Though it may be tough to admit at times, no individual – or company – is perfect.
Any successful business must make an effort to understand their strengths as well as their weaknesses, and continuously seek ways to improve.
At Ouellet Construction, we understand that the process of learning, growing and improving is an ongoing one, and not something that happens overnight.
As part of our efforts to consistently provide high-quality services to our existing and potential clients, we like to reach out periodically to our network of clients and referral partners to get honest feedback on how we’re doing.
Insights from Our Referral Partners
This time around, we were fortunate enough to receive valuable feedback from a few businesses we are either currently working with or have worked with in the past.
We asked them each to share details on why they chose to work with Ouellet, how they work with us, specific project details, an evaluation of our services provided, and any additional comments, critiques, and testimonials they wished to share.
Just like us, our clients are busy running their businesses, so we genuinely appreciate the time they took out of their hectic days to respond to our inquiries.
Let’s take a look at what one of our long-term clients, Southern Maine Healthcare, had to say about their working relationship with the Ouellet Construction team.
Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC)
We reached out to Marc Fournier, Vice President of Facilities Asset Management at Southern Maine Health Care, a client we’ve been lucky enough to work with on several projects over the years.
According to Marc, we’ve worked together for about seven years, to be exact. Marc was referred by a trusted acquaintance, that that the choice to work with Ouellet vs. our competition ultimately came down to pricing.
Marc has been involved with many of the projects Ouellet has worked on with Southern Maine Health Care.
Some of these include the renovation of the Interventional Radiology Suite, the Edward McGeachey medical office building, the renovation of the PrimeCare Clinic, and the conversion of an existing exam/waiting space into a state of the art X-Ray suite with an upgraded exam room.
Marc said that the first person he met with from Ouellet Construction was David Lawrence, Ouellet’s Senior Project Manager/Estimator, to discuss the first collaborative project. Throughout the project, he communicated regularly with David, as well as with Ouellet’s President, Mike Ouellet, when David wasn’t available.
Going Above and Beyond
When asked about what Ouellet did well throughout the project, Marc indicated that Ouellet was realistic with SMHC’s schedules and understood their own limitations. Therefore they knew when they needed to bring in outside resources to be as efficient as possible.
Marc went on to describe the Ouellet team, stating:
“They bring the right resources to the team, so they are focusing on you as a client. You don’t feel like you are one of many clients.”
With regards to whether anyone went above and beyond, Marc went on to say:
“That is mostly what David does! There were a number of projects that required off hours, and David showed up with his crew; he is an estimator, but he is there with the whole team to ensure that everything is done appropriately.”
Overall, Marc had only good things to say about Ouellet. We know we’re not perfect, but we’ll take a good word when it’s well deserved. We want to make sure our clients feel like we’re there for them, and we think we achieved this with Southern Maine Health Care.
“With each interaction, SMHC was treated as if we were their only client at the time.”
Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI)
Next, we asked Don Perkins, President/CEO of GMRI, about his experience with Ouellet Construction.
Don said he first heard of Ouellet Construction when visiting the UNE Marine lab. They sent out an RFP, and Ouellet was one of the few parties to respond.
So, what made Ouellet stand out?
Don indicated that their reputation for doing great work was their number one reason for choosing Ouellet for the job.
GMRI had seen the work Ouellet had done on other large commercial construction projects for Bowdoin College, Colby College, and the UNE Marine Science Education & Research Center, and they were impressed with both the quality of work as well as the reasonable pricing.
Last but not least, Don said they ultimately chose Ouellet because they came with key selected subcontractors, which was important to GMRI.
Exceptional Project Management
The first project build with Ouellet was the Sam L. Cohen Center, which Don said was performed on budget and on time, and that the relationship between Ouellet as the builder, subcontractors, architects, and engineers was constructive and positive throughout.
He described Mike Ouellet and David Lawrence, his main contacts, as good project managers, and indicated that the quality of the work was both excellent and transparent.
