The Business Burnett Haase Construction, a general contractor with 23 employees based in the Marycrest Corporate Center in Henderson.
The Players Partners Ross Burnett, who came to Las Vegas after obtaining a master’s degree from Brigham Young University in 1990 to coordinate development the Clark County School District, and Chris Haase, a Miami (Ohio) University graduate who arrived six years ago to head a Las Vegas office for a Los Angeles-based construction firm.
The Problem Coping with rapid growth that resulted in the company moving three times after being formed in 1996.
The Background Burnett and Haase joined forces four years ago to build in Las Vegas because they were confident the community would continue its explosive growth. “We felt it was a good environment for the building and contracting industry,” Burnett said.
The two men believed their experiences in the construction industry would make for a good match in creating a company to build office and industrial facilities. Haase had a varied background that included everything from marketing to managing projects. Burnett’s job with the school district included responsibility for land acquisition building design and managing contractors.
The partners started with a modest operation, a 500-square-foot executive suite in the Park 2000 complex. They had only one employee but Park 2000 provided secretarial services, telephones, copiers and other equipment.
The company started with very little debt. Burnett and Haase used their own funds and a bank loan to launch the yen-tore. They didn’t need a staff because they planned to subcontract to build projects.
Because of their contacts with a development company called CHENCO, Burnett and Hanse were able to land a contract almost immediately to build the $6 million Pathck Commerce Center, a 230,000-square-foot complex with five buildings. The first venture was a success and led to more work. “It was a combination of good marketing and doing good quality work for our clients,” Burnett said of the company’s strong first year in the construction business.
But with success came the need to expand. The company added a construction supervisor and other staff. Problems created by swift growth included a constant shortage of workspace and the need to continually upgrade its systems.
The Solution Although it was difficult to relocate, the partners have moved three times to keep up with the growth. The company searched for a strategic location and doubled the size of its office space by moving to an office building at the Spring Mountain-Arville intersection in late 1996. This was still not enough space, so Burnett Haase moved again in April 1997 to a 3,000-square-foot office in the Patrick Cornmerce Center. About a year ago, yet a third move brought them to the Marycrest Corporate Center in Henderson (6,500 square feet). The moves were challenging because the company could not afford the down time and disorganization. It was important to become operational right away, Burnett explained. “There is nothing worse than having your business out of commission for a week or two,” he said.
Because it was in the business of building offices, the company did have the advantage of knowing what was needed to set up a functional work space, Burnett said. “We found you have to plan well in advance before a move,” he said. “You have to cover all your bases.” The firm utilized its staff to plan for each relocation. Committees were formed to take care of the logistical problems. In making a move, the most important things that must be taken of are the phone and computer systems, Burnett said. If the systems function right away, the company is able to do business. Because Burnett Haase has maintained a good relationship with the vendors that provide these services, it has been able to upgrade its systems quickly during the rapid expansion of the operation. “We met once a week and assessed everybody’s responsibilities and the time frame needed to accomplish each task,” Burnett said of the planning by the committees to ensure successful moves.
Burnett credits the staff’s morale and ability to adapt with the company’s success. “We schedule retreats with our staff and try to keep them involved with what the firm is doing and where it is going,” he said. “This means everybody from the receptionist to senior management. We have a mission statement for our company and we give our employees instruction in a time-management program.”