than 50 miles worth of millwork trim carpentry during the course of the 16-month project, explains Ferguson. “Attention to detail is paramount for us on a project like this.”

PWI has worked with Venetian owner Las Vegas Sands Corp. for more than 15 years. Previous work includes a 4,000-guestroom renovation at the Venetian and Venezia towers.  

“The Venetian resort is a good example of our portfolio of work and expertise in guestrooms, restaurants, nightclubs and luxury boutiques,” explains Ferguson.

High Quality, Fast

In the last three years alone, PWI has completed more than 30 restaurants. 

In April, PWI completed the Beverly Hills, Calif., location of AVRA, an upscale Greek restaurant with two existing locations in New York City. The 11,000-square-foot, $5 million restaurant was completed in six months. Located in the MGM headquarters, the street level restaurant offers an open-air dining experience in the heart of Beverly Hills. This project is the latest in a ten-year business relationship with the owner.   

PWI drew on its history of successfully completing luxury retail boutiques when it recently turned over a David Yurman store in Dallas’ NorthPark Center in April. The 3,000-square-foot boutique took 14 weeks to complete. The store is the latest boutique the company completed for David Yurman. “We’ve built many locations for this client in several states,” Ferguson says, noting the company was recently hired to build an additional David Yurman boutique in Denver. “We continue to earn this client’s trust with each new project we turn over.”

Since 1988, the company has built more than 1,000 retail boutiques in 40 states for luxury retailers including Tiffany and Co., Cartier, Gucci, Armani and Prada. 

This year, PWI partnered with The New Home Company to begin work at the ICON Silverleaf, an $80 million, 72-unit luxury condominium development located in the 2,000-acre Silverleaf planned community in Scottsdale, Ariz. Nestled into the surrounding McDowell Mountain Preserve, Silverleaf is one of the most prestigious addresses in the Phoenix Metro area.

The project includes eight separate residential buildings for 250,000 square feet of luxury living space as well as private amenity buildings. The company is using the ConXtech structural steel framing system to complete the project. “The framing system allows us to erect a four-story, six-unit building in approximately eight calendar days,” Ferguson says. “This gives us a great structural framing system that allows us to cut erection time by at least 50 percent.”

The Best Fit

PWI ensures that its project staff and other employees are a good fit for its culture prior to hiring them by giving prospective staff members an assessment that determines their best attributes. 

“We are doing this as a measure to retain talent at a time when the construction industry is facing significant turnover,” Price says. “We want to know where they would fit in to our company with respect to our team and our projects.”

The evaluation allows PWI to assemble project teams based on staff members’ attributes. “We evaluate our clients to make sure we know the type of team that works and doesn’t work for them. If we have a client that is extremely detailed and very micromanaging of their projects, we would put a more strategic team in place to drive success for the project,” he adds. “If we have a client that has many projects on the plate and is not as detailed, we would put detail-oriented people on that project to drive success for them.”

The assessment also helps determine areas where an employee might need improvement. Continuing education programs are then developed specifically for employees based on their strengths and weaknesses. “We give our employees all the tools they need to be successful,” Price says. 

PWI has seen positive results in the two years it has used the evaluation. “Since we put this in place, we have lost almost no employees,” he adds. “We try to treat people so well that no one wants to leave.”

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