Don said the following about the Ouellet Construction team:
“They are a small, tight-knit, highly capable commercial construction company. They do accurate cost estimating, manage budgets and subcontractors, and calculate risks exceedingly well…They are people you like having around.”
Don went on to say that:
“We created an annual award that we give to an outstanding vendor or partner every year, and we created that in David’s honor (David Lawrence) in 2005.”
That certainly says something about the quality of services and strength of partnerships formed with Ouellet’s clients.
“The Ouellet team has shared our passion for the Gulf of Maine Research Center from the outset.”
~Donald Perkins, Jr., President, Gulf of Maine
Animal Welfare Society
We also had a chance to hear from Abigail Smith, Executive Director of the Animal Welfare Society (AWS) of West Kennebunk, ME.
Abigail said they sent out an RFP and did research on the major builders in the region, which led them to choose Ouellet Construction for their builder.
She indicated that there were a small number of proposals that came in for the project and that many who initially sent in proposals weren’t interested in the job because it was either too big or too small.
Abigail said that:
“All of Ouellet’s references spoke extremely highly of them and the quality of their work.”
She also mentioned that Ouellet’s work in hospitals made her feel that they truly understood the hospital environment that was needed for the facility, which was ultimately a big factor in why they were chosen.
Another reason for choosing Ouellet was that their proposal was complete and professionally put together. She said it was
“By far the best proposal we received.”
Responsive and Accessible
Throughout the project, Abigail described Ouellet as being extremely responsive, and prompt, with great attention to detail, and excellent problem-solving skills. She said they caught a lot of potential issues from the original plans, and spoke highly of their pre-construction services.
Abigail specifically mentioned Ouellet’s ability to exceed expectations throughout the project.
She also specifically highlighted Project Superintendent, Alan Nickerson, stating:
“Alan was so wonderful. It was a challenging environment with barking dogs; we were open during construction, and they were very cognizant of that. One day he bought pizza and invited the whole staff to enjoy. We really miss him!!”
Abigail praised David Lawrence, as well, indicating that he was:
“Extremely helpful in working with the architects, and helping AWS to get the project done right.”
She also mentioned Mike Ouellet’s guidance with a few obstacles that came up along the way, though she made it clear that the source of any problems was never Ouellet.
“Absolutely wonderful experience to work with Ouellet!”
~ Abigail Smith, Executive Director of the Animal Welfare Society
Jacquie Agel, of Unitil Corporation, was also kind enough to share her feedback on working with Ouellet.
In Command of the Industry
Jacquie told us that Unitil heard about Ouellet through an architect. They had purchased a building and contacted the architect that originally built it for recommendations. Unitil then put an RFP out, and indicated that Ouellet “came out on top.” Jacquie said:
“(Ouellet’s) approach to the project and total RFP response was stellar.”
When asked why Unitil ultimately chose to work with Ouellet Construction, Jacquie said Ouellet was “In command of the industry,” and because of their dedication to “partnership and transparency,” which she said has certainly been the case throughout their partnership.
Jacquie met first with Mike and Luke Ouellet, with Luke running the show throughout the remainder of the project. When asked about the initial consultation and estimation process, she said it was:
“Painless and clear – no complaints!”
Jacquie indicated that it was Ouellet’s strengths lie in their depth of experience, solution-oriented mentality, and their clear processes for pre-construction and construction administration. She went on to say that she couldn’t name any weaknesses. She spoke highly of their management team, indicating that they know the business from the ground up.
Jacquie specifically mentioned Mike Ouellet’s exceptional management ability, stating:
“Mike as the face of the company understands the collaborative nature of the work. And a lot of folks they work with are not construction pros. They make it manageable from a customer’s perspective.”
When asked if they would continue to work with Ouellet, Jacquie said, “We are absolutely interested in continuing to work with them. We are so pleased to have happened upon them in 2014.”
“Mike and Luke come to the table with solutions and don’t hesitate to ask questions. They have our best interest in mind because they build with longevity in mind.”
~Jacquie Agel, Unitil
We love our referral network, and we hope to work you all again in the future. Thank you for your kind words. We’ve enjoyed working with you all just as much